How to Install Hand Rails
Bathroom hand rails can sometimes keep you from falling in the tub. They are also convenient for the elderly and people with disabilities. Once you know how to install hand rails in a bathroom, you can place them throughout your home. The primary location for a hand rail in the bathroom is on the long side wall beside the tub. A hand rail can be installed even if you have ceramic tile on the bathtub wall.
Use a stud finder to locate wall studs to mount the handrail. Mark the locations of the wall studs using a marker.
Use a tape measure to measure 8 inches from the top of the tub where the wall stud is and mark this as your mounting point for your hand rail. If this hand rail is primarily for a person sitting in a bath chair, then you want to measure the mounting point 18 inches from the top of the tub.
Place the one end of the handrail on your mounting mark. Have a helper hold the other end and place a torpedo level on the grab bar. Once the bar is level, use a marker to mark the mounting holes.
Use an awl to hand twist a small impression into the tile where you have marked. This will prevent the drill bit from sliding across the tile while you are drilling holes. Do not force the awl as you are twisting it. This could cause the ceramic tile to crack.
Use a drill and a carbide glass and tile drill bit that is slightly larger than your mounting screws to drill holes through the tile. Do not drill into the wall stud with this bit. Once you have drilled through the tile, change the drill bit to a 1/16-inch wood bit. Drill pilot holes into the wall studs with this bit.
Have your helper hold the hand rail in position while you mount it to the bathtub wall. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to install the screws on each end of the hand rail mounting plates.
Test the strength of the handrail by grabbing it and pulling on it. Now is the time to find out if the hand rail is going to hold.
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