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Bathtub Handrails

There are two basic types of handrails used in a bathroom and bathtub situation, safety bars and wall mounted handrails. A safety bar is typically mounted to the side of the tub. It is used for entering and exiting the tub itself. Larger wall mounted handrails can be used throughout the bath area. They too can be used for entering and exiting the bathtub, but are generally used for stabilizing oneself when lowering or rising from the tub enclosure. The wall mounted handrails can support as much as 1000 pounds if correctly installed.

Bathtub handrails should be located where they will be of the most use. Typically they may extend from the floor area and into the tub enclosure. The length of the handrail can vary from 24 inches in length to 48 inches long. Other handrails may be floor mounted. In these cases, two bars are placed parallel to each other so the user can support themselves between the bars and enter the bathtub. The same type of arrangement can be placed along both sides of a toilet for lowering and rising from the commode.

Installing a Handrail
Find the locations of the wooden wall studs. All handrails must be attached into the wood frame members. Identify the mounting holes for the handrails onto the walls surface. You can use a small diameter black marker. Once identified, the holes will have to be drilled. Use a masonry drill bit in a variable speed drill motor for ceramic tiles. Take your time and drill the hole slowly. Do not force the drill through the tile or else it may crack or break. Once the holes are drilled the handrail can be mounted to the walls. Use the recommend size and length of screws provided by the manufacturer. The screws are the ultimate security for the handrail. Failure to follow the manufacturers recommendations can lead to the rail pulling out from the wall and a possible injury occurring. Place a bead of silicone caulk around the mounting flange of the rail. This will keep water from migrating behind the rail and into the wood frame.

Install skid proof mats around the toilet and tub areas of the bathroom. Not only will this aid in the water on the floor, but will also keep any other slick surface from becoming a problem. Install plenty of lighting in the bathroom. Especially ones that shine down on the handrails after installation. Ceiling lights placed in corners above the handrails will cut down on glare and illuminate the area. A frosted lens over the light bulbs will further reduce any glare. Be cautious in using separate light fixtures in the bath area as these can pose an electrical shock hazrd. Be sure to use GFCI, ground fault circuit interrupters,  receptacles and circuits for all wet locations in the home. The installation of the handrail itself goes far beyond just mounting a rail to the wall. All of the above factors should be considered as part of the handrail installation.

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