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  • Securing a Grab Bar

    I need to install a grab bar on the bathroom wall near the shower. The common practice is to position the mounts over a stud to ensure it can safely support the weight of a person. Unfortunately, the closest stud is too far away. And I can't do anything creative like angle the bar between two studs.

    The next option is to use a toggle bolt in the drywall. I'm not entirely comfortable knowing I don't have a solid stud to screw the mounts into, but I've read some postings on this topic that indicate a toggle bolt is secure enough for an average sized person to use. I have at least a couple products to choose from:

    One is called Wingits, but requires a rather large hole (1.25") in the wall that I really don't want to make:
    Grab Bar Specialists: GRAB BAR MOUNTING KITS - Grab Bar Wingits ( 2 Required for Installation ), WINGITS & Accessories

    The other is called Toggler and does not require a large hole (only 5/16") in the wall:
    Toggler Plastic Drywall Anchor | Plastic Fasteners, Plastic Toggle Bolts, Plastic Wall Anchors

    Can anyone advise me if the products like Toggler which don't require a large hole are actually strong enough to safely mount a grab bar? Assume the weight of the person is less than 150lbs, and I would be using at least two of these toggle bolts on the grab bar (one or more on each side). I'm looking for reassurance as my impression of drywall is that it's flimsy.

  • #2
    Re: Securing a Grab Bar

    I've installed 1000's in new construction as it was the plumbers work for union jobs.

    Remember even a 150# person wouldn't apply that much weight unless they are climbing on it.

    The shear rating of the 1/4" bolt is more than the weight rating you're worried about. But the tear out strength will be weaker with more than 1 hole that close together. So only properly drill 1 hole and use some construction adhesive to position the flange of the bar from moving on the wall and enlarging the hole.

    Fortunately, you have 0 liability for your own home. I wouldn't want to take the liability on a jobsite, but as a homeowner you either take the liability or cut the wall and install proper backing.

    The toggles are not bad as they sit flush and have a zip tie style to hold the backer in place. Make sure to use the flat side to the wall and not the flanged raised side. It will dig in and cut the paper of the wall board. Hopefully it's at , least 5/8".

    Rick.
    Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 01-21-2013, 09:43 PM.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Securing a Grab Bar

      open wall from rear of bathing unit, insert studs or other bracing, repair wall.
      ~~

      ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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      • #4
        Re: Securing a Grab Bar

        Originally posted by Plumber Punky View Post
        open wall from rear of bathing unit, insert studs or other bracing, repair wall.
        This would be the best thing to do. Even a 150 pound person that might slip and grab the bar to keep from falling would likely tear it out of the sheet rock. Install it like it was in you mothers house and she was depending on it!

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        • #5
          Re: Securing a Grab Bar

          Thanks for your comments. I'm going to try one of the recent product innovations in mounting solutions that avoids opening the wall. I'm leaning towards Moen's Secure Mount Anchors. Here's a video showing installation that is simple enough for DIY:




          I'll post back with my results.
          Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 01-22-2013, 04:14 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Securing a Grab Bar

            I've used these before. Be prepared for the little toggle thing to fall off in the wall.
            ~~

            ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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            • #7
              Re: Securing a Grab Bar

              What little toggle thing?
              Buy cheap, buy twice.

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              • #8
                Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                The moen secure mount anchor is a redesigned toggle anchor that slides on cheap, thin plastic rails. The rails tend to move and the toggle falls off in the wall.



                Edit: and the OP doesn't want to make a 1.25" hole in the wall. This fastener needs all of that to make it work right.
                Last edited by Plumber Punky; 01-22-2013, 12:31 PM.
                ~~

                ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                  I'm OK with making the 1.25" hole in the wall now that I've seen the video and understand how it works. I have a Hole Saw kit. It will go directly into the wall, not tile.

                  Based on your experience with this item, I will need to be extra careful. Your caution may have saved me from losing the toggle in the wall ... thanks.

                  Still thinking about it ... geez, nothing is simple
                  Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 01-22-2013, 02:37 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                    I was going to suggest the hilti straight bar toggle bolts but the moen system looks better. I would put one in if I couldn't get to the studs.
                    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                      why not use a 16 inch or a 32 inch bar and hit the studs?

                      you may only get one good screw into the stud but a 2 1/2 inch screw in a stud most likely will hold any thing that is normally going to happen to the bar in a normal home, if you have some thing odd one can use a stair handrail and use the studs
                      Last edited by BHD; 01-22-2013, 04:56 PM.
                      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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                      • #12
                        Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                        As Rick said installing backing for grab bars and towel bars falls under plumbers work in new union construction. How it shakes out in non-union depends on howmit gets awarded or where the A/E puts it, in which bid package that is. I remember installing metal backing to anchor the bars to before sheet rock went up.

                        The Moen anchor looks good but I have never used or seen one. The problem of losing the toggle in the wall is not something you want to deal with. Still, it looks like it will do the job after watching the video. Their independant testing lab is not too well versed in rigging. Anyone notice how they wrapped the cable around the bar and secured it with a carbiner? Not a good practice and wrong rigging hardware for the job.

                        If those anchor plates had 1/4 or 5/16 tapped holes they could be used with almost any make bar.
                        ---------------
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                        • #13
                          Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                          Originally posted by BHD View Post
                          why not use a 16 inch or a 32 inch bar and hit the studs?
                          That's certainly the smart way to approach it if I wanted to mount the bar horizontally or at an angle. In my case, I want to mount it vertically in an area between the studs.
                          Originally posted by BHD View Post
                          ... you may only get one good screw into the stud but a 2 1/2 inch screw in a stud most likely will hold any thing that is normally going to happen to the bar in a normal home
                          One of the nice things I noticed about the Moen product is the mounting flange has elongated screw holes so you can place two screws in the stud, at the top and bottom of the flange. The other brands I looked at have three holes spaced in a triangle pattern so that you can only get one screw squarely in the stud. In my case, I won't have the benefit of a stud beind the bar, but their thoughtful mounting design gave me an appreciation for Moen that I didn't have before.
                          Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 01-22-2013, 08:37 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                            Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                            As Rick said installing backing for grab bars and towel bars falls under plumbers work in new union construction...
                            It struck me as odd when I first read that Rick said he's done a lot of these as I hadn't thought of this as plumber's work. But as a regular follower on this forum, I thought, is there anything Rick hasn't done?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Securing a Grab Bar

                              the moen design is very similar to the hilti style toggler with the zip tie style to secure the toggle. not sure but i believe it only requires a 1/2'' hole and the spread on the toggle plate is over 2''.

                              the testing lab defiantly didn't use proper rigging. they should have used a nylon strap to sling around the bar. most of their test showed tile surfaces. but they did mention down to 1/8'' thickness.

                              if you're using the moen bars, then go with their system as they have the test data. otherwise i believe you will get similar results with the hilt style and backing plate.

                              rick.
                              phoebe it is

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