Grab Bars Standards, Measurements and Mounting Safety

Grab Bars Standards, Measurements, and Mounting Safety

Feeling overwhelmed with the world of grab bars?

Our goal is to clarify and simplify the basics of grab bars so you have clear direction when modifying your space.

There are a few important topics to discuss when it comes to grab bars.

  • Measurements and Standards
  • Wall-Reinforcement/Blocking
  • Grab Bar Options

First we will discuss the recommended measurements and standards according to the ADA.

Then we will discuss the importance of wall-reinforcement.

Lastly, we will discuss some innovative options that are out there so that you can adapt your space as best suits you and your needs.

We decided to break up this entire discussion into two posts to save you from a never-ending lengthy read. We therefore saved Grab Bar Products and Options for another post. Feel free to click the link to read more!

Let’s jump right in.


Measurements and Standards


Toilet Area

It is usually recommended to install grab bars on both the back wall (behind the toilet) and side wall (next to the toilet). This is obviously only going to work if the toilet area is set up in a manner with a back and side wall. There are other grab bar options which can replace these standard recommendations for toilet areas which do not feature these characteristics.

First, we will go through the typical standards.


Back Wall

The ADA recommendations for a grab bar installed on the back wall behind the toilet are as follows:

Length: 36″ minimum

Height: 33″-36″

Position: minimum 12″ from the center on one side and minimum 24″ on the other side

Side Wall

The ADA recommendations for a grab bar installed on the side wall next to the toilet are as follows:

Length: 42″ minimum

Height: 33″-36″

Position: 12″ maximum from the back wall


For our visual learners out there, take a look at the picture below or follow this link to Adaptive Access for a pictorial depiction.


Shower Area

The shower area is not as concrete as the toilet area. Showers come in so many unique shapes, forms and sizes that creating standards that really work for every home is not so practical. There are ADA standards of course, but many of our homes just don’t quite fit those standards.

Therefore, I will provide a list of my basic recommended placements for grab bars in tubs and showers which you can hopefully apply to your space. As always, you can contact us with any specific questions or for further guidance. We are happy to help whenever we can!


Entry Bar

An “Entry Bar” is an advantageous safety feature. This is a small vertical grab bar on the wall where one enters the shower or tub. Although we often call this bar an “entry bar,” it essentially comes in handy for both entering and exiting the shower. The bar can potentially be positioned vertically or horizontally, but vertical placement is most often the better option.

In general, vertical bars tend to work well for a variety of heights; often working well for showers which are used by people who range in their physical stature. Horizontal bars are great for long lengths where a handhold is needed across a large space and for use facing different directions i.e. along a long wall in a shower where you need to walk from one end to another. Diagonal bars also accommodate various heights but add the additional benefit of a more comfortable and natural wrist position while holding on.

Vertical placement of the  “entry bar” is generally the most practical as it accommodates different heights and allows for a comfortable grip while entering and exiting the shower.


Interior Bar

The other most common bar placed in the shower is the “interior bar” which is essentially the bar used while in the tub or shower. The primary bar that is used for actual bathing activities is usually placed in a horizontal or diagonal direction. It is best when placed along the longest wall. Many times, based on the unique design and layout of the shower, more than one bar may be recommended to maximize safety.

It is always best to consult with a professional to ensure that you are maximizing and not compromising your safety.


**Notice the vertical entry bar all the way on the right and the horizontal interior bar parallel to the tub.


For more info on grab bar placement, “Mr Grab Bar” has a phenomenal discussion worth reading.



When it comes to mounting any equipment, the wall reinforcement behind the device is crucial for safety. It is counterproductive to install a device that is geared towards enhancing safety in an unstable manner thereby risking an accident, fall etc.

Therefore, behind any piece of equipment there must be a form of reinforcement, also called “blocking,” for maximal stability.

There are a variety of forms of blocking.

The simplest form of blocking is into wood. Some homes are built with wooden studs which grab bars can be directly drilled and anchored into. The easiest way to check if your bathroom has wooden studs is with a stud finder. Check if the studs are just in the right place for where you want to place your grab bar based on the ADA recommendations above. Hopefully it will be your lucky day and you will find some. Mounting should be rather simple in that case!

BUT…what if today just didn’t seem to be your lucky day and no studs show up where you planned your grab bar placements?

There are some other options but be sure that you check the instructions that come along with the bar to makes sure you are mounting it safely. It is solely your responsibility to ensure that your grab bar and installation/mounting method are safe. We take no responsibility for any repercussions that occur.

Some examples of mounting options for hollow walls without studs include:

Snap Toggle Anchor

Securemount Anchor


(Disclaimer: The above videos are used for demonstration purposes only, not as recommended products.)



Grab bars are often place around the toilet area and in tubs/showers to maximize safety in the bathroom. Using standard measurements will help optimize the practicality and usefulness of the bars. Make sure that the bars are mounted safely!


That’s that for Grab Bar Standards, Measurements and Mounting Safety.

Check out our post on Grab Bar Products and Options for more practical info!


As always, Contact us with any comments/questions.


To safe and happy homes,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :