Interior Bathrooms Bathroom Design

Who Installs Grab Bars for Seniors? The Pro to Call—And When to Reconsider DIYing

Installing grab bars is a simple fix to make a home more accessible for older adults. Hire the right person when you’re looking for who installs grab bars for seniors.
Melissa Graham Avatar
A close up of a person holding onto grab bars in a bathroom.


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What You Need to Know

  • In many cases, a handyperson or a home disability retrofit contractor can install grab bars for seniors.
  • Professionals will be familiar with ADA guidelines on where grab bars should be installed for the safety of older adults.
  • Grab bar installation is an affordable project, costing $40 to $400 depending on the location of the bars and how many are being installed.
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Q: I’m looking to put in grab bars in my bathroom to provide extra support for my parents and grandparents when they come to visit. Who installs grab bars for seniors? Is this something I can do myself, or should I hire someone? 

A: If you’re an experienced DIYer, you may be just the person who can install grab bars for seniors. However, if you’ve never mounted anything to the floor or wall and have doubts about your capabilities, it may be worth it to enlist the help of an expert handyman who installs grab bars for seniors. They’ll be able to recommend specific grab bars that will suit not only your bathroom but also the needs of the seniors who come to visit or stay at your home. The guide below provides a comprehensive look at not only the little details, such as ADA grab bar height, but also how much it costs to have grab bars installed and what type of grab bars are available.

A handyperson can install grab bars in most cases.

When it’s time to put some safety measures in place, a local handyperson can install grab bars for a toilet or shower to ensure older members of the household aren’t at risk of slipping or falling. No license is needed to install grab bars, but a handyperson will need specific tools and materials, such as a stud finder or wall anchors, to make sure the bar is securely in place. They will likely know what distance to put the bar from the shower or toilet and the best way to install it without damaging the walls.

A homeowner can also contact a home disability retrofit contractor to install bathroom grab bars. These professionals specialize in equipping homes with multiple kinds of accessibility measures targeted toward older adults or people who have disabilities.

Grab bars can be beneficial next to toilets, sinks, or showers and in the shower or tub. 

A limited range of mobility can make maneuvering around a slippery shower or getting up from a low toilet hazardous. Accidents can be prevented by installing grab bars in convenient locations that make moving around in tight quarters more manageable. It’s important to know not only the correct grab bar height, but also what type of bars work best. In some cases, homeowners may find that they need handicap rails near the toilet along with safety bars for showers. Straight grab bars are the least expensive at $20 to $100. More complex models, like a trapeze grab bar that has an overhead handle, can cost as much as $85 to $450. To figure out which type of grab bar is needed, it may be wise to consult a local contractor who is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant who can look at the space and recommend the appropriate accessibility features.

A close up of grab bars surrounding a toilet.

Grab bars can be installed in multiple configurations depending on preference and mobility needs. 

Pictures of grab bars in showers and by toilets can be helpful in determining how they should be installed. For example, if just a single grab bar is needed near a toilet in a powder room, a homeowner may be able to install a straight grab bar on the wall nearest the toilet. Or, if the wall is too far from the toilet, they could opt for a single floor-to-ceiling grab bar. If an older adult or someone with limited mobility lives in the home, support in the shower may be required as well.

Grab bars don’t have to be obvious or eyesores. Adjustable slide grab bars attached to a showerhead may look less bulky but still provide necessary support. No matter how the bathroom is set up and what the needs are, multiple styles and endless configurations of grab bars exist.

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Grab bars can be wall-mounted, folding, or freestanding.

Limited mobility products come in all shapes and sizes, depending on a home’s specific needs. Grab bars, for example, can be mounted directly to the studs in the wall (or through anchors if there’s not a stud). Freestanding grab bars attach to the toilet or to the floor for added support when moving from standing to sitting or vice versa.

Folding grab bars can be moved out of the way when they’re not needed, or the height can be adjusted to be more convenient for different users These bars are also called flip-up or flip-down grab bars and can be mounted to the wall or the floor.

A close up of grab bars around a toilet in a blue tiled bathroom.

There are specific guidelines when installing grab bars to make a bathroom ADA-compliant. 

If a homeowner wants to ensure the safety of older adults in their home, they can look to the ADA for guidelines on best practices. For grab bars, the ADA specifies that support must be available next to a toilet, so people can get on and off safely, and that the grab bars must have an outside diameter that measures from 1¼ to 2 inches. Any gaps between grab bars and nearby objects must be at least 12 inches wide, and grab bars should not spin, have sharp edges, or be made of hazardous grip material. The grab bars a homeowner installs should also support weights up to 250 pounds, according to the ADA.

The cost of installing new grab bars is similar to the cost of replacing old ones. 

For labor and materials, homeowners are likely to pay anywhere from $40 to $400 to install bathroom grab bars for the elderly, depending on how many and the type of bars that need to be installed. The more shower grab bars installed, the more a homeowner could end up spending, and the same goes for grab bars for toilets. If a homeowner is installing grab bars in a fiberglass shower, the expected cost may be between $150 to $600. Grab bars for showers on tile walls typically cost less to install. The difference in cost to replace current bars or put new ones in is only about $25.