We need to install grab bars in the shower stall at my parents home. It is a typical shower bay that has no sheetrock behind it and there is a gap between the bay and the studs. Is there a way to install the grab bars so they are sturdy? We are concerned about putting the screw through the fiberglass and pushing it back into the stud. This could break the bay. Hope this makes sense. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Bobby ~ Andover, Minnesota
Bobby, you are correct in assuming that the fiberglass walls of your shower stall are not strong enough to support grab bars. Your shower grab bars will need to be securely anchored into the wall studs, which are located within the wall behind the shower stall. Yet, because of the space which is between the wall studs and the back of the fiberglass walls of the shower, you should not simply put a screw through the shower wall and into the wood stud. If you do this, you will most likely damage the walls of the shower. Therefore, you need to purchase a specialized mounting system which fills this void between the shower wall and the wood stud.
The Solid Mount grab bar anchoring system, which is available from a company called Adaptive Access, is one potential answer to your problem. This anchoring system is installed through the wall of the shower and allows you to connect the mounting brackets for the grab bars to the wall studs, while also filling the void between the back of the shower walls and the studs. If you research this product and don't feel that you can correctly install the anchoring system, then I suggest you hire a contractor who works in the Andover area to do it for you. Good luck with your project!