Grab bars

A project log for The Tile Job

Adventures of a software guy doing his first bathroom tile re-do.

wjcarpenterWJCarpenter 02/24/2024 at 18:040 Comments

I am not planning to install grab bars, but I want to prepare things so that they can easily be added in the future. I got some good ideas about this from the video Blocking Walls for Grab Bars. She also has some other pretty good videos related to grab bars. The idea is that you install blocking while the walls are open in locations that are potential grab bar anchor points. They'll be easier to find than studs after the wall is closed up, especially if the locations are clearly documented.

The ADA guidelines for horizontal tub grab bars is 33-36 inches from the floor. (I found this 3rd party web page more readable.)

I'll use 2x6 horizontal blocking that spans those 33-36 inch measurements. I'll put those between all studs on the back wall and the right-hand end wall. I may also put additional blocking for a vertical grab bar on the right-hand end wall, though it's a bit tricky due to the way the current studs are placed. For the left-hand end wall, there is plumbing in the way, but I might be able to put in blocking for a vertical grab bar.

These marked up photos show the idea conceptually, though obviously the little purple blobs are not to scale or accurately placed. You might wonder why I don't just use that outside stud on the right-hand end wall as the blocking. It turns out to be overlapped with the location of the frame for the sliding door. I don't want someone to have to deal with that tight squeeze to install a vertical grab bar.

In practice, the placement of the blocking was also not as precise as it could have been. I measured and marked a line from the tub deck on each piece of blocking. The reference lines are at either 44 inches or 20 inches above the tub deck. (The tub deck is the flat top of the tub, not including the vertical nailing flange.) With a picture of it, each piece can be precisely located.

I added pictures showing all of the blocking to the project log that consolidates all of the measurements.