How To Install A Grab Bar In A Ceramic Tile Shower In 7 Steps

Grab bars make it easier to maneuver around shower and tub areas safely. If you have a drill and a few other tools, you can install your own grab bar in your shower. We've researched how to install grab bars in ceramic tile showers specifically, and in this post, we will share the steps with you.

Here are the steps to install a grab bar in a ceramic tile shower:

  1. Mark the mounting area with painter's tape
  2. Use a stud finder to find the nearest stud
  3. Mark the pilot hole locations
  4. Drill the pilot holes
  5. Drill the screws into the tile
  6. Apply silicone caulk
  7. Test the grab bar

Installing a grab bar doesn't take a long time, depending on its location. In fact, you can install one in your shower in about 15 to 30 minutes. Continue reading to learn how to do it.

A bathroom interior in patient room with basic required equipment, How To Install A Grab Bar In A Ceramic Tile Shower In 7 Steps

Steps To Install A Grab Bar In A Ceramic Tile Shower

Everyone who uses a shower or bathtub can benefit from the use of grab bars. When shower and tub areas become wet, they can become very hazardous. So it's important to install the bars properly so they can work when you need them to.

Things you'll need:

  • Drill and drill bits
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Wall anchors (if needed for your wall)
  • Protective eye googles
  • Grab bar and plates
  • Painter's tape

1. Mark the mounting area with painter's tape

Take your painter's tape and mark the locations on the wall at the approximate height that you'll need to install the grab bars. Ensure that the painter's tape extends long enough to be the same length as the grab bar you plan to install. Keep in mind that the ADA requirements for grab bars in the shower areas must be between 33 to 36 in above the shower floor.

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Check out this painters tape on Amazon.

2. Use a stud finder to find the nearest stud

Next, take your stud finder and place it on the wall to locate the positions of the nearest wall studs. Once you find, them mark them with your painter's tape. These will be the areas where you'll drill holes to mount the plates for the grab bar.

Learn more about the stud finder on Amazon.

3. Mark the pilot hole locations

Use the mounting plate on the grab bar as a guide to mark the pilot holes where the screws will be inserted onto the studs. It's best to check the directions that came with the grab bar at this time to ensure that you are following them correctly.

Learn more about this drill on Amazon.

4. Drill the pilot holes

Next, note the size of the drill bit needed according to the directions and insert it into your drill. This will more likely be a 1/4 or 1/8 drill bit. Then, drill holes into the areas that you've marked over the studs. Keep in mind that drilling through ceramic tile may require more pressure than drilling through drywall, so be prepared to use a bit of elbow grease to drill through it and the stud.

5. Drill the screws into the tile

Next, grab your screws and drill the mounting plate into their locations. Pay attention to any resistance that you feel as you drill in the screws, as this can easily lead to stripping the head of the screw. If you find that the screw seems stuck, pull the drill out, and drive it in again. After you drill in the first mounting plate, place the grab bar into its position, and then hold it there as you drill in the second mounting plate.

Read more details about this grab bar on Amazon.

6. Apply silicone caulk

After you have mounted both plates, take your caulk gun and run it along the exterior of each plate. This can help to prevent water from leaking behind the mounting plate, causing mold and mildew stains.

Check out this silicone caulk on Amazon.

7. Test the grab bar

Wait about 45 minutes to an hour for the caulk to dry, and then give the bar a quick but firm tug to ensure it's secured tightly onto the tile. The grab bar should not move at all when you pull it, and if it does, you'll need to re-install it more securely. Be sure to apply a bit of pressure when pulling the grab bar as you want to ensure that it is strong enough to hold your body weight in case of a slip or fall.

Where is the best place to put grab bars in the shower?

You can install grab bars at the entrance of your shower wall or on the exterior. These bars are usually installed vertically to help support you as you enter and exit the shower area. You'll usually find that three grab bars will suffice. However, you can install more for added safety. These bars usually range in length from 12 to 30 inches long.

Grab bars at the sides of the toilet

You'll also find that grab bars are common around the toilet area. These bars provide support for those who need assistance with sitting on and raising off the toilet. They're usually installed horizontally but can sometimes be angled at 45° as well. The average length of these bars is anywhere from 12 to 30 inches. And if the bars are installed horizontally to the top of the bar should be at least 33 to 36 in from the floor, according to ADA specifications.

Grab Bars On the side of the bathtub

You can also install grab bars on the side of the bathtub, another area where slips and falls are common. These grab bars should also be installed 33 to 36 in high from the floor, and they're typically installed horizontally or vertically. One common bathtub grab bar is the clamp-on bar. It is bar clamps on the side of the tub, making it easier to support your weight as you enter and exit the bathtub.

Read more details about this clamp-on grab bar on Amazon.

What is the correct height for grab bars?

In both showers and toilet areas, at the top of horizontal grab bars should be anywhere from 33 to 36 inches above the floor.

Do grab bars need to be installed in studs?

Typically, yes. For secure support, grab bars should be installed on drywall or tiled areas using the studs behind the wall. If not, the grab bar may come loose, resulting in injury when a sufficient amount of weight is placed on the bar. However, you can use toggle bolts to install grab bars on the drywall as well.

How much does it cost to install a grab bar?

The cost to install a grab bar in your shower or toilet area can depend on a few factors. The average cost will range anywhere from $100 to $300 per bar installation. Factors to consider include the number of bars installed, your bathroom's current conditions, the type of finish on the bars, and the wall where the bars will be installed.

If you're fairly handy and comfortable operating the drill, you can install the grab bars yourself by simply following the directions that come with the bar set. The most important thing to remember is to accurately locate the stud on the wall to ensure that the grab bar doesn't come out of its position when a considerable amount of weight is placed on it. If it does, it could result in serious injury. If you choose to hire a contractor, be sure that they're licensed and use a stud finder to install the grab bars.

Does Medicare pay for grab bars?

It depends on the Medicare plan that you have. Some plans do cover grab bars in the bathrooms as well as other areas of the home. If they do, they'll usually have specifications that must be met for the plan to include the grab bars.

Do suction grab bars work on tile?

No. Suction grab bars do not provide adequate anchorage for the type of grab bars needed to support body weight. They are, however, strong enough to support shower hardware such as soap dispensers and shampoo racks.

Check out the shampoo rack on Amazon.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has helped illustrated how to install grab bars in your ceramic tile shower. Remember, it's always best to first find the stud behind the wall before installing the bars to ensure that they have enough anchoring to support your body weight.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

What Are The Standard Sizes For Shower Pans/Bases?

Should You Choose A Black Shower Base?

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