Installing Grab Bars on Tile Wall Without Studs (No Studs / Hollow Walls):
This grab bar installation guide will walk you through how to install grab bars on tile walls without wood studs, also known as “hollow walls”. Installing grab bars on tiled walls (ceramic, marble, granite, and porcelain) can be very difficult due to drilling through the tough surface material. Additionally, installing grab bars without fastening directly into studs requires specialty hollow wall anchoring devices. Follow this guide carefully and be sure that you have the proper tools (such as our diamond tip drill bits for proper drilling and our toggle anchor bolts for hollow wall anchoring).
Our grab bars come with a pack of six (6) #10 x 2-1/2 inch wood screws. (If the grab bar has 3 mounting locations, then there will be nine (9) screws supplied).
Grab bars are only as strong as the strength and rigidity of the material to which they are mounted and the strength of the anchoring device that they are secured to.
When drilling into wall, excercise extreme care to avoid any electrical wiring or plumbing that may be located behind the wall. Older homes may not always fall in line with current housing codes and requirements. Make sure to verify where internal wiring is located in the wall so that no wires will interfere with the installation. Damaged electrical wiring can cause electric shock and fire.
Proper installation is extremely important. If in any doubt, stop and contact a qualified grab bar installation professional.
Before Installing the Grab Bar:
Remove the grab bar (with included screw pack) from the package. The screw pack will be inside the plastic bag with the grab bar.
Move grab bar flange covers away from the holes and tape them to the bar in a position away from the mounting ends.
Determine your preferred grab bar placement location depending on the best ergonometric way to enter, use, and exit the shower, bathtub, or toilet – read our grab bar placement guides.
You can place the grab bar vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
Based on where you have chosen to place the grab bar, with the loose grab bar in your hand, position the grab bar over the surface of the tile wall where you intend to install it.
With a pencil in one hand and the grab bar in the other hand, press the grab bar flanges against the wall on your desired mounting location and mark the centers of the mounting holes on the one end. These are the points where you will later drill holes through the tile with the diamond tip drill bit. We recommend two holes for each mounting point, meaning, you will only need 4 anchors per grab bar.
Be sure to use painters tape before applying the pencil marks. This layer of painters tape will prevent pencil marks and scratches during drilling into the wall surface.
Drilling Holes Into Tiled Wall with Diamond Drill Bit:
Use a power drill with a 1/2-inch diamond tip drill bit to drill holes through the tile wall at the marked positions. Two (2) holes for each mounting point.
Intended Uses of Diamond Drill Bit:
Only use this drill bit on ceramic, marble, granite, porcelain, or fiberglass surfaces.
Only use this drill bit on surfaces 1/2″ thick or less.
Do not use this drill bit on concrete or metal – it will bend or snap.
Start drilling at a 45-degree angle and slowly adjust to 90 degrees as the bit starts to cut into the material.
Water lubrication is required.
Reduce drill speed. Drill slowly!
Reduce drill pressure against the surface. Apply low pressure!!
Installing Grab Bar Anchoring Devices into Hollow Wall:
Once the 1/2″ holes have been drilled through the tile, you can begin the process of inserting the toggler wall anchoring devices (2 per mounting point, 4 per grab bar).
Hold the metal channel flat alongside plastic straps & slide channel through the hole. Minimum clearance behind wall: only 1-7/8”
Hold ends of straps together between thumb & forefinger and pull toward you until channel rests behind wall. Ratchet cap along straps with other hand until flange of cap is flush with wall.
Place thumb between straps at wall. Push thumb side to side, snapping off straps level with flange of cap.
Place the grab bar on the wall, aligning mounting holes with the toggler anchoring devices that are installed into the wall.
Apply a bead of silicone sealant on the back of the mounting flange before inserting and tightening the bolts, as it helps prevent water damage behind the wall surface. This is crticial when installing grab bars in a shower or bath environment where water can get behind the grab bar flange and create rust.
Insert the bolts provided (one end at a time) and tighten until snug against the wall.
Repeat prior steps for opposite end of the grab bar.
Once both ends are secured to the wall, fasten both ends tightly and carefully until both ends of the grab bar are snug against the wall.
Move the flange cover plates over the mounting holes and align the cover’s locking tabs to the slots on the flange, push in twoards the wall, and twist approximatley 15 degrees clockwise until locked in place.
If being installed in a shower/bath environment, use generous amounts of silicone sealant around the the exterior of the flange cover as it is secured to the wall. Leave a tiny bit of the perimeter at the bottom uncovered so that water can drain from behind the cover if it were to be penetrated.