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For Boomers & Their Aging Parents

Design: Grab Bars

Grab Bars.  Just those two little words send people running.  For some reason there is a stigma attached
to this very practical product. My older clients think grab bars are a mark of infirmity.  My younger
clients think they don't yet need them.  Truth is, all grab bars do is provide something solid to hold onto should your shower or tub floor get slippery.  Grab bars are a much safer alternative to the bars on your glass shower doors or the ceramic towel bars mounted in most bathtub/shower configurations.  If you
had to grab one of those shower door bars to keep yourself from falling, you'd most likely pull the door
onto yourself.  If you grabbed the standard wall-mounted ceramic towel bar, you'd pull it out
of the wall.  Neither scenario is a particularly pleasant one.
Maybe the aversion to grab bars results from the fact that the ones we mostly find in the local building supply stores are institutional looking: stainless steel, rounded and thick.  There are actually a number of new grab bar choices that can more stylishly integrate into your home design.
Let's start with color.  Grab bars now come in a range of colors including black, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, tan and white.   There's nothing institutional about these bars:
Not only does a colored bar liven up the bathroom and offer some design opportunities, when placing a colored bar on a contrasting wall these bars can also be seen more easily by anyone who is visually impaired.
Next there are numerous finishes, in addition to polished chrome, to match the existing hardware in your bathroom.
Don't like the straight bars?  There are some interesting shapes to choose from. 
This grab bar folds back to the wall
And also varied functional combinations.
Here's a circular grab bar with an integrated soap dish
Here the grab bar has an attached towel bar
Remember though, that a grab bar is only as good as its' installation.  If not installed properly, it will
give you no more security than that shower door handle or ceramic towel bar.  There are special anchors
that can be used to mount a grab bar on a wall that does not have proper blocking.  Look for WingIts®, recognized as one of the world's strongest fasteners, which can be found in your local building supply
store or online.  These fasteners allow for grab bar placement virtually anywhere and can be installed through drywall, tile, acrylic or fiberglass tub surrounds.  The nice part is that these anchors eliminate
the need to tear open and reconstruct walls and substantially reduce the cost of proper grab bar installation.
 Susan Luxenberg
  HomeSmart LLC

1 Comment to Design: Grab Bars:

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