Placement of Grab Bars around the Toilet Explained

Placement of Grab Bars around the Toilet Explained

Grab bars are a vital part of bathrooms – both shower stalls and toilets. While installing these grabs bars, it is essential to get the right settings for them to serve you for a longer time, and without causing accidents.

A toilet requires both vertical and horizontal grab bars. In some instants, diagonal bars can be installed.  Vertical bars are usually placed in front while the horizontal bars are situated next to the vertical bars a well as behind these bars. Regardless of the size of the bathroom, horizontal bars must be on at least on two walls. 

Grab bars offer support. In large-sized bathrooms, i.e., roll-in showers, (big enough to accommodate wheelchairs) the bars make it easier for wheelchair users to navigate in the toilets.

While installing the vertical and horizontal grab bars, it is crucial to adhere to some rules, most importantly, the distance between the two bars. The installation guidelines specify the distance required from one grab bar to another on the floors and walls.

However, contractors usually flout these rules, by not paying attention to the required height and length of the bar, which more often results in obstructions. Remember, toilet size matters. What is your toilet rough in measurement?

Placement of Grab Bars around the Toilet – Important Considerations

  1. Height

While installing horizontal bars, in showers and toilets, ensure that the topmost part of the bars is between 33 inches and 36 inches above the ground. The vertical bars, on the other hand, should be installed at between 3 and 6 inches above the horizontal bars in transfer showers.

The most common problem that arises here is that the installation may be too high or too low because most installers aim for one edge of the range.

  1. Length

Length is a feature of concern, the reason being that different rules govern the installation process and the sizes of the grab bars.

Initially, the leading edge of the parallel bar next to the toilet was not less than 54 inches from the rear wall while the back rim was 12 inches from the wall. This fell perfectly into place because contractors used a bar that is 42 inches long; when one dimension was set right, the other one fell into place automatically. 

However, some changes were made by the ICC in 2009. This changed the rear edge 12-inch standard into a maximum distance. As such, most bars are now installed closer to the back walls. But, if you use the 42 inch long bars, it will fall short of the 54-inch requirements, which leaves with the option of using longer bar only. 

For showers, shorter bars can work better, because the regulations dictate that there should be shower seats in all showers that are accessible, but prohibits the grab bars from extending over the shower seats.

  1. Obstructions

Poor installation leads to obstructions. The primary obstructions are paper dispensers and shelve. These structures are most often installed closer to the grab bars, making it difficult to hold on to the grab bars properly. 

Regulations require that a minimum clearance of not less than 1 1/2 inches below grab bars and 12 inches above. If the bar is on a framed wall rather than a stall partition, then a recessed shelf and dispenser will work better.

Grab Bars Explained

Grab bars are essential to support structures in the bathroom. People using wheelchairs find them useful. Similarly, aged individuals find them necessary.  As age progresses, you might find it challenging to move around the bathroom, considering the slippery surfaces and wetness. These features are hazardous, especially if you have compromised stability.

There is a high possibility of falls happening. A fall might result in either fatal injuries such are bone breakage or merely bruises. With grab bars, you can avoid, such accidents can be reduced.

Did you know that CDC statistics indicate that 3 million elderly individuals in America are treated for injuries arising from falls? This is deeply disturbing. 

That said the grab bars could go a long way in reducing such unnecessary falls and a means on how to poop faster on the toilet.

Types of Grab Bars

Walking into different bathrooms or toilets, you’ll notice that the grab bars installed are not the same. They vary in shape and texture. These different styles are essential in enhancing your motion and reducing the chances of slipping. The common types include;

  1. Straight grab bars

This is by far the most common type of grab bars you’ll see. Most toilets have these kinds. They are naturally basic. Their outline is straight, and you can install them in all the three directions. Besides, these grab bars can have a smooth finish or a textured finish.

  1. Wavy grab bars

These are straight grab bars that come with a twist. They appear wavy. Apart from being a decorative feature, the shape is meant to make it easier to grab the bar.

Like the straight grab bars, these bars come with either a smooth finish or textured finish to allow for more grip.

 Without a doubt, placement of grab bars around the toilet is a critical feature regardless of the installation method and shape of the bars.

Grab Bar Modifications

Much as the grab bars are used to offer support; some have been built for additional purposes. For instance, a bathroom has a tissue paper holder, soap holders, and towel racks. Some grab bars have been created to have two functions, apart from their primary purpose of support, they can be used to hold soap, tissue, and towel rack. Installing such bars in your bathroom can be an excellent way to save on space.  

Other modifications include:

  1. Slide bar grabs with handheld showerheads

For those who like sitting down while bathing, this can be a great bar. When you get up, just hold on to it for support. Similarly, when you sit down, it will offer you enough support.

Taking a shower in a seated position can be a good thing for the elderly and the sick. Grab bars offer you support, making your shower smooth.

  1. Grab Bar Clamps

If you have a bathtub, then this the grab bars to use. They come with clamps that you clamp on the side of your bathtub to help you get in or out of your bathtub. The proper way to use the bars s when you are lifting your legs over the tub wall to get in or out. Thy act as a point to hold on.

Note that these bars get loose with time. So it is essential to check regularly and tighten them.

  1. Angled grab bars

Angled bars are bent at an angle, making them ideal for the disabled and the people who are elderly. So, you can install then on your bathtub to give a secure grip.

  1. Wall to wall grab bars

These type of bars offer excellent stability as they are installed to the wall and the floor. Besides, they are installed close to the toilet. What’s more, is that some come with a small support leg in addition to the first one.

Other types include suction cup grab bars, Flip Down Grab Bar, Decorative Grab Bar, and Floor to Ceiling Grab Bar, etc.

Advantages of Grab Bars

Grab bars cannot be underestimated within the bathroom environment. Their benefits range from simple aesthetic values to numerous health benefits. Below is an anatomy of the importance.

  1. Health benefits

The bathroom should be a place where people get to relieve themselves or clean up. However, in the process, falls might occur. However small a fall maybe it may instil in you the fear using the bathroom apart from causing life-changing injuries. This especially so for the older members of society.

Grab bars in the bathrooms can make it easier for people to navigate into the bathroom; whether it is to bath, to take a shower or simply defecate. It gives the users the stability to walk around hence the confidence of using the bathrooms. The elderly might then consider taking a bath more often, thus keeping the required standards of hygiene.

Do you need support while sitting or getting off a toilet? Support is significant. A grab bar can make this process very easy. Remember, some people may tumble while sitting on the toilet bowl, which may be fatal.

For the old and the sick, their balance is not just right. The same thing happens to the exhausted individuals, dehydrated, and those taking certain kind of medication. Such conditions result in a feeling of light-headedness or dizziness, especially when you get up too quickly. If the toilet has grab bars, you can hold onto them to get your balance back.

  1. Instil confidence and sense of independence

If you must require another person to hold on so that you can comfortably use your toilet, it means that you are dependent on others. This can reduce your confidence or even kill it. Such a scenario simply means that you are losing control, and the quality of life is taking a downhill turn.

It will be embarrassing to call on a family member or friends to navigate you to the bathroom, especially if going toilet five times a day is your routine. But making small changes in your toilets like installing high-quality grab bars can be a life-changing event in your life.

Grab bars can give you the confidence and the independence you need to survive in this life. In short, they will restore the life you used to have before.

  1. Aesthetics

The right set of grab bars in your bathroom will make it look appealing to the eye. They improve the general appearance of the toilet. In fact, if you want to up your house for sale, they can increase the resale value.

  1. Versatility

Grab bars are the only way to bring safety and confidence into your bathroom. They are well created to do this function as they can be installed in different versions, including horizontally, diagonally, and vertically. These different installation angles make it possible to use the toilet with much ease.

Grab Bar Installation Methods

Grab bars can be installed in various ways. However, the most acceptable means are the vertical and horizontal styles. Nowadays, some people also prefer installing them diagonally.

  1. Vertical installation

These are installed on the wall vertically at a convenient height. The great advantage of these types of bars is that they are straightforward to grab, which makes it possible for many people to use them. People who have poor balance, such as those who have arthritis find these types of grab bars useful.

The disadvantage of bars installed vertically is that they have less wall covering. This might make walking a bit challenging. 

  1. Horizontal installation

These are installed horizontally along the wall at a convenient height. The horizontal grab bars are one of the most durable bars you can fit in your toilet. The standout advantage of these bars is that people using wheelchairs can easily use them. The individuals can hold on to the bars and get off or into their wheelchairs quickly. That implies that the bars are sturdy to withstand the weight of any amount.

Besides, thee bars allow you to rotate 360-degree easily, a feature that makes them so versatile. However, they come with the disadvantage of limited height. They are usually fixed at a particular height.

  1. Diagonal installation

The standout advantage of diagonal installation is the ability to accommodate different heights. Besides, their installation makes it possible to provide motion smoothly and naturally to the hands and the wrist as you grab them. In essence, they help you to transition smoothly from sitting position to a standing position. But, there is a great risk of your hands slipping as you try to stand up.

The only way to bit slipping is purchasing bars that come with textured surfaces to increase the grip.


Placement of grab bars around the toilet must be precise for proper usage. However, that will partly depend on the type of bar you chose as well as the installer. All in all, find the best grab bar for your bathroom. That will depend on the size of your bathroom, the size of the bar, material, and colour. With proper installation procedure, the bars should serve you effectively for a longer.