Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I need a left or a right Newel Grab Bar?
While facing toward the stairs or a passageway where you want to install the grab bar, you will need a left Newel Grab Bar to mount to the left newel post or corner, and a right Newel Grab Bar to mount to the right newel post or corner.
Can I use any of these specialty grab bars outdoors?
Flat end grab bars are made of stainless steel and are appropriate for outdoor use. All other specialty grab bars, being made of carbon steel, will rust eventually when exposed to outside conditions.
Can I mount grab bars to drywall?
Drywall isn't structural, so there is no way it would support much weight, let alone the momentary impact from someone grabbing the bar during a fall. Never rely on anything but solid 2x wood blocking, concrete, concrete block, or some other substantial material as a mounting platform for a grab bar. Drywall can be covering the substantial material, but fasteners have to penetrate through the drywall and deep into the mounting block material.
What is the pad made of on a padded back rest?
The pad is made of closed cell foam. It is quite firm and will not absorb water.
Can the padded back rest be used as a grab bar?
Yes, they can. The bar on these back rests is very stout and the fact that they project from the wall a good distance makes them a natural handhold.
Be sure back rests are fastened to solid blocking either in the wall or on the wall. The blocking must be well secured to the wall framing. This may require an installer to open the wall to fasten 2x wood blocking between studs. Screw cleats to the studs, then screw the blocking to the cleats (toenailing blocking to studs is insufficient for any load bearing device like a grab bar or seat). An installer could also screw through the studs into the ends of the blocking, though this requires a bigger opening into the wall to expose more stud bays. Alternatively, a strong piece of lumber can be fastened to the outside of the wall so long as the fasteners reach deeply into the framing; then the back rest can be secured to the piece of lumber.
Where should I put grab bars in a shower?
Usually two or three grab bars are installed in a shower, though the number and location can depend on the size of the shower. Generally, if you stand facing the direction of the shower head, one grab bar is installed vertically on that wall so it can be easily reached with one hand. Another grab bar is often installed horizontally on the adjacent wall to the left or right of the shower head wall. Many showers are equipped with a second, vertical grab bar on the adjacent wall, as well. Instead of two grab bars on the adjacent wall you can choose an 'L' shaped bar or a 135° angled grab bar to accomplish the same coverage.
Another popular option is to install a grab bar-rated support for your shower hand wand. Be sure you specify one that is rated as a grab bar and install it as such.
Are there standard heights for installing a grab bar next to a toilet?
ADA guidelines call for installation of grab bars near toilets at 33" to 36" above the finished floor.
Why can’t I use a towel bar as a grab bar?
Towel bars are simply not stong enough to carry the load or force of someone in need of real support. They may appear to be helpful during "normal" use when a little balance assistance is needed, but as soon as any real weight or force is applied a towel bar just can't support the demands put on it. Plus, towel bars are usually mounted with small screws in plastic drywall anchors, ill-suited for the demands expected of a grab bar.
What makes comfort grip grab bars better than others?
This often comes down to preference, though we believe our grab bars offer several key advantages.
Our grab bars are warm to the touch and provide a very "grippable" surface. Users with weakness in their hands or forearms find these grab bars easy to hold, even when wet. Grooves in the UPVC cover collect water so that the ridges remain drier, thereby providing a good foundation for holding. The core of every grab bar is a thick-walled aluminum tube that offers great strength and will not rust or deteriorate.
By contrast, stainless steel grab bars feel cold to the touch and can be slippery when wet, even if textured. The quality of stainless steel in grab bars varies, and the appearance of some inferior products will decline over time. And stainless steel grab bars are so common in public restrooms and commercial settings that people think they look institutional.
Do comfort grip grab bars meet ADA requirements?
Yes they do. There are a couple of key measurements that ADA requires of the grab bars themselves. One is the diameter of the grab bar, and the other is the distance between the grab bar and the wall to which it is anchored. The diameter of the grab bar must be between 1¼" and 1½". The distance from the wall to the grab bar cannot exceed 1½".
There are many ADA requirements that define the locations and lengths of grab bars for particular situations, though these requirements are for commercial (non-residential) applications. Consulting ADA guidelines before installing grab bars in your home is wise and can be beneficial, though there is no legal obligation to comply with them. Our best recommendation is to visit an online source for details. Here is a link to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design: http://www.ada.gov
How should I install grab bars?
Grab bars must be anchored properly to support a significant load and to withstand sudden force, like what can happen when a person falls and grabs onto a grab bar or falls into a grab bar with their body.
There are a number of ways to provide a good foundation for installing grab bars. You can install 2x blocking between studs in the wall (then cover with materials like drywall and tile), or secure 5/8" or ¾" plywood over the studs prior to drywall. Some grab bars can be used with a fastener called a Wing-it, though that is not true for AKW grab bars.
The better you can anchor the blocking, the more force the grab bar will be able to withstand, to a point. So notching the studs for blocking, or installing cleats behind the blocking, provides more foundational strength than simply toe-nailing the blocking to the studs.
Be sure to use fasteners that fully penetrate the blocking or plywood. We suggest using #10 or #12 screws, depending on the mounting plate holes of your grab bars. The length of the screws will vary depending on the wall materials the screws have to penetrate through 1/2" drywall before reaching the blocking material, whereas in other situations there may be thick tile and underlayment layers over the blocking, which would require a much longer screw. Cement block and concrete require specialized anchors and screws. Always use stainless steel fasteners in wet locations.
And always use stainless steel fasteners in wet locations.
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