Grab Bars Installation Cost

The cost of installing grab bars is around $140‚Äč.

In this guide

Installation
ADA grab bars
Horizontal vs. vertical grab bars
Choosing length
Installation location
Installation process
New installation vs. replacement
Labor
Materials needed
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQs

How much does it cost to install grab bars?

With many people focusing on universal design and creating homes that people can age in, grab bars are becoming a popular addition to many bathroom designs. Grab bars serve a few purposes within the bathroom. They can assist in lowering a person onto a toilet seat or shower bench, assist in transfer from a wheelchair or walker to a shower or bath, or can help prevent slips and falls by catching someone’s weight as they go down. Nearly everyone can benefit from the addition of grab bars to the bathroom, particularly in wet areas such as the shower, but those who are aging in place and those with a mobility-based disability will find them to be particularly useful. They’re often recommended for homes being designed around universal guidelines, and for adaptive bathrooms. The average household typically installs three grab bars, for a cost of around $140.

Installation

While bathroom accessories such as towel holders can be put in DIY, grab bars require professional installation whenever possible. This is due to the fact that the bar must support the weight of the person using it, not only to assist in movement, but in the event of a fall. To achieve proper installation, the wall needs to either be reinforced to allow proper contact from all three screws on each side of the grab bar, or the studs must be hit exactly on either end. If the grab bar is not screwed directly into the studs and reinforced, then the weight of a falling person may tear the bar from the wall, resulting in injury.

ADA grab bars

Grab bars are necessary when designing or installing a bathroom to meet ADA guidelines and requirements. While grab bars themselves are not specifically required, they are extremely useful when meeting ADA guidelines in order to make the room ambulatory. For example, support must be necessary beside the toilet to assist in getting on and off. Grab bars make meeting this requirement easier by providing assistance and necessary support. The only stipulation the ADA requires in the use of grab bars is the type of bars themselves. Grab bars installed in an ADA compliant bathroom must have an outside diameter between 1-¼ and 2-inches, and the space between a grab bar and any projecting objects, such as a soap dispenser, must be at least 12-inches. Grab bars must not rotate, and must be free of sharp edges or hazardous grip material. They must also withstand a force of approximately 250 pounds each.

Horizontal vs. vertical grab bars

Grab bars are found in multiple lengths, positions, and configurations including horizontal, vertical, and bars which form an L-shape to move from one direction to another. In some cases, which you install will be personal preference. However, for areas that assist not in weight bearing, but in security, such as stepping over the curb in a shower, vertical bars are recommended, as they are easier to use for people who suffer from arthritis in their hands. Likewise, in areas where the bars must take someone’s weight, such as in a transfer situation, a horizontal bar is recommended. Most bathrooms will ultimately use a combination of the two, including L-shaped bars, which can assist in both ways.

Choosing length

Grab bars come in a variety of lengths, from a short 12-inches to 48-inch lengths. There are no set guidelines which dictate which length should be used in a given situation. Rather, the grab bar length you choose should ultimately be dictated by the area you are having it installed in, and the nature of the use. For example, a grab bar in the shower must be mounted at least 9-inches off the tub surface. If you are installing a vertical bar for assistance, it’s best to use a bar, which when located 9-inches off the tub is tall enough for you to comfortably grab. Likewise, when installing a horizontal bar along the wall, the bar should be long enough to grab from any position to assist in transfer or support.

Installation location

Grab bars can technically be installed anywhere in the bathroom that you may desire. However, when creating an ADA compliant bathroom, or attempting to make the room as accessible as possible, there are several areas where they should be installed including:

  • Next to sink areas.
  • Next to toilets.
  • A vertical bar beside the shower or tub.
  • Horizontal bars at varying heights within the shower or tub.
  • Diagonal bar within the tub.
  • Along any free wall area in wet areas where slips and falls may be common.

Depending on where you are installing the grab bar, some reinforcement of the surface may be necessary. For example, some people may have a vanity placed beside the toilet. It’s common to install a grab bar on the side of the vanity to assist in transfer. The wall of the vanity may need to be reinforced from inside with a piece of lumber to take the weight of the user. A handyman can do this usually for under $100, or you may find that the person installing the grab bars can reinforce as part of the project with the only costs being $10 in materials; always ask to find out.

Installation process

In most cases, the installation process is fairly straightforward. A drill is used to make the necessary holes, in some cases, anchor screws may be fitted into the hole before the grab bar is installed. In rare cases, if the grab bar is being installed in an area where there are no wall studs and not enough material for an anchor screw to be utilized, lumber may need to be placed behind the area in question, such as a bathroom vanity. The grab bar usually has three screws on each escutcheon, and the bar is screwed directly to the surface in question. While things like towel rails usually use a hidden screw system, grab bars must be screwed in directly, rather than hung, in order for them to support someone’s weight.

Grab bars can be installed on any surface or material. In the event of installation on tile or concrete, special diamond bits may be necessary for the drill.

New installation vs. replacement

There is little difference in the installation of grab bars from new installation to replacement. If replacing a set of existing grab bars with new ones, new holes may need to be drilled, or new anchors inserted if the new bars are of different lengths or sizes than the old bars. This may increase the total costs by about $25 for the project, otherwise, there is no difference installation.

Labor

In most cases, grab bars can be installed by a handyman, at a rate of around $60 an hour, with the job usually not taking more than one hour. Because grab bars are so simple to install, it’s usually cheaper to have multiples installed at once, rather than to put them in one at a time. For example, the cost to install one grab bar is usually around $85-$100, while the cost to install three is only around $140.

Materials needed

Materials necessary to install a grab bar include a drill, screw anchors, and the grab bars themselves. The cost of grab bars starts around $20 for an 18 inch bar. Larger bars and specialty finishes such as oil rubbed bronze or copper may increase the cost of the bars to around $50 a piece. Screw anchors may be included with the bars, otherwise, they cost around $10 for a pack of five.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • For areas where multiple grab bars are needed, or for persons who may need additional help in lifting and standing, a SuperPole from HealthCraft may be beneficial. This movable pole can be used to assist in transfer and standing from showers to toilets and can be moved from one area to another by simply cranking the jack. SuperPoles cost between $80 and $120 depending on the model.
  • In addition to grab bars, you may also want to invest in a shower chair to assist in transfer and safe use of the shower. The cost of a shower chair starts around $40.
  • Safety rails 1, which clip onto the side of a bathtub, may also be an alternative to grab bars. Safety rails 1 require no drilling and can be moved from one place to another. They help in transfer in and out of the tub safely. They are made to be put in place by the homeowner, and cost between $30 and $50 a piece.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Grab bars must have 1-½-inch clearance from the wall in order to be used successfully.
  • By purchasing the grab bars yourself, you may be able to save money over having your installer purchase them.
  • To get the best prices, try to find an installer in the late fall and early winter months when less construction is being done, and installers have more down time.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to install grab bars?

The typical cost of installing a single grab bar is between $80 and $100, however, the cost of installing multiple grab bars is usually cheaper per bar. For example, installing three bars is around $140.

  • What is the standard height for a shower grab bar?

The height of the shower grab bar is largely dictated by the user, with recommended heights being 33-36 inches off the floor.

  • What is the height of ADA grab bars?

ADA recommended grab bars can and should be installed at many heights, with guidelines suggesting heights of 9-11 inches off the tub and 33-36-inches off the floor.

  • Who can install shower grab bars?

Grab bars should be professionally installed; most handymen can make this installation.

  • What height should grab bars be installed?

Grab bar height should be determined by the area and user, however, guidelines recommend 9-11 inches off the tub and 33-36-inches off the floor.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Rails: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities

Cost to install grab bars varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Arlington, VA
+38%
Auburn, NY
-7%
Augusta, GA
-13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Boise, ID
-11%
Boston, MA
+40%
Brigantine, NJ
+29%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Chesapeake, VA
-6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Hauppauge, NY
+17%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Huntington Beach, CA
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Kelso, WA
-8%
Lithia, FL
+10%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lubbock, TX
-22%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Merrick, NY
+36%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Mobile, AL
-8%
New York, NY
+77%
Norfolk, VA
-6%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palm Bay, FL
-16%
Palm Coast, FL
-32%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Portland, OR
+11%
Richmond, TX
+63%
Riverside, CA
+13%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Staten Island, NY
+26%

Labor cost in your zip code

Methodology and sources