Bathroom safety rails can be extremely dangerous when improperly installed. If you call your neighborhood "super" in the building or handyman the chances are they will be improperly installed.
The tiled walls next to the tub vary in construction. Very old walls will be wood-and-lath and long wood screws must be used to secure the rail to a vertical wooden beam. Finding such a support invariably involves removing and perhaps replacing several tiles.
More modern walls are constructed of cement board, and the rail should be attached with what is called a "toggle bolt" or a molly. Such a bolt is illustrated.
The tile must be marked, then removed and drilled. You need an awl to make a scratch (making a light tap) breaking the glazed surface. Then a special tile drill with water lubricant. You will need a tube of industrial adhesive and a dispenser to re-secure the tile. Not tile grout.
Remove the tile and drill it. Then drill an appropriate hole in the cement board large enough for the toggle.
Now use industrial adhesive on the back of the tile after inserting the toggle bolt. You may need washers.
Remember you need bolts for both ends of the rail.
Now insert the sandwich and the toggle bolts. You have about five minutes before the industrial adhesive will set.
Tighten the toggle bolts securing the rail and tile against the wall. Wipe off squeezed out adhesive.
For cosmetic purposes you may need some tile grout. Use the water soluble kind from a squeeze tube.
Now you have a rail that will NOT pull out and cause your loved one to end up with a fractured skull.
If you hire someone to do this supervise in person and insure they follow this procedure.
thanks I am fixing to have them installed in my bath room. I will make sure they know what they are doing. I was worrying about putting them into the tile. I don't want to mess the tiles up. wehad a plumber last week for a leak in our kitchen. we asked him about it and he said he had special tools and they would not damage the tiles. he is young. hope he is right. we have spent a lot of money lately on my nieces medical bills and got to hold off a while. thank you again. mandy876
The way I do it is to drill the tile while it is on the wall. I place the fixture against the wall and tape it with duct tape. Then use a sharpie to pinpoint the place to drill. I use a sharp awl to make an indentation in the glazed surface. Then a cement drill using water lubrication. Then remove it because the hole for the toggle bolt is larger. Many modern bathrooms use cement board around the tub and ordinary plasterboard in other areas of the bathroom. It depends on the builder. When assembled I use industrial adhesive between the tile and the fixture. Be advised that many places (Home Depot) sell the rails without toggle bolts (they provide screw fasteners). The toggle bolts nhave to be purchased separately. Thus we have two holes of different diameters. A larger one for the toggle. A smaller one for the bolt. And check to see that you don't need a small washer between the bolt and the top of the flange. You may have a minor aesthetic issue using a washer, but you will have a safer rail. The tile probably won't be damaged. If so, you can purchase single tiles for replacement.
If your fixture has been installed using only the screws supplied it does not necessarily mean it will be dangerous. It is simply a matter of "best practice". My experience took place when the super of a building installed a bar for a Parkinson's patient. The patient would experience complete loss of the ability to stand and fall. Plus the patient was quite heavy. The entire bar pulled out, the patient fell, and did, in fact fracture his skull. What happened was that the installer used a ceramic bit in the drill and when the tile was penetrated, continued to drill through the cement board. Thus, the screws had no purchase, because the resultant hole was too large. In addition the tile itself was not properly secured to the wall. If youuse the screws alone you need TWO drill bits. A large one for the tile the diameter of the screw threads and a smaller drill for a pilot hole. If you don't use a pilot hole the screw will act as a drill grinding through the cement board. Putting a dab of industrial cement or epoxy on the interface between the flange and the tile ensures you also have the strength of the tile cement. If you decide to use a toggle bolt you don't have to use one on all holes. Two will suffice. The easiest was to enlarge the hole for the toggle is not with a drill but a small rat-tail file. This way the hole will not be too big.
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