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Where to Install Shower Grab Bars

Discover the best grab bars to use in your shower and bath

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

bathtub surround with grab bars

Seniors are not the only ones who should install shower grab bars. I was wondering where the best places to install grab bars would be and this is the result of all my research…

Shower grab bars should be installed with a vertical entrance bar close to where you enter the shower, a horizontal bar across one wall about 32-36 inches from the floor, and a vertical bar near the faucet handles. Be sure to screw them into the wall studs with both safety and support. 

Bathroom falls account for a large percentage of hospital visits each year. Keep reading for a detailed explanation on where to install shower grab bars for the safest and functional layout.

Guidelines for Where to Install Shower Grab Bars

Seniors are not the only people who can benefit from having shower grab bars. If you are installing shower grab bars in your bathroom, this guide to where to install them can help you layout the bars for the ideal safety and convenience.

Entrance Bar

It is a good idea to have a vertical bar near the entrance of the shower to help you get in and out. This is one of the areas where people most often fall in the shower because of the raised lip. Having an entrance bar can help you avoid tripping and falling when getting in and out of the shower.

It should be placed on the opposite side of the shower than the faucets, as this is the entry point that most people use. The water may be too hot or too cold at first, which is why having the entrance point opposite of the faucet is optimal. The height placement of the entrance bar should be adjusted to your height. You should not need to bend down or reach up to hold onto the bar, but instead, be able to easily reach out and grab it at your arms level.

Wall Bar

On the wall of the shower, there should be a horizontal bar. This is the main grab bar that you will use in the shower. This bar should be as long as possible, ideally extending across the entire length of the shower. The ideal height of the bar will depend on your height, as you should be able to easily reach out and grab it without extending your arm up or down. Around 30-36 inches above the floor seems to work for most people, but if you are above or below average in height you may need to adjust this to work for you.

Faucet Bar

Some people may require additional support when adjusting the shower faucet handles. There should be a grab bar installed vertically on the wall next to the faucet handles. Since most people are right-handed it makes sense to install it on the left side so that the dominant hand can be used for turning the handles, but this could be reversed for those who are left-handed or who prefer using their dominant hand for support.

Shower Grab Bar Sizes

The size of the grab bar is also important along with the placement of the bar. For the vertical entrance and faucet bar, the size of the grab bar should ideally be 18 inches or more. If angled bars are to be used then the length should be longer, or around 24 inches long. The horizontal bar should be the longest.

32 inches or more is a good number to stick to for choosing a horizontal grab bar. The bar itself should be over an inch and a half in diameter and not leave too much space in between the bar and the wall.

Benefits of Shower Grab Bars

Shower grab bars are beneficial for families and individuals of all ages. The bathroom can be slippery due to water and soap, which is why shower grab bars are a good safety precaution to have.

Children, the elderly, and disabled individuals may require shower grab bars to prevent accidents. In worse-case scenarios, a shower fall can lead to death, so it is better to be safe and install shower grab bars if you think you need them. Shower grab bars make showers more accessible and prevent avoidable accidents.

Conclusion

Shower grab bars are a great safety feature to add to your bathroom. Children and the elderly will especially benefit from shower grab bars, but adults are also susceptible to accidental falls which could be avoidable with shower grab bars. There should be a vertical bar placed near the entrance of the shower and near the faucet.

The horizontal bar should be on the wall of the shower and extend as much of the wall as possible. The height of the bars should be customized to the person or people using it, which is usually between 30-36 inches from the ground.

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