Not every project goes as well as planned. We would be happy to spend a few minutes answering your questions.
As people age, the potential for a fall increases…especially on a wet surface like a shower. Grab bars can save the day. I usually start by asking the customer how they will use the shower and determine placement from there.
It is a good idea to install a vertical bar at the height of the customer’s shoulder at the entrance to the shower. They will hold onto this bar as they step into and out of the shower. It is important that this bar be at shoulder height to minimize the distance of the fall should they actually slip. By having it at the shoulder during a fall, they could react and slow the rate of decent. By contrast, imagine if they had a handrail at waist height. If they fall they likely wouldn’t have the strength to slow or stop the fall.
The other location to have a grab bar is on the long wall of the shower. This is where asking about the customer’s showering habits helps. Does the customer use a bath chair to sit down during a shower or do they stand up? This matters because if they sit down, the grab bar should have an angle to it so that they can pull themselves up from the chair. If they stand up during a shower, the bar can be horizontal or have an incline to it.
When you install a grab bar, it must be rock solid so that it can support the weight of a person relying on it to keep them from slipping or falling.
If a customer wants to install a grab bar in a certain position, it may be a challenge. Grab bars should be installed into wall studs, however if the bar is too long or short to align with the studs, the grab bars have been installed on a diagonal.
There is a part available called a Wingits that allows you to install one end of the grab bar into drywall. It claims to exceed all building codes and is ADA compliant.
It also installs in minutes, but you have to be very accurate. You will need a screwdriver and a drill with a 1 1/4" hole saw. You want to make sure that there is no wall stud within 1 1/2" of the location you are installing the Wingits device. You can attach the wingits device to the grab bar and use it as a template for where you need to drill the hole. Then you can remove the grab bar and secure the wingits into the wall.
You adhere the wingits to the wall with some waterproof adhesive and then tap the center screw to engage the wings that reside inside the wall at the end of the device. By tightening the screw the wings push against the back of the wall and secure the device.
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