How to install a grab bar without drilling in a bathroom

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A: It is possible to install grab bars in a Corian-lined shower, as long as the installer uses a stud finder to make sure the screws go into the studs. But stud finders are imperfect tools that could trick a DIYer into drilling where there is no stud; a drill bit could also slip and leave a deep scratch in the Corian.

No-drill grab bars of the type you purchased are a great alternative. Some use a suction cup to hang on the wall. While these can work when a shower wall is flat, depending on suction to hold for a long time is risky. The type you purchased has an adhesive mounting system which is much better. Not only is there no need for bulky vacuum fittings, these adhesive-mounted bars also meet consumer and ADA safety standards for grab bars that hold up to 250 pounds. They’re even removable, usually without damaging the wall, although you’ll have to buy a pair of new mounting pads if you want to reinstall a bar elsewhere.

The Home Depot sells a 10-inch sticky bar from Draad, the brand you purchased, for $125.45. The same mounting system is used with the 18-inch Gripp bar, which Home Depot sells for $99.

Any reasonably handy person should be able to install one of these on their own, or you might be able to put together a list of repair tasks that would justify someone coming to your house for half a day. or a full day. This task alone is probably too quick to justify hiring someone for it alone.

If you go to the Home Depot website and search for any of these products, you’ll find a link to installation instructions, complete with pictures. The website nodrillingrequired.com has additional tips, a link to an how-to video, and a system that lets people buy bars in different styles and lengths.

The ingenious mounting system is named “nie wieder bohren” (never drill again) for the German company that bought the patent and uses lowercase letters in its name. Manufacturers had tried using adhesives before, but to cure the adhesive needs access to air during a long curing process. This system solves these problems by introducing an adaptive layer that holds the adhesive and allows air access while the adhesive cures. A temporary adhesive strip holds the mounting plate to the wall while the adhesive cures.

To install the bars, first clean the shower wall using a wipe included in the package. You then loosely screw the nuts that hold an adapter plate to each of the mounting plates at the ends of the bar, remove the protective cover over an adhesive ring on the back of each plate and press the assembly against the wall . Since both mounting plates are attached to the bar at this point, there is no risk of the plates aligning incorrectly. Then you unscrew the nuts and remove the bar, leaving the mounting plates and their adapter plates on the wall.

To glue them in place, use the small tubes of glue included in the packaging. There are two holes: one for pressing the adhesive and another as a sort of window that allows you to see when the space between the adapter and the mounting plate is full. When adhesive is visible in this second hole, stop filling. Add glue to the other adapter and to the mounting plate in the same way. Wait 24 hours without putting pressure on the plates, then reinstall the bar, tighten the nuts and press the end covers into place. The bar is then ready for use.

If you need to disassemble the bar, loosen the end caps and use an adjustable wrench to twist the mounting plate and adapter in a circular motion until they come loose. Then scrape off the glue residue with a scraper. On rough surfaces you may need to scrub with acetone or silicone remover.

Grab bars make bathing much safer. Probably the most effective, especially if you have to step into a tub, is a vertical bar, usually 18 to 24 inches long, installed near the outside edge of the tub, with the bottom 32 to 38 inches above the floor . If no children use the shower, a shorter rod may be suitable. Tie it where you would naturally grab it. A horizontal bar directly above the shower valve, under the shower head, can also be useful.

If you or others are bathing in the tub, you will need a grab bar or two on the back wall. Install one at an angle, starting 6 to 10 inches above the tub and rising at an angle of about 45 degrees from the shower. Or install two: a horizontal bar about 12 inches from the rim of the tub and a vertical bar near the end of that wall, farthest from the shower head.

A problem at home? Send your questions to localliving@washpost.com. Put “How To” in the subject line, tell us where you live, and try to include a photo.

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