In this blog, we will introduce you to grab rails as a disability aid, the types of grab rails, its uses and how you can choose the right grab rail based on your needs.
What are Grab rails?
Grab rails also known as grab bars are disability aids that are used in the bathing, showering and toileting areas.
Grab rails provide the extra support that a user might need to sit, rise and to stand for an elongated period of time. This can be because the user has weak leg muscles or knee problems, dizziness or shortness of breath and balance problems due to nerve damage or other medical issues.
There are many different types of grab rails available in the market and it might get confusing for a first-time buyer to decide which grab rail is the best fit for the user.
Here are some main considerations that a user needs to take into account while selecting a grab rail for their bath or toilet area.
What are the different types of Grab rails?
Straight Grab Rails: Straight grab rails can be installed either vertically or horizontally based on the user’s needs. There are two brackets at either end of the bar that can be fixed on the wall using screws.
Angular Grab Rails: Come in either a 45 degree or a 90-degree angle and allow for better grip while sitting and while transitioning from a sitting to a standing position.
Foldable Grab Rails: Can be installed on either side of the toilet and can be folded when not in use to allow for better circulation space in the toileting area.
What is the build material of the Grab rail?
Grab rails are generally built with stainless steel and PVC plastic. The build material is the main determinant for the weight-bearing capacity of a grab rail.
What are the Installation Options for Grab rails?
Grab rails can be installed using a screw on a bracket on either side and can also come with suction cups. Grab rails with suction cups are not recommended to take the full body weight of a person.
What sizes does the Grab Rail come in?
When it comes to sizes there are two things that need to be considered are the length and the diameter or thickness of the rail.
There lengths that a grab rail comes in start from 200mm going up to 900mm.
In terms of thickness or diameter, a grab bar can come in sizes ranging from 28 mm to 40 mm with 32 mm being the most common thickness.
Can you DIY or do you need a tradesperson to install a Grab Rail?
This depends on the material that has been used to build the grab rail. If the grab rail is made with metal then it is best a tradesperson fits it as it may require earthing.
What to look for when buying a Grab rail?
It is very important that a user looks at the following points prior to purchasing a grab rail or a grab bar:
- The measurement of the wall where the grab rail needs to be installed.
- The construction material of the wall i.e.is it a gyprock wall with studs or is it a concrete wall.
- The diameter and texture of the grab rail, since grab rails come in a range of sizes in terms of diameter and texture, therefore, it is important that a user actually tests a grab rail prior to purchasing one. Generally speaking, a user should feel comfortable and should have a firm grip on the grab rail
- The weight-bearing capacity of the grab rail, every grab rail or grab bar has a weight-bearing capacity and it is important that a user checks this prior to purchasing a grab rail.
- Can you do a DIY installation or do you need a tradesperson to come in an install the grab rail?
- Added or extended functionality can be another consideration as grab rails now come fitted with LED lights that can be used as night lights or with towel holders, shelving and toilet paper holders.