Asked on Sep 16, 2016

The safety bar in the bathtub/shower has pulled out of the fiberglass

Karen L Johnson
by Karen L Johnson
Is there a glue/plug/simple way to make it safe and secure again?
The metal bar that holds back bottles of wash, wash cloth, and gives me a hand up.
  24 answers
  • Justin Justin on Sep 18, 2016
    The best way is to open the wall from the adjoining room that shares the bath wall. Once it has been opened up you will have to install some 2x6 blocking such that I'd thouches the fibreglass panel of your bathtub. Then you can reattached the grab bar from the bathroom side into the blocking. After that, you will have to patch and paint the whole in the drywall...
  • Jr1012 Jr1012 on Sep 18, 2016
    unfortunately that bar is NOT A SAFETY BAR. If you don't believe this check the manufacturers web site. Justin is right that to repair the tub you must access the back. The bar can be fitted into the holes and a fiberglass repair kit (available at any automotive shop) can be used to secure it. If you need a safety bar buy one , find the best spot in the tub for it and secure using either 2X6 or 3/4 plywood backing. If the fiberglass touches the wall studs secure blocks to the studs, if not secure to fiberglass using the repair kit to bond the wood to the fiberglass. You could also get a clamp on bar for the front lip of the tub and stick the acrylic bar back in using silicone to adhere it and waterproof the holes. Not as good a solution but if access to the back is not available tan the only one
  • Paul F Smith Paul F Smith on Sep 18, 2016
    I believe that both Justin and Jroy are very handy and skilled people. However, their solutions require a repair from a professional if you don't have the skills. If you don't have the personal skills, I suggest you replace the tub with proper safety bars. Otherwise, you are repairing a compromised safety device with little reassurance. Plus, the cost of a professional repair is likely to be higher than the cost of a new tub.
    • See 2 previous
    • Jr1012 Jr1012 on Feb 14, 2020

      Note the use of all capitals emphasizing THIS IS NOT A SAFETY BAR and refer to it as a washcloth holder

  • Sue Salego Richards Sue Salego Richards on Sep 18, 2016
    My shower bar pulled out of the opening too. I pushed the bar back in the openings and I sealed it up with white caulking. You still have to be careful with it but it keeps the water from getting into the openings and leaking in the wall.
    • Cathy Cathy on Oct 30, 2023

      Just regular caulk that you would use to caulk the tub? Mine is broken and there is a hole around the bar. I still have one of the plastic pieces and I would like to paint the surround but I want to fix the hole first.

  • Brenda Brenda on Sep 18, 2016
    I would call a bath place and ask them.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Sep 18, 2016
    If you truly need this for security, you do not want to DIY. I am now handicapped and have fallen in tub a few times and once laid for over two hours before I could get up, very scary event.
  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Sep 18, 2016
    There is a company called bath fitters Check these people. They can do a complete tub cover and wall cover at same time. They can also install grab bars while they are there. OR As Jroy1012 said replace the one you broke using silicone to waterproof the holes. Then get a grab bar with suction. After reading over several types, the best looks like I'm certain medical warehouses, that sell locally to handicap, would have just what you need.
  • William William on Sep 18, 2016
    As a former Maintenance Tech at a nursing home, I installed many grab bars. Jroy is correct. THAT IS NOT A GRAB BAR! You snap it back in the openings and seal it with caulk. If you need a grab bar and are capable , you can install it yourself or hire someone to install one. You can get referrals where you buy them. ***** *****
  • Comet Comet on Sep 18, 2016
    IF you are counting on these to HELP you if you grab them while slipping---they will NOT. They are not made TO do that. They are just for a handhold and a little security when getting your footing getting in and out. For a REAL GRAB BAR you will need to go thru the vinyl surround of the tub and into the STUDS; you can buy these bars at LOWES or other stores in different sizes and finishes and then caulk around the screw ends under the decorative cover ends. I am an amputee and have one in the tub wall (above the tub level of course!) and one just outside the tub mounted vertically on a short piece of wall---this is actually super handy for all. Next to the toilet I have another grab bar . At an elderly relatives house we did not have the room to put a regular -grab bar next to her shower so we used a large "barn door" type handle (hard ware store for about $3) screwed into the STUD. I also have these placed on my outside stair case newel post and by my front door--gives me a better chance to balance and also to grab the door handle and push or pull. If you look around there are a lot of creative ways to make our homes safer---including making those too-high or too awkward steps or thresh holds easier to use; I took 2"x12" boards and cut them to span my bottom porch step to make it the same height as the other steps; and ditto for the entrance into my house which was higher than I was comfortable with---it's high because we get so much snow here--but just placing a board on the porch outside makes it SO much easier! I now have several boards of the same size cut 18" long that live in my van--I have used them for hotel entries; friends house steps---with 4 of these I can stack to almost any height so I can walk up. Things you would never think of if you did NOT have a handicap!!!
    • Liz Liz on Sep 18, 2016
      Thank you for so many wonderful ideas!! Simple and creative, too. People don't think about these things until something happens to their mobility. I suddenly became aware of all this when I developed arthritis in my knees. One of my biggest problems is stairs that don't have handrails. To make shopping and 'antiquing' more fun and less painful to my knees, my husband got me a 3 wheel power scooter that has chargeable batteries. It's wonderful! It has a basket, a horn, a water bottle holder, & even a holder for a flag or an umbrella. Some of my friends say they are "too embarrassed" to use a scooter, or a folding wheel chair, or even the handicap scooters that stores provide. So they just stay home or limp around, wincing with painful knees. I think it's wise to put up safety bars (in studs), get a power scooter or electric stair lift for inside stairs or whatever you need for safety and comfort. When we're out shopping, so many people stop and tell me their knees or legs are hurting them and they wish they had a power scooter. They ask where they can order one like mine. I don't feel embarrassed at all. It's wise to admit to ourselves when we need a "little help" to stay active and enjoy life, unlike my poor sister who has had 5 knee replacements and insists on limping along wearing flip flops rather than supportive shoes. (Pride goes before a fall.......she recently fell wearing those flip flops and broke several bones in her foot.)
  • IFortuna IFortuna on Sep 18, 2016
    Please do not use suction cup grab bars. Ours came loose and it could have been a disaster. ========== I would not try to repair your tub surround with the hope of using it again as a grab bar. Any repair of this will more than likely *not* hold. ========= Get a new surround and have metal grab bars installed into the beams. (The broken one has probably leaked water for more problems.) This is very important as the beam will hold weight well. These must be checked periodically for looseness and loose screws.==========Hubby installed two new metal grab bars into the beams. He does a lot of this kind of work so I recommend a professional installation. It is worth it rather than paying medical bills or worse due to a fall. : )
    • Liz Liz on Sep 18, 2016
      Wonderful advice! Thanks so much for writing this.
  • Kathy Bitzan Kathy Bitzan on Sep 18, 2016
    I found nice bars at a garage sale for three dollars each. Had them installed in a stud. One is outside my entry door where I have stairs. The others are in bathroom. My son did the installation. It will save my towel bar from coming off the wall. Good luck.
  • Michelle Michelle on Sep 18, 2016
    Get a can of spray insulation and spray inside holes. Don't overfill it will expand a lot! Then slide the bar back in. Center it and calk around holes with silicone shower calking. Let sit at least overnight.
  • Jeff Jeff on Sep 18, 2016
    If you're confident drilling holes in fiberglass (could splinter/break) go to your local big box store and pick up a package of "togglers" (Item # 105343). You basically drill a 1/2" hole, push the toggler through, cinch the plastic ring tight to your surround, and install the screw through your bar. However, please be aware that this bar is NOT a grab bar. If you want a grab bar please have one professionally installed.
  • Helen Helen on Sep 18, 2016
    I would say that probably it was not installed properly.
  • Saf11448781 Saf11448781 on Sep 18, 2016
    There is no way that a grab bar can be made safe by just drilling holes and re-installing into fiberglass. You must find the studs behind the fiberglass and fasten the grab bars into them at both ends (a stud finder can help with this). If the grab bar is not the right length to fasten into two studs, you can angle it slightly to make the ends of it match the center of the studs, or just buy new grab bars. In this case, it's not worth it to "cheap it" and risk someone sustaining a severe injury in case the grab bar pulls out again.
  • Kaioverbeck Kaioverbeck on Sep 18, 2016
    I had my fancy shower holder pull out of the fiberglass; I see no way to install another in the same manner. I had to cover the hole with a patch of duck tape, so water would not get in the hole. Tacky, but what is the choice?
  • Lorn Lorn on Sep 18, 2016
    You must say something screw into a stud in the wall....loren i
  • Anna Anna on Sep 18, 2016
    First you have to realize that that item is not really a grab bar. It is for hanging a washcloth. I real grab bar must be anchored into wall studs.
  • Laura B Kimball/Pullar Laura B Kimball/Pullar on Sep 18, 2016
    One thing that worked for us was taking a 2x4 as long as the bar. we used Molly bolts to secure it to the wall, finding a stud is very helpful but not necessary. We than attached the bar to the 2x4 with very long drywall screws. We haven't had any problems as of yet.
  • We had a hole in our shower and we covered it up with a fiber glass patch and fiber glass resin (Bondo brand). We couldn't find resin that matched exactly the color of our shower so you can see where it was, but at least it's covered so water doesn't get in the hole.
  • Sheila D Sheila D on Sep 19, 2016
    Might have to to have fiberglass holes professionally repaired and find new stud location and reattach. Make sure no water gets behind the wall or you will have a real problem.
  • Sbr31463954 Sbr31463954 on Oct 25, 2017

    I have a similar problem. The bar became loose and the plastic pieces holding it in place started breaking. Where can I find replacement parts for these 2 plastic pieces? Or can I buy plastic covers / silicone plugs and disregard the bar?

    • Robin Robin on Dec 30, 2017

      we have the same problem, I just want to plug the holes.

  • Frank Provasek Frank Provasek on Oct 18, 2019

    Fix without removing the unit