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Laren 08-26-2010 05:38 PM

Grab bar for cast iron tub
I am needing to attach a grab bar to one of those stand alone cast iron tubs. Not on the wall of the bathroom, but on the lip of the tub itself. I suppose it would have to be a clamp on grab bar that somehow fits over the lip. This is for an older person. I haven't been able to find any that would seem to work. Does anyone know of one?

I suppose an option would be to attach a standard grab bar by drilling into the lip of the tub. Any suggestions on how to do this - would a regular steel bit work? Of course this grab bar would have to be very strong and secure.

thanks in advance for any help!

Nestor_Kelebay 08-27-2010 01:02 AM

OK, when my dad was having trouble getting into and out of the tub, we looked for grab bars at the places listed under "Medical Supplies" in the yellow pages. Those places would also know of all the stores that sell stuff for "Assissted Living" as well.

I recall seeing grab bars that clamped onto the outside of an enameled steel bathtub. I see no reason why you couldn't put a 4X4 block of wood under that clamp to clamp it onto the side of a stand alone cast iron bath tub.

I'd take a look at grab bars of this design:

and see if you can't put a block of wood on the outside of the tub to attach it securely.

Laren 08-28-2010 12:39 PM

Thank you Nestor, very useful reply. I haven't been able to come up with a better solution than the one you suggested.

Nestor_Kelebay 08-28-2010 04:01 PM


Yeah, but I agree it's not a very good solution.

I've given this problem some though, and I'm wondering if you couldn't actually MAKE a decent grab bar using 2 inch thick wall PVC pipe.

What I'm thinking is to take two 1 foot long piece of 3 inch diameter PVC pipe and cement them into the ends of a 3 X 2 X 3 inch PVC Tee. Do that twice so that you have two identical assemblies.

Now, take those assemblies down to any lumberyard that has a table saw and cut a wide slot in each of those assemblies so that each one can be slipped onto the side of the tub with the 2 inch port on the tee pointing either straight up.

Now make up the grab bar itself using 2 inch diameter thick wall PVC pipe and a pair of 90 degree elbows. The bar would then fit into the 2 inch ports on the side assemblies and would reach across the tub.

You could leave the assemblies at the side of the tub in place, and just put the cross bar in when required.

PVC isn't as strong as steel, but it's plenty sturdy enough to help an unsteady person get in and out of a bathtub.

Laren 08-28-2010 04:57 PM

Nestor - after reading your suggestion about 20 times I think I have got the picture of what you are suggesting. It's not a bad idea actually and definitely on an interesting track. But how would the two large assemblies stay put? Even with the cross piece in I would not feel secure enough without it being actually firmly attached somehow. But how?
Also in my specific application I am putting these bars in many tubs in a hotel. All are stand alone cast iron tubs. Ideally the bars would not extend across the tub but be on one side. So your solution would work for one specific instance of an older person needing such a thing. But in this case the tub will be used by young and old.
I really am reluctant regarding the (my) idea of drilling through a cast iron tub lip. Shavings all over the place etc and these tubs are pretty thick.
More food for thought, eh?

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