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The all-inclusive guide to grab rails and bars in the bathroom

10 May 2017

Grab rails and grab bars are a great fall prevention addition to any bath or shower room as they help enhance balance and are often used as a stability aid in a wet and high risk area of the home.

Irrespective of any amount of core adaptation work, grab rails should be a careful consideration within their own right where the aim of the project is to increase safety and aid ease of use.

Extremely versatile in use and application, which is often wrongly overlooked in the design and planning stage, grab rails come with a variety of uses, in a number of different styles & appearances. Each unique variation allows them to be installed in several locations further offering specific advantages and benefits to the individual user which will be discussed further in this week’s helpful article.

The correct positioning of grab rails is important to ensure they provide the right support in the necessary location. The ideal position will depend on your own wants, needs and requirements which will also influence the type and style of rail to be used.

Firstly there are straight horizontal grab rails which are used and installed where a push support is necessary; typically in an area where seating and standing movement is required, like getting on (push support getting down) and off (push support getting up) the toilet – a drop down rail is great here.


Secondly you have straight vertical grab rails which are perfect where a pulling movement is required. Similar to the above these can be installed in a location where you would prefer to pull yourself up rather than push, perhaps in an area where you need support getting up and out of a wheelchair or even entry / exit into the bathroom itself if you are confronted with a step.


Thirdly you have inclined grab rails which are also straight but installed on a slant and provide a combination of half vertical & half horizontal benefits as they can be used to aid with a pushing and pulling movement.


Finally you have fully ‘right’ angled grab bars which are an enhanced version of the above and allow / cater for a full push and full pull requirement. Both variations provide forearm support to aid up and down movement whereas purely horizontal or vertical require support from the wrist, which depending on condition could be weakened and unable to take the additional weight.


If you take anything from the above make sure it’s understanding the importance of communicating your unique problem areas & requirements before choosing a specific solution.

Establishing where you struggle and what you struggle with should be the primary focus to any bathroom adaptation work, and this continues to be relevant when choosing additional safety features & finishing touches, like the selection and installation of grab rails.

Once you have the requirements in order to can start to explore the various styles which can transform a safe looking suite into an easy on the eye solution. To name a few you have:

  • Polished Chrome - most attractive but increasingly slippy when in use / wet - also come in wavey design for extra style
  • Plastic Finish - more clinical looking however warm to touch and hard wearing
  • Slip Resistant - ultra safe thanks to a coated surface however maybe uncomfortable if you have sensitive hands when gripping
  • High contrast – bright & fluorescent colours, perfect for those who suffer a visual impairment or conditions like dementia.

As mentioned above, because of their versatility, grab rails should not be deemed as an added extra. It’s important in the design and planning stage to establish where additional support is required so it can be planned into the design ensuring everything within the installation fits perfectly and works in harmony, ensuring a safe and practical solution that works for today, tomorrow and many years to come.

More Ability, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires leading and most experienced bath & shower room specialist for all types of stylish, safe & practical and bespoke solutions. Offering a fully project managed design & installation service we pride ourselves on meeting individual wants, needs and aspirational requirements for both the public & private sector.

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