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Question DetailsAsked on 6/20/2011

Does anyone know whether safety handrails can be installed in a tub surround?

House built in 1997 and Granny keeps slipping. Are handrails enough or should I consider something else? How do I find remodelers who specialize in elder enhancements?

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2 Answers


FIRST why is Granny :slipping"? Is Granny unassisted taking tub baths or standing in a tub to shower??? To mitigate "slipping", properly applying "tread" to the bottom of the tub may be an option (cheap). Please do not offer her a false sense of safety by installing insecure suctiion grab bars.

For "elder enhancements" contact the local department of health & social services or elder ombudsman office'

Years ago we had grab bars installed, but only after I sat in the tub and stood in the shower to determine the angles best suited for either bathing option and degree of disablity. 20 years later, I too depend on them

Answered 9 years ago by tessa89


There is no easy answer. The short answer probably can BUT

Problem will be the attachment and security. There are ways to retrofit grab bars or rails but you have to be good at it....granny will be a bit irritated if you aren't! Most need to secure to a stud - - with your surround, you are looking at going through the surround, through drywall or blueboard and hit the stud(s). Some use an anchoring bolt like the wing nut thinggys you use to hang a picture only bigger and stronger.

First suggestion - - involve granny in the choices and options. If she hasn't felt a part of whatever you do, it might not be quite good enough [A]

Second, you need to think through what sort of rail/bar will be most useful and least in the way for others. From reading your post, it sounds like you are thinking about something that attaches to a wall (e.g. the surround). That is one option but you might also get where you are headed with a clamping rail that clamps to the side of the tub. And, maybe granny needs to not be so far down into the tub - - perhaps a seat of some sort so she isn't trying to be a pivoting person while getting up/down/in/out of the tub. Most important, if you use a grab bar/rail, be sure you make the bottom of the tub non-slip or slip resistent so granny doesn't spin herself around like a top.

Visit Google and search for bathtub grab bars . Check out a couple of sites just to see the variety. You may be surprised at the options you have.

Visit some assited living and/or durable medical equipment web sites. You don't indicate where you live so it's tough to offer a (physical) suggestion. There are a couple near me with showrooms and they keep a list of folks who install and follow the ADA requirements for safety and durability.

Peek at the sammonspreston web site (here ) They have some of the options I was thinking of.

If you have to hire someone because mounting to or through the surround seems like the best approach, call on the same trade you would have hired to install the surround. Likely a plumber but be danged sure they are aware of the ADA specs for these things.

Last suggestion (I know, I'm long winded) make sure you include granny in the thinking and selection of a solution. Hmm, I may have heard that before. Seriously, if someone helps you lay a few bricks, they find it hard to criticize the wall when it's finished.

Good luck 'n let us know how you wind up!

Answered 9 years ago by Old Grouch

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