Elderly Woman Holding Grab Bar

How High Should Grab Bars Be Installed?

Grab bars are among the most effective and affordable accessible home modifications you can make, and they are nigh on essential for senior citizens who want to ensure their safety. When it comes to the risk of falling, bathrooms are one of the highest-risk areas, with slippery and hard floors. Properly installed grab bars can provide increased stability when using the toilet, shower, or bath.

But when considering installing grab bars in a home, it is common to ask: Just how high should grab bars be installed?

Generally, grab bars should be installed at whatever height is most appropriate for their primary user. However, ADA standards recommend that rear grab bars be installed at the height of between 33 and 36 inches above the finished floor of the tub, shower or bathroom. This is a good starting range.

That said, whilst it is advisable to consider this range as a guide for installation, the best height for grab bars is always going to be where it will be the most secure and comfortable for the intended user. A petite person will need grab bars placed at a lower position than a tall person, and a raised toilet seat will change things too. And, of course, if you don’t install the bars in the right place, they are unlikely to be used by the person they are intended it for!

Vertical/Angled Grab Bars Height

Vertical Grab Bar

Grab bars may also be installed at an angle or vertically.

If you install grab bars in this way, you will actually give yourself more flexibility in the height at which they can be installed and make them more accessible for a wider range of users.

Entrance Grab Bars Height

The typical installation height for entrance bars is 16 to 18 inches. You can install a 24-inch grab bar if the user uses a shower chair and requires additional support at a lower point to stand up or to get seated. This is an essential bar because most falls take place at this point.

Back Wall Grab Bar Height

For the back wall grab bar, you can install a 24 to 36 inches bar horizontally positioned at 33 inches to 36 inches from the finished floor of the shower or bathtub. This is generally the best position.

Installation Note: If you are fixing a grab bar that is less than 32 inches, you should move the bar from the center to the plumbing system wall of the bathroom. This will provide a useful bar to the bathroom users, especially when they are standing below the showerhead.

Toilet Grab Bars Height

It is a great idea to have well-installed grab bars for users who have a problem getting up or sitting on the toilet seat. It is best to install two bars on either side of the toilet seat for maximum stability when the user is getting up or sitting on the toilet seat. We suggest you install a 16 to 32-inch bar horizontally positioned at 33 inches to 36 inches from the toilet floor to the upper part of the grab bar for maximum accessibility.

Considerations Before Installation

Before installing grab bars, it is wise to pay attention to the motions of the intended users bathroom routine to identify the areas where they naturally require support and the height at which bars will be most suitable for them.

Taking note of these areas is crucial, especially in transfer settings like rising from the toilet seat, sitting down, and entering or exiting the bathtub or shower.

In the case when a person can complete the routine without help, it is critical to note if they feel dizzy, weak, or too tired at any point and to place support strategically to accommodate this.

If you’re having any trouble working out the best placement options available for you, it might be worth working with a competent occupational therapist to assess the ideal grab bars height and design a personalized home remodeling plan that will enhance safety, stability, and functionality.

On a separate note, if you bathroom has a towel bar installed it might be worth considering replacing this with a grab bar instead. The new bar can serve as the towel bar, whilst also providing great stability when entering and exiting the shower.

Finally, whilst this article has specifically addresses bathroom grab bar height, it is also worth considering installing grab bars in other places in your home. Having them alongside steps can greatly increase your stability, safety, and independence at home!

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James Peacock
James Peacock
James Peacock is the editor-in-chief of Mobility Deck. James has lived as a student in Auckland for over 7 years, so he has a lot of experience with the difficulties of accessible transport in a big city. As a graduate of law from the University of Auckland, James enjoys writing and is dedicated to discovering the most innovative and valuable mobility products worth sharing with others – the ones that truly improve users' lives.
James Peacock
James Peacock
James Peacock is the editor-in-chief of Mobility Deck. James has lived as a student in Auckland for over 7 years, so he has a lot of experience with the difficulties of accessible transport in a big city. As a graduate of law from the University of Auckland, James enjoys writing and is dedicated to discovering the most innovative and valuable mobility products worth sharing with others – the ones that truly improve users' lives.

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