Common locations for grab bars in showers include a horizontal bar placed 9 to 11 inches above the long side of the tub and a vertical bar placed 9 inches or less from the end of the tub on the wall where bathers enter. If the tub includes a shower combination, adding a second set of bars horizontally in the tub enclosure, 36 inches above the floor, provides additional security.
Horizontal grab bars provide additional security when standing or sitting in the tub. Vertical bars offer the versatility for bathers to lower themselves from a standing to a sitting position and are more useful if occupants using the tub are of different heights. A diagonal shower bar offers the advantages of both horizontal and vertical bars.
Anchoring the screws that hold grab bars into studs behind the wall is the preferred method of installation, although the use of appropriate wall anchors is acceptable. Choosing bars that are multiples of 16 inches in length helps to facilitate fastening them into the studs.
After installing the shower bars, test them by grabbing each bar and giving it a strong tug. Bars should remain snug against the wall and not move. Check them regularly to ensure they remain secure for the safety of the user.