Thursday, June 19, 2008

Post your questions and comments.

Mr. Grab Bar gladly invites questions and comments from our visitors with regards to grab bars and grab bar installation techniques.

Mr. Grab Bar


Mr. Grab Bar said...

To commence our blog, I will pose to our community a typical question asked by many homeowners:

What is the best way to drill through tile?

I will answer this question in detail over the next week, but gladly invite comments and further questions from our visitors.

Chartman said...

Hi Mr. Grab bar,

Are you able to install grab bars into marble tiles?

Mr. Grab Bar said...

Marble is relatively easy to drill through providing you use a sharp drill bit. Once I have decided on the location for grab bar placement, I mark the anchor locations with a dry erase marker using the grab bar as a template. Next I score the marked locations with a carbide punch and soft mallet. This will prevent the drill bit from skating across the surface of the tile. With marble tile I usually use a sharp or relatively fresh 1/4 inch glass and tile bit to make the initial hole and follow up with a 5/16 inch glass and tile bit. I tend to use 5/16 anchors in combination with toggles in many of my grab bar installations. You can skip the 1/4 inch bit if you desire but doing so does create somewhat more wear and tear on the larger bit. Marble of course can vary in hardness depending upon what variety of marble you are working with. In some cases dipping the glass and tile bit into a container of water or using a wet sponge every 2 - 3 seconds might facilitate drilling through a more difficult marble. When I am drilling and have passed through the layer of marble and have reached the backer board whatever it may be, I ease off the speed and pressure so I can slowly push through with as much control as possible in case something sinister such as a PVC pipe waits in close proximity to be introduced to an overheated drill bit. My next step is usually to probe about in the holes which I have just drilled by using a stiff wire probe. This device allows me to feel for obstacles behind the walls which I can often identify by sound and feel.

Ruth15 said...

What is the best height and angle to install a 24 inch grab bar for help in standing up from a standard bathtub? Should the highest part be closest to the shower end?

Mr. Grab Bar said...

Hello Ruth.
When I do place a grab bar at an angle, it is often to facilitate anchoring into a stud at each end of the grab bar. By adjusting the angle of the grab bar, I can position the bar in such a way that I span between two studs, providing these studs are locatable through the tile. I usually angle the grab bar so that the high end is toward the shower head. I also suggest that the customer use a grab bar with a non-slip texture such as a peened or curl grip finish to improve one's grasp on an angled grab bar. If the grab bar is used primarily to assist one in rising up from the sitting position in the bath tub, I try to place the lower end of the grab rail within easy reach while sitting and far enough forward to get good mechanical advantage. If the customer wishes to use the grab bar for both showering and bathing, I try to position the grab bar a little higher so that it may be used for both activities. In some instances I may place the grab bar horizontally if the anchoring opportunities are better and if this solution will work for the customer. I hope this answered your question.

Ruth15 said...

How would you suggest a 9 or 12 inch horizontal hand grip be added to assist in getting up from a standard bath tub? Also, could a vertical hand grip be used for security while shaving legs in a bath tub?

Mr. Grab Bar said...

I would most likely suggest a 16" grab bar which can span 2 studs. Occasionally studs may be 12" on center and then a 12" bar would span across (horizontally), but in general 16" is the typical spacing between studs. I sometimes run into greater spans between studs as well. If a 12 inch grab bar or a bath grip is to be used, you may have to place it vertically on the same stud to achieve the greatest strength. Depending upon the wall conditions, snap toggles or securemount anchors may provide a solution for alternative grab bar placements, but as far as installation of a grab bar primarily for standing assistance from the bathing position, my first line of approach is to identify the location of the studs if we are addressing an interior wall.

broccolib said...

Hi Mr. Grab Bar,

In So.Fla, often there is a concrete block wall faced w/ furring strips, then drywall, then tile on an outside wall of the shower or bath. The problem that this presents is that you do not have enough clearance to expand or turn a snap toggle, Securemount or Wingit.

The method I used to attach the grab bar was a 3 1/2 inch Tapcon. Is there any problem with the Tapcon spanning the open space caused by the furring strip?

Mr. Grab Bar said...

Hello Broccolib.
Thank you for your inquiry
When faced with an exterior wall with block, standard furring, drywall and tile, there is definitely not enough room for a toggle. My approach is to search for these furring strips with my studfinders. I usually start off with metal detection and try to isolate the drywall screws which clue me into the furring locations. If the detection of drywall screws is masked by the presence of lathe or foil, I attempt to locate the furring strips with the density detector. I can locate the furring strips most of the time but not always. I place indications on the tile to identify the furring strips and position the grab bar and use it as a template to mark the areas to be drilled. This usually requires me to place the grab at and angle so that I can drill 4 out of 6 holes through the furring (2 on each side of the grab bar). In some cases a horizontal bar is required and I must use a different approach. I score the marked areas and then drill through the tile, furring and into the block with various 5/16 bits. I then place A-8 or AF-8 anchors (available on the Mr. Grab Bar website) in conjunction with #12 stainless screws. I generally drill the 2 additional holes into the block to assure that there is adequate room for the screws which do not pass through the furring strips. I tend to avoid using Tapcons(which should be stainless if you are using them)- I find they have a tendency at times to spin out. In cases where I cannot utilize the furring/block method - I dill a 5/16" hole through the tile and then a 1/4" hole 2 or more inches into the block. I then fish in an A-6 anchor at the end of a 3 to 3-1/2" #14 screw and tap into the concrete block. I use this method for one out of the three screws used on end of the grab bar. With this method you must be cautious not to overtighten - so a a regular screwdriver should be used at the very end of the process so that you can manually assess the torque.
Thank you for your inquiry -please do not hesitate to ask me to elaborate further - Mr. Grab Bar

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mr. Grab bar! I purchased from you the grab bar with integrated paper holder to help my 90-year old father get up and down from my fairly low toilet (seat 16.5" from floor). What is considered the appropriate height to install the grab bar and is it installed right beside the toilet or slightly to the front of it? Thanks!