Where should I put grab bars?
Make It Safe sells and installs a large variety of grab bars, hand grips and transition aids for maximum security in the bathroom and around the house.
In the bathroom we recommend a minimum of two grab bars for a shower or tub enclosure. One grab bar should be mounted vertically, above the shower curb or tub wall to aid with transitioning into or out of the shower or tub enclosure. The second grab bar should be at least 24" long, mounted horizontally inside the bathing enclosure at about 36" above the bathroom floor for showering.
A second horizontal grab bar is recommended for bathing, placed at about 9" above the bathtub surface.
We do not recommend installing grab bars diagonally in a bathtub area. A bather with soapy hands may slip backward along the grab bar as they try to standup.
Grab bars with built in towel bars should be installed near transition areas like tub/showers and toilets. Standard towel bars cannot support a persons weight in the event of a fall and for that reason shouldn't be located near the entrance to a bathtub or shower enclosure.
Toilets should have a grab bar to assist in standing and sitting. There are a variety of multi-purpose grab bars that can be used at the toilet and around the bathroom to aid in fall prevention.
How do you install grab bars?
Make It Safe makes every effort to attach grab bars directly to a structural wall element. We use only #10 stainless steel screws to fasten into a wall stud or #12 stainless steel screws to fasten into wood blocking. But, because it is so important to put grab bars where people need them, it isn't always possible to find a suitable structural wall element to mount them into.
In that case, we use SecureMount or SnapToggle wall anchors that are tested and approved for body weights up to 300 pounds. The SecureMount Anchoring System is also tested and approved for use in acrylic or fiber glass tub and shower surrounds.
Finally, our grab bars are installed using a special silicone sealer to insure that water will never migrate behind the mounting flanges into the wall cavity. Our grab bar installations are guaranteed never to loosen and because they are made of stainless steel, they will never rust or corrode.
Can grab bars be mounted onto acrylic or fiberglass showers?
Yes they can. Using the SecureMount mounting system, many Moen grab bar models are designed to be installed onto acrylic or fiber glass shower walls without structural studs or blocking. This system has been tested to hold persons weighing up 300 lbs. with a minimum material wall thickness of 1/8".
Are suction mount grab bars safe?
Make It Safe does not install this type of product, nor do we recommend them. We have reservations about any product that appears to be a grab bar, but is not recommended by manufacturers to be used with full body weight, the way a grab bar would be expected to be used.
I don't feel safe in my bathtub. What are my options?
If showering or bathing becomes too difficult due to balance issues, dizziness or body weakness, we recommend using a tub/shower seat or bath tub bench with a hand held shower head. If grab bars do not provide enough support to get into and out of the tub or shower, we also recommend using a transition aid such as a grab pole with a movable grab bar that will provide solid support as you step into the bathtub or shower. These devices easily clamp between the ceiling and the floor and can be used throughout the house. If lifting the legs to get into the tub becomes too difficult, another solution may be a transfer bench. With this type of seat, a person can sit down outside of the tub, then swings their legs over the tub wall, into a bathing position. A grab pole can also be used in combination with the transfer bench to aid in sitting and standing. If it is still too difficult to lift the legs over the tub wall, another solution is called a "tub cut". Here an entrance way is cut into the tub wall to allow for easy passage. The tub no longer functions for bathing and can only be used as a shower, but it is a lot easier to get into. Again, a grab pole can provide support during the entire transition process. Some "tub cut" companies can actually restore the bathtub to its original condition if there is a concern about the resale value of the home.
How can I make the toilet safer and easier to use?
If there is a side wall close to the toilet, a grab bar should be mounted there to provide support for standing and siting. We recommend the 16" angle mount grab bar for a better grip. Where there is a wall directly in front of the toilet that can be easily reached from a seated position, a grab bar should be placed there as well.
If a person has weakness in the arms or legs, another remedy is installing support rails on both sides of the toilet, with an elevated toilet seat. These are very inexpensive and easy to install.
It's a good idea to replace older toilets that are very low with new comfort level toilets. These toilets are chair-height and use much less water.
For better support, a floor to ceiling mounted grab pole can be placed close to the toilet. With the pole closer to the body, standing and sitting becomes a lot easier.
If the bathroom is small, with little room for maneuverability, a flip down grab bar can be mounted on one or both sides of the toilet. These grab bars flip up and out of the way when not needed.
A more permanent solution for solid support, are wall to floor "L" shaped grab bars. These are made in left and right versions in case they are needed on both sides of the toilet.
Where should I have handrails?
All stairways, landings and balconies must have guardrails and handrails according to local and International Building Codes. Unfortunately, many older homes predate newer code requirements and have inadequate or absent handrails. For seniors and those with limited physical ability, we encourage having handrails on both sides of a stairway, within reach of each other. Having a grip on two handrails helps prevent a person from pivoting and falling, in the event of a trip, momentary dizziness or muscle weakness.
It is also wise to install handrails along hallways, walkways and at transition points in the home, where grab bars are not feasible.
Handrails on stairs, in private homes, should be as continuous as possible all along the stairway. According to the Accessibility Standard, handrails should be round, not more than 2" or less that 1 1/4" in diameter. Clearance from the wall should be no less than 1 1/2". This allows for an optimum grip on a handrail. It should be noted that large bannister rail is not considered adequate for fall protection on stairways, because the human hand is not large enough to form a firm grip.
Make It Safe, specializes in fabricating and installing custom wood handrails for the interior of homes as well as, specialty flip-up handrail, modular aluminum pipe rail and vinyl covered aluminum handrail at exterior entrances and walkways.