Installing Grab Bars in Commercial Bathrooms

Grab Bars
J. Rodriguez

Grab bars used on ADA-compliant bathrooms vary depending on the type of bathroom that you plan to remodel or build. Grab bars should not be replaced by towel bars because they are not designed to resist grip forces. The diameter of an ADA grab bar may be 1 ¼” or 1 ½” and the length should be sufficient enough to meet ADA requirements. The length of the ADA grab bar is measured from the center of one flange to the center of the other flange and adding the diameter of one flange.

Grab Bars in Commercial Bathrooms

Grab bars must be placed between 33 and 36 inches above finished floor. This measurement shall be to the top of the grab bar surface. However, if the bathroom is intended for children, the grab bar must be installed between 18 and 27 inches above finished floor.

Grab bars located inside wall shall be placed no more than 12 inches from the rear wall and shall be at least 42 inches long. When the grab bar is located at the rear wall, it shall be at least 36 inches long; extending at least 12 inches from the centerline of the water closet on one side and 24 inches minimum on the other side. Some exceptions apply, and further details shall be per ADA latest guidelines.

Grab Bars in Commercial Shower Stalls

When grab bars are installed in transfer type shower compartments, grab bars shall be installed across the control wall and back wall, at least 18 inches from the control wall.

On standard roll-in type shower compartments, grab bars shall be installed in the back wall and the wall across the provided seat. Grab bars shall not be provided above the seat. If a seat is not provided in the shower compartment, then grab bars shall be placed on all three walls.

EXCEPTION: A lavatory complying with 606 shall be permitted on one 30-inch (760 mm) wide minimum side of the clearance provided that it is not on the side of the clearance adjacent to the controls or, where provided, not on the side of the clearance adjacent to the shower seat.

Finally, when the shower compartment is an alternate roll-in type, grab bars shall be placed on the back wall and the farthest wall from the entry space. Grab bars shall not be provided above the seat. Grab bars shall not be required in a single occupant shower located in a private office. In residential units, grab bars shall are not required in showers in bathing facilities provided that reinforcement has been installed in walls and located so as to permit the installation of grab bars complying with 608.3.

Grab Bars in Commercial Tubs

When installing grab bars in bathtubs with permanent seats, two grab bars must be installed on the back wall. Each grab bar shall be installed no more than 15 inches from the head end wall and 12 inches maximum from the control end wall. A grab bar in the control wall at least 24 inches long, must be installed on the control end wall at the front edge of the bathtub.

When the bathtub doesn’t contain permanent seats two grab bars shall also be placed on the back wall but located no more than 24 inches from the head end wall and 12 inches maximum from the control end. A grab bar shall be installed on the control end wall at the front edge of the bathtub.