Under 2 hours
Make your bathroom safe and comfortable when you learn how to install grab bars. In the shower, bath or by the toilet, properly installed grab bars give extra security in the bathroom.
Grab bars can be installed on surfaces like drywall, tile, fiberglass, stone, concrete and wood paneling. For the most support, grab bars should be attached directly to the studs inside a wall. From there, the process for installing grab bars is to drill through the wall material and mount the grab bar with screws or fasteners.
The trickiest part of a grab bar installation is locating the wall stud, which can be trickier when the stud is behind ceramic tile. Look for instructions below on locating studs behind ceramic tile walls.
Prepare the Site and Locate the Stud
Horizontal grab bars around toilets should be installed 33 to 36 inches from the floor. Make sure that the bars are at a comfortable height and position for the user.
The most secure way to install grab bars is on studs. Wall studs are located 16 inches or 24 inches on center.
The easiest way to locate the studs is to use a stud finder. Bathrooms have a lot of tile, and you may need to search for a stud behind ceramic tile. Here are some tips for locating the stud on a ceramic tile wall.
- If the tile doesn't go all the way to the ceiling, locate the stud above the tile and then use a level or plumb bob to extend the line downward.
- Sometimes the tiled wall is shared with another room. Look for the studs in the adjacent room and transfer the measurements to the tiled wall.
- Studs are often located at switches and outlets. Remove the plate and find the stud, then measure to find the next stud.
- Use a stud finder with deep scanning ability. Carefully follow the instructions because the procedure for a deep scan is different from a regular scan.
- If you can't find the stud any other way, use a small masonry drill bit to drill a hole through the grout and take a long finishing nail or a stiff piece of wire to probe through the wall for the stud. Patch and reseal the grout once the grab bars are installed.
Remove the Escutcheon
Once you locate the studs, you can begin the installation. The installation may vary according to brand. See supplier installation guides for best results.
If there is not a stud, secure the grab bars with an anchoring device.
- To install grab bars, start by removing the escutcheon. The escutcheon is the flat piece of metal surrounding the bar.
- Gently tap it from the back to loosen it.
Position the Grab Bar
Use a stud finder to locate the center of the stud. Place the grab bar on the wall, 33 to 36 inches from the floor, and positioned so that the mounting holes are on studs.
Tip: Use a level for alignment.
Mark the Mounting Hole
- Take a pencil and mark the mounting holes. You can use a level to check your work.
- Before you drill, check that the drill bit you choose is recommended for tile.
Tip: Do not overtighten screws when drilling into tile. Overtightening screws will result in cracked tiles.
Drill Holes into the Stud
Remove the grab bar from the wall and use the drill and 1/8-inch drill bit to drill pilot holes as marked.
Install Grab Bar
- Using a screwdriver and the included screws, tightly secure the grab bar to the wall.
- Slide the escutcheons on the grab bar to the mounting plates. They will snap into place.
Complete Grab Bars Installation
Grab Bar Placement
When installing grab bars in a residential bathroom, it's important for the bars to be at a comfortable and appropriate height and position, as well as being securely attached to the walls.
Grab bars can be placed vertically, horizontally and diagonally. Check product instructions for specific information on placement of grab bars. The best method for determining placement in a home bathroom is for the user of the shower or bathtub to step in and out of the shower or tub and note the places where they would reach for assistance.
Ready to find the supplies you need in your local store? Use The Home Depot app to locate products and check inventory. We'll take you to the exact aisle and bay. Need it today? We'll deliver on your schedule. Order before noon for convenient, scheduled same-day delivery.