Where Should Grab Bars Be Placed?

Where Should Grab Bars be Placed?


Where Should Grab Bars Be Placed?With their often-wet floors and high humidity levels, it’s little wonder that bathrooms are one of the most common locations for mishaps among those with limited or reduced mobility. Adding grab bars can provide a reassuring source of stability, increasing confidence, improving safety, and reducing the likelihood of a slip or fall. But for the best results, careful consideration needs to be given as to where, exactly, grab bars should be placed. Otherwise, you could run the risk of actually undermining your goals by creating a false sense of security.

Grab Bars Are Only as Good as Their Installation

Before getting into the specifics about where grab bars should be placed, it’s important to understand that these devices need to be mounted to wall studs, not sheetrock. If you plan on installing them yourself, a stud finder will make this job a lot easier. Any grab bar that isn’t secured to a stud may simply pull free from the wall if enough weight is placed on it.

Consider the User

ADA Standards require horizontal grab bars to be placed at specific heights, but these mandates are for public bathrooms, not private residences. In reality, the ideal height will depend on the person using it. Obviously, that will be different for a 5’ 4’’ woman than a 6’ 2’’ man. The important thing is that they’re positioned at a height that’s comfortable and convenient for all. If this isn’t possible due to significant differences in stature among bathroom users, vertical or angles bars may be a better option.

Location, Location, Location

In traditional tub/shower enclosures, two grab bars should be installed along the back wall, one 8 to 10 inches above the rim of the tub and the other 33 to 36 inches above the floor. Vertical bars can also be added above the faucet controls. For walk-in showers, consider adding a vertical bar at the entrance and an angled bar near the back shelves.


Toilets are another standard location for bathroom grab bars. A 42-inch horizontal bar is recommended along the side wall above the toilet paper dispenser, and a 32-inch bar along the back wall above the tank, both at a height that’s easily reached from a seated position.


The Barrier Free Store offers and installs a wide variety of stylish and durable grab bars for homeowners in the Upper Peninsula. Contact us today to learn more.

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