How to Install a Handicap Shower Rail
It is important to install hand rails inside any handicap shower. Shower floors can become very slippery once they have been used, and bars or rails can be essential in preventing a person from slipping over and hurting themselves. Grab bars or rails can also be useful for those with limited mobility, as they can be useful in climbing over even low thresholds, or helping to support someone standing upright. Installing a grip rail in a handicap shower room is a good idea even when the person is relatively mobile, as it can serve as an insurance in case mobility decreases (as in arthritis, for example), or provide assistance in leaving the shower once it has been used. The position of the rail is vital in protecting the user, and tight fittings can also help to ensure that the rail works well.
In order to find the best position for your handicap shower rail, it is a good idea for the person with the disability to test it out for themselves. If you are installing the rail for your own use, remember that you will need to place it in a convenient place, so that you can grab it quickly if you slip. An ideal place to position the rail is between the shower head support and the shower controls. There is usually space there for a rail, but don't position it too high up, as it can be dangerous.
Once you know where the rail should go, you should decide upon the type of material the rail should be made from. Rails can be made with wood finish, in metal, or of PVC. Metal is a traditional handicap shower rail material, but it can cause problems in a shower room, as it is liable to become slippery. A disabled person slipping in the shower is likely to have wet hands, so this is something to look out for. Wood is less likely to become soapy, as it can absorb water, but there is the risk of mold and wood rot building up. The disabled person should, of course, be allowed to choose whatever material he would like.
The fittings are vital when installing a handicap shower rail. The fittings are designed to prevent the rail from moving during use, and also to take great pressure should the disabled person need to support themselves upon it. Fittings should be used with extra-long screws, in order to ensure that they are firmly attached to the walls, and the installer should check regularly that the rail is not working itself loose. Shower rails should be placed at a level height, to prevent sliding, and the fittings should be made from water-resistant metals and other elements. A shower rail that is intended to pull a disabled person across the threshold should also be glued firmly to the wall, to make doubly sure that there is no separation of wall and rail while it is being used.