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Old 10-02-2009, 11:30 AM   #1
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Adding hand rail to tile shower


I am adding some tubular stainless hand rails to a ceramic tile shower. I would need to drill 3 holes at each end end for mounting. Are there any tricks besides getting the special carbide bit? How careful (slow) do I need to go to avoid breaking the tile? Should I use those plastic screw inserts, and is it essential that I hit a stud?

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Old 10-02-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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Adding hand rail to tile shower


I've got the same project in my near future. One thing I've read is that to avoid having the drill bit skitter all over the tile (and possibly scratch it) when you're starting the hole, put a piece of masking or painter's tape on the spot where you're going to drill, and drill through that. Haven't tried it; it's just something I read.

For a bar that someone might grab and put a lot of weight on, I would think it's important to hit a stud.

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Old 10-02-2009, 03:11 PM   #3
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Adding hand rail to tile shower


Yes you will need a ceramic tile bit. They are shaped like a pear at the tip. An most important you need to screw into studs if it is a grab bar.
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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Adding hand rail to tile shower


It's necessary to hit wood behind the wall. Problem with most bars is that they are not made to install horizontally in a retrofit as their lengths don't correspond to stud spacing. In order to hit a stud on each side, you would need to install the bar on an incline or vertically.
If you need to install it on the horizontal, you could open the back of the wall and install blocking.
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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Adding hand rail to tile shower


I recently added safety bars during my bathroom remodel. I found the tile easier to drill than I had thought - just have the right bit and take your time. Don't add much pressure to the drill - let the bit do the work.

You must anchor them to a stud or other secure framing. I added framing to mine as I had the walls open. Verticle is good and easy, if you have a stud pretty much where you need it. Horizontal is a problem... At a 45 degree angle can work and is good for both short and tall persons and services as a combination of horizontal and verticle, as I think it's a 24" bar that will land on two 16" spaced studs.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:33 AM   #6
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Adding hand rail to tile shower


The surface of the tile is a little irregular, so I was thinking of using some kind of pliable gasketing material. Otherwise, I am concerned that tightening the rigid metal bar against the tile might cause stressing and cracking. The mounting holes are spaced far enough apart that at least one at each end will not be over the stud. I'd expect those would just bite in the backer board using an insert, but would be a potential cause of uneven stressing.

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