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By Patricia Holland

Grab Bars and Handrails for restrooms are no longer an optional feature. They are a safety requirement for almost all new construction and remodeling. As people become older it becomes more difficult to bath. A leading cause of injury for the elderly is falls in the bathroom. The bathtub, shower and toilet are the primary areas of concern and bars and handrails will provide the additional safety and support to help people maintain their balance. Grab Bars and Handrails will provide everyone with additional safety, not just the elderly or people with disabilities.

Grab Bars and Handrails are considered an integral part of the restroom because they provide safety and security for all users. They are absolutely mandatory for the physically disabled and are part of ADA regulations. Common applications include public restrooms, public shower rooms, hotels, hospitals, health care facilities, nursing homes, residential homes, health clubs, assisted living facilities, independent living apartments, and commercial office environments.


Grab Bars and Handrails are an important safety feature but they can also add to the sophistication and elegance of a restroom. They convey the image of concern for the user with heavy duty chrome-plated metal or stainless steel. They are rust resistant and can be mounted horizontally or vertically or in other configurations. Some configurations include vertical floor-to-ceiling poles for greater assistance. These durable and functional support systems are ergonomically designed for a comfortable and secure grip. Some bars and handrails are covered with a corrosion resistant nylon gripping surface. This nylon gripping surface offers a smooth, non-slip surface that maintains a stable temperature regardless of variations of heat or cold in the water or restroom. And these nylon surfaces are also free of any sharp surface irregularities that would be considered abrasive.

Most Grab Bars and Handrails are constructed from heavy gauge 304 stainless steel tubing. The diameter is usually one or one and one half inch and the bars and handrails can be mounted in either a concealed or exposed method. The ADA has specific load requirements that virtually all bars and handrails meet or exceed. In addition, the ADA specifics a safety clearance between the wall and the bar or handrail of one and one half inch. There are multiple configurations available for bathtubs, showers, stalls, and toilets. Custom configurations can also be designed for clients. There are a variety of mounting kits available with most having 3 3/4″ diameter mounting brackets with rubber gaskets to protect walls.

The maintenance and cleaning of Grab Bars and Handrails is generally a simple process but there are several things to avoid. Most Grab Bars and Handrails are made from stainless steel which is a low carbon steel that is comprised of at least ten percent chromium. The chromium gives stainless steel its rust and corrosion resisting ability but it does not make it impervious. Stainless steel can be damaged by corrosion or discoloration by harsh cleaners and other unique conditions. In general, users should avoid using chloride cleansers, cleansers containing salts, bleach, and muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) which is commonly used during tile and concrete installation. In addition, concentrated soap residue and water with a high iron content can discolor or leave a rusty residue. Contact with iron materials such as steel wool should be avoided because small bits of steel can impregnate the stainless steel and begin to rust. The best method of maintenance is frequent cleaning with a mild soap and water.

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