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I would like to install a shower grab bar into my tiled shower. I would like it very secure and so found some studs (using a magnet to pick up drywall screws). The studs do not line up with the ideal spot for the grab bar, but the closest one is not too far away, so I decided to put it there.

The problem is that this stud is located right at the edge of the tile wall. The tile surface is about 8.5mm (5/16") away from the wall. I would like to make an 8.5mm thick spacer to support the portion of the grab bar that is off the tile. That will make the surface flush and then I will use (much) longer screws to mount the grab bar to the stud. Since the holes in a grab bar are usually in a triangle pattern, I think I will only be able to get one screw into the stud on each side of the bar.

Is this going to end in disaster, with the grab bar pulling out of the wall when I really need it? My thinking is no, since even one screw into a stud is quite strong. How do pros do it when there are no studs behind the desired spot? Can you ever get more than one screw of the grab bar into a stud?

Stud positions on tiled wall: Stud positions on tiled wall

Thickness of tile. Drywall screw visible showing stud location: Tile thickness and drywall screw location

Proposed spacer idea (front view): Sketch of front view spacer idea

Proposed spacer idea (side view): Sketch of side view spacer idea

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    You could put it with a diagonal orientation to use both studs, but of course only if that makes the bar practical to use. Sometimes a diagonal bar is more user-friendly, sometimes not. The person who will use it should be in the loop. Also, can you access the inside of the drywall from the other side?
    – bobflux
    Jul 1, 2022 at 16:35
  • Screws can go in at an angle to hit the stud/s, if they miss the studs by going in straight.
    – crip659
    Jul 1, 2022 at 16:50
  • Depending what is on the other side of that tile wall, it might better beef up a support plate where you really want the support/grab to go. Plain painted drywall much nicer to repair than tiles.
    – crip659
    Jul 1, 2022 at 17:28
  • @bobflux, good point. The person using it would prefer vertical. Even with diagonal, I would still have to use that stud at the edge as one of the studs though, correct?
    – Greggo243
    Jul 1, 2022 at 23:18
  • @crip659, I can access the other side of the wall, so that is an option. Would just prefer not to add drywall repair + paint to list of jobs since I've never done it. But maybe there's no choice.
    – Greggo243
    Jul 1, 2022 at 23:21

2 Answers 2

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Do you have access to the wall from the backside? Somehow, you need to get framing into the proper position especially considering that you are mounting a grab bar. I assume mounting horizontally from stud to stud is not an option due to the fact it will probably look bad and allow water to escape?

If you insecurely mount a grab bar then your result will not be much better than this post: How can I fix a towel bar pulled from the wall?

I don't care how carefully you think you will use that grab bar, that's not the point, the point is that it must save you in the inevitable event that you do not use it carefully.

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  • You're 100% right, which is why I want to mount into a stud. There is a bedroom behind the wall, so I could get to the other side, but was trying to keep that as a last resort since I've never done drywall + paint repair.
    – Greggo243
    Jul 1, 2022 at 23:26
  • The stud I marked in the picture is ok position-wise so the bar will be secure since 1-2 screws on each side will go into the stud. The surfaces are just offset, which is what I was trying to solve.
    – Greggo243
    Jul 1, 2022 at 23:32
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First make sure the Stud marked on the right is a Stud and not water pipe. It should be 16 or 24 inches in between the studs.

Second: only one of the screws will have good grip (in the stud), the other 2 screws will need strong drywall anchors.

Usually the tile walls have horizontals between the Studs to avoid flexing off the wall. The tiles should be mounted over backer-boards.

For safety and functionality consider mounting the grab bar between the studs, horizontal or at an angle.

stud

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  • Didn't know that tile walls have horizontals. I'll have to see if I can find them here. Maybe I can use them as mounting points.
    – Greggo243
    Jul 1, 2022 at 23:35
  • My home has them, because the drywall is flexing to much
    – Ruskes
    Jul 2, 2022 at 0:41

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