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Powell3704
Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
Powell3704

I'm a homeowner and I need to install some grab bars on our fiberglass bathtub. However, there is no drywall behind the fiberglass tub enclosure. I'm worried that the fiberglass enclosure will crack under the strain even when using the Moen Secure anchor mount. Is there a way to mount grab bars and not have them crack the fiberglass?

A. Spruce
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
A. Spruce
Powell3704 wrote:

Is there a way to mount grab bars and not have them crack the fiberglass?

Yes, tear out the fiberglass tub, install blocking, then install something better than fiberglass for a shower surround.

Grab bars are only as secure as whatever you attach them to, if you've got nothing structural, then you have no choice but to open up the wall and make something structural. These new style "toggle" fasteners that grab bars are installed with are no different, while the toggle provides a larger area of attachment, it still needs a stable and sturdy substrate to remain secure.

dj1
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
dj1

If you read the instructions on those grab bars (at least the ones I've installed), it should say to attach them to studs or blocking only. Use no rust screws, long enough to reach the center of the framing member.

keith3267
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
keith3267

You need a stud finder. You can get one for less than $20. The grab bar will probably have to be angled in order to be attached to two studs or you can use a shorter grab bar and mount it vertically.

Short rant: Why do they manufacture grab bars in lengths that don't match the normal stud spacing? Seems kind of stupid to me.

Jack
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
Jack
A. Spruce
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
A. Spruce
keith3267 wrote:

Short rant: Why do they manufacture grab bars in lengths that don't match the normal stud spacing? Seems kind of stupid to me.

Because neither the ADA, who sets the specs on grab bar length, or the code writers, who set framing spacing and blocking requirements, have any common sense what-so-ever. What you end up with are bars too long for framing spacing and zero requirement for blocking to be installed in ALL bathroom applications.

JLMCDANIEL wrote:

You might consider these http://www.lowes.com/pd_337714-1471-SMA1005CH___

Jack

I still wouldn't use one of those on a fiberglass shower wall unless the fastener manufacturer recommend it.

dj1
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
dj1

" Short rant: Why do they manufacture grab bars in lengths that don't match the normal stud spacing? Seems kind of stupid to me "

According to ada (american disability act), it's more comfortable to hold a grab bar that is mounted in an angle, than one which is leveled. If you think about it, it true for some people.

I have installed then in upright position and in an angle as well, when there was no way to install a blocking between studs. In other instances, I opened walls and inserted blocking.

The Moen (and others) mounting kits may not support an adult, leading to possible injuries. Why take a chance? I wouldn't.

dj1
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
dj1

Quote: " Is there a way to mount grab bars and not have them crack the fiberglass?"

Drilling into fiberglass is possible.

A. Spruce
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
A. Spruce
dj1 wrote:

Quote: " Is there a way to mount grab bars and not have them crack the fiberglass?"

Drilling into fiberglass is possible.

Drilling isn't the question, it is whether or not the fiberglass itself will retain the fasteners without tearing out and failing, resulting in the user falling and severely injuring themselves, hence why I don't recommend affixing anything to a fiberglass shower wall.

Jack
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
Jack

Here's the specification from Moen which states it will work on fiberglass enclosures if it is either 1/8 or 1/4 inch for persons up to 300 lbs.
https://www.moen.com/shared/docs/product-specifications/sma1000sp.pdf

Jack

dj1
Re: Grab Bars On Fiberglass Tub Enclosure
dj1
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Here's the specification from Moen which states it will work on fiberglass enclosures if it is either 1/8 or 1/4 inch for persons up to 300 lbs.
https://www.moen.com/shared/docs/product-specifications/sma1000sp.pdf

Jack

Jack, I read the instructions and I'm still not sold, except where it says "stud installation". I also didn't see any warranty from Moen.

Frankly, how difficult is it to install backing/blocking from behind the wall? Easier than doing the Moen installation.

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