Get a Grip On Grab Bars for Showers

Grab bars enable an individual to maintain balance, reduce fatigue while standing, rising, or maneuvering, or in some cases grabbing onto in case of a slip or fall. Caregivers can also use a grab bar to assist with patient transfer.

The words “grab bar” are used multiple times in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, September 15, 2010 Plumbing Element and Facilities. Grab bars for toilets (water closets) are referenced in Plumbing Elements and Facilities Section 609.

Specifications for Shower Grab Bars are in 609 Grab Bars and specifically in 608 Shower Compartments and in 608.3 Grab Bars, 608.3.1 Transfer Type Shower Compartments, 608.3.2 Standard Roll-In Type Shower Compartments and in 608.3.3 Alternate Roll-In Type Shower Compartments.


Grab Bars not required for a single occupant accessed through a private office and not for common or public use, provided reinforcement has been installed in walls for future use. Grab bars in residential dwellings are not required, provided that reinforcement has been installed in walls. Both have to comply for future installation with 608.3.

The standards reference the size and clearance for grab bars for roll-in transfer, roll-in and alternate roll-in type shower compartments. Grab Bars are stated to have to comply with Standard 609 with exceptions noted above.


Transfer Type Shower Compartments 608.3.1: Grab bars shall be provided across the control wall and back wall to a point 18” from the control wall.

Standard Roll-in Type Shower Compartments 608.3.2: If a seat is provided, grab bars shall on the back wall and side wall opposite the seat. If no seat, grab bars on three walls and installed 6” from adjacent walls.

Alternate Roll-In Type Shower Compartments 608.3.3: Grab bars shall be provided on the back and the side wall farthest from the entry and not above the seat. Grab bars shall be installed 6” maximum from adjacent walls.


Grab Bar Mounting

The standard mounting dimensions for circular and non-circular grab bars are 2” max. and should not rotate in their fittings and have a structural strength of 250 lbs. horizontally and vertically. The water closet grab bars should be installed 33” minimum and 36” maximum in a horizontal position above finished floor except for a child’s use ages 3 to 12, 18” minimum and 27” maximum in section 604.9. The side wall grab bar is 42” min. and the rear wall grab bar is 36” min.

Most manufacturers of commercial restroom grab bars (including for ADA) have different configurations, mountings and finishes so it is the designer’s choice. The requirements have to deal with slip resistance, height and length from the floor and the mounting dimensions. There were close to 300 projects with Grab Bars listed for ADA restrooms, and only a few had specific manufacturers. The remainder are open for bidding.

Often when specifying shower grab bars for ADA restrooms, the wording is general such as “provide ADA compliant grab bar.” Surprisingly, ADA showers are most often specified under two divisions: Plumbing and Specialties. Sometimes the specifications state a specific manufacturer or manufacturer list. At this writing, there were 89 projects within the Plumbing Division and 37 projects within the Specialty Division that specified ADA shower grab bars for this year in ConstructConnect. Since most do not contain a specific manufacturer, the field is wide open for product manufacturers to become a basis of design or position their grab bars as THE ones for ADA restrooms.


Although there are many manufacturers of grab bars for ADA restrooms, here are a few to consider.

Bobrick. Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc. Bobrick is a recognized name in well-designed, value-oriented restroom accessories and toilet partitions. Some of the world’s more renowned companies and institutions rely on Bobrick Solutions to reinforce their brands, reduce long term operating costs, and position their organizations for the future. You will find a variety of grab bars when you search for “grab bars” on their website.

Brey-Krause. Brey-Krause manufactures a comprehensive line of quality commercial and industrial washroom accessories. Their products are used in new and existing commercial, industrial, and HUD facilities. A wide variety of styles, colors, materials, and finishes ensure appropriate application in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, office buildings, factories, airports, restaurants, prisons, hotels, health clubs, locker rooms and public restrooms. All products are manufactured in compliance with American Disabilities Act- (ADA) and ANSI requirements. Search for a series of ADA compliant grab bars on their website.

Moen. The #1 faucet brand in North America, Moen offers a diverse selection of thoughtfully designed kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, accessories, bath safety products, garbage disposals and kitchen sinks for residential and commercial applications, each delivering the best possible combination of meaningful innovation, useful features, and lasting value. Moen commercial products incorporate smart design with advanced technology. To view the selection of grab bars visit their website.

Bradley Corporation. Bradley is one of the most complete and advanced manufacturers of commercial washrooms, and comprehensive solutions for emergency, safety, and industrial applications. Now in the fifth generation of the Mullet family their continued commitment includes treating customers and employees like family. To view the selection of ADA grab bars visit their website.

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