Standard Heights for a Handicap Grab Bar

When you're retrofitting a bathroom for someone who is disabled, installing grab bars is important.

Toilet

Grab bars around the toilet, bathtub and shower will help to prevent a fall. The Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008, sets accessibility standards for all public and commercial areas. Although you don't have to comply with this law if you're just retrofitting your home, these are good standards to follow, as they've been well researched.

You should install grab bars behind and alongside the toilet. The Americans With Disabilities Act specifies that grab bars around the toilet should be 33 to 36 inches off the floor. If your toilet isn't enclosed, consider installing a grab bar that mounts on the floor and wall on the side of the toilet that's open.

Shower Stall

A shower stall for someone who is disabled should be open to allow easy access, especially if the user has a wheelchair. Install at least two grab bars. They should be 33 to 36 inches off the floor. An alternative is one horizontal bar and another vertical bar. The shower should also have a seat.

Bathtub

Likewise, a bathtub should have at least one wall-mounted grab bar so that the user can easily enter and exit the tub. The grab bar should be 33 to 36 inches off the bottom of the tub.

Bar Lengths

The bar mounted behind a toilet should be at least 36 inches in length, while the bars mounted at the sides of the toilet should be at least 42 inches long. Shower stall bars should be at least 18 inches long. In a bathtub, the bars should be at least 24 inches long.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.