Handicap bathroom rails provide not only safety assurance for the aged and handicapped, but also for anyone who climbs into a bathtub or shower. Standing on a porcelain finish made even more slippery by soap and shampoo can be a challenge for even the strongest and most healthy individual. Everyone needs something substantial to grab onto in a bathtub or shower when they become unstable or are about to fall. You owe it to yourself, members of your family, and guests who might use your shower or bathtub to give them this security by building in a secure bathroom handicap rail. Here's how you can do it:
Plan to Install Your Rails in the Right Position
When you are getting in or out of a bathtub or shower, you'll most likely need something secure to hold onto. To keep yourself from falling in these situations, a horizontal bar or one installed at an angle of 45° will provide the greatest security.
Plan to Install Your Rails at the Right Height
You are more likely to break your fall in a bathtub or shower if are gripping a solid bar and your arm is fully extended before you come in contact with the bottom of the tub or shower. Install your bar between 33 and 35-inches higher than the tub floor.
Locating and Attaching to Wall Studs
Wall studs are typically 16-inches apart. Most handicap rails are 24-inches long, meaning you'll need to slant your rail 45° when you install it. Use your stud finder to locate the 2 studs to anchor your rail. Hold your rail against the wall, each end positioned at one of these studs. Make other marks in the rails screw holes, showing where you'll need to insert your screws.
Drilling Your Screw Holes
You may need to drill your holes through porcelain tile. If that is the case, use a small carbon tip drill bit set to the reverse setting on your drill. Doing so will keep the bit from skipping. When you have an indention in the tile, change your drill to the forward setting and slowly drill your hole. When you have your holes drilled, change your bit to one that's large enough to hold the screws in place. To avoid cracking your tile as you drill, use a bit that is slightly larger in diameter than your screws.
Attaching Your Bar
Hold your bar ends over the drilled holes and carefully drive your screws through the bar holes and tile into the wall studs. Apply grout to your screws before inserting them. Doing so will prevent water from entering the holes. Be careful when you tighten the screws. Turning them too tight may crack your tiles.