Why Bobrick is the New Black

mfg-bobrickBobrick is a 100+ year old company that is a leader in the commercial bathroom accessories and toilet dividers market. By default, many planners and architects specify Bobrick products for their commercial bathroom projects. As the gold standard in the industry, they are the go to for bathroom accessories and toilet dividers in the U.S., Canada, and 85 international markets. Bobrick has strategically strengthened their hold on the market with their purchases of Koala Kare Products and GAMCO to cement their dominance in Division 10 bathroom accessories. Integrating Koala Kare Products into the Bobrick family of companies expanded Bobrick’s reach into the childcare accessories segment of the Division 10 commercial bathroom accessories market. Koala Kare Products’ high quality baby changing stations, child booster seats, diaper dispensers, and high chairs are a perfect complement to Bobrick bathroom accessories. Bobrick ‘s purchase of GAMCO not only opened up the lower end of the Division 10 bathroom accessories market to the company, but also gave them access to an established custom fabricator of stainless steel grab bars and stainless steel bathroom accessories with an assortment of plated and powder coated finishes. Bobrick’s dominance in the commercial bathroom accessories and toilet dividers market is unquestioned; but, these two strategic purchases make them a much more formidable force and a bigger draw for customer’s looking for a single source for high quality toilet dividers, bathroom accessories, and childcare accessories.

Bobrick’s potential for saving you time and money can be best described in a simple scenario. Say your company is charged with completing a fairly large bathroom renovation for a local university’s dormitories. They need bathroom accessories, toilet dividers, hand and hair dryers, baby changing stations for public bathrooms in the buildings lower level, and one bathroom will have all accessories plated in polished brass. To make the scenario even more complicated, the building also has two very large locker rooms that will require combination shower & dressing dividers and ADA shower dividers will need ADA compliant shower seats and grab bars. That sounds like a tall order and could be pretty daunting if you have to go to one manufacturer for bathroom accessories, a separate manufacturer for bathroom accessories plated in the finish you need, a third manufacturer for baby changing stations, and yet another supplier for toilet dividers and shower & dressing dividers. Take all those requirements and roll them up into a single quote request to a Bobrick dealer. You’ll have a complete quote for everything you need, a healthy discount for purchasing from one supplier, and your entire order delivered in one shipment. Working with the Bobrick family of companies means efficiency and cost savings in sourcing of materials for your project.

How To Install a Shower Seat Without Screws

988.76.499Installing a shower seat without screws makes the process considerably easier; but, is it a feasible prospect? Actually, it is and I will tell you the secret. There are two different types of shower seats that can be used that do not require screws: HEWI and PBA Hanging Shower Seats and Freestanding Shower Seats. TA DA! You probably weren’t expecting that were you? Just a little curve ball. HEWI Hanging Shower Seats and PBA Hanging Shower Seats are useful when you already have grab bars installed in your bath tub or shower area and you want to add seating for a disabled or elderly user. Properly installed grab bars can support upwards of 600 lbs. so the addition of a HEWI or PBA Hanging Shower Seat will not pose an issue. HEWI and PBA Hanging Shower Seats are only available in nylon which will be more comfortable for your user; but, will be much pricier than stainless steel. If considering HEWI or PBA Hanging Shower Seats for your project, make absolutely sure to budget properly so you don’t lose your shirt.

If a HEWI or PBA Hanging Shower Seat are not really your speed, but you still want a shower seat that can be used without a screw mount installation, then you can opt for a freestanding shower seat such as a HEWI LifeSystem Shower Stool or Bradley Solid Phenolic Bariatric Shower Seat. HEWI LifeSystem Shower Stools and Bradley Solid Phenolic Bariatric Shower Seats are simply placed on the floor in your shower or bath tub area for use. HEWI LifeSystem Shower Stools and Bradley Solid Phenolic Bariatric Shower Seats are provided with non slip feet to prevent injury in the shower. Only minor assembly is required to attach the legs to the seat. If you can assemble an IKEA side table, you can assemble a freestanding shower seat.

How to Select the Right Stainless Steel Grab Bar Flange

Showergrabbar800Choosing a flange for your stainless steel grab bar is not a difficult decision to make, nor is there necessarily a right or wrong flange to select; but, there are a few options that you should be aware of before making your final decision. The two most common flange types for stainless steel grab bars (and the two we list on our website) are the round concealed snap flange and the round exposed flange. The most obvious difference between these two stainless steel grab bar flanges is the appearance of the screw heads used to install them. Exposed flanges leave the screw heads exposed whereas concealed snap flanges come with a stainless cover to hide the screws. For some customers, visible screw heads are not an important consideration and the money saved by selecting exposed screws is worthwhile. The majority of customers, however, want a clean look with the screw heads concealed on their stainless steel grab bars. Whichever camp you fall into will determine which flange type you’ll select for your grab bar.

Aside from the common stainless steel grab bar flange types, there are the oval concealed snap flange, the oval exposed flange, and round concealed flange with tenon plate. The oval flanges are self explanatory and best used on narrow studs or posts or for decorative purposes; but, the flange you may not be familiar with is the round concealed flange with tenon plate. This flange comes in two pieces. There is a tenon plate that will mount directly to the wall with two screws. Once the tenon plate is installed, the stainless steel grab bar with flange cover is locked to the tenon plate with a set screw. This flange type is more relevant for installation in security areas or where vandalism would be an issue and security screws are not used for installation. The choice of flange type is not an option for stainless steel swing grab bars since they use a rectangular or square mounting plate for their installation.

Reinforced Toilet Divider Panels for Grab Bar Installation

2StallsIC2LReinforced toilet divider panels offer necessary support for panel mounted toilet grab bars. Not all ADA toilet compartments will have the ideal setup with the toilet situated in a corner with existing walls to the side and rear of the toilet. In ADA toilet divider stallADA toilet divider stall set ups where the toilet divider stalls are freestanding or the toilet is situated closest to the divider panel and not the wall, the grab bar will need to be installed on the divider panel. For such situations, you will need internal reinforcement in the panel to facilitate installation of the grab bar. This internal reinforcement provides a clean look and strong support for installation of the grab bar. Internal reinforcement is only available for newly constructed toilet divider panels; but, there is also a retrofit option for grab bar reinforcement on the toilet divider panel.

If you have existing toilet divider panels in your restroom that you would like to mount grab bars onto, you will need a retrofit plate for installation of the grab bar. This will require that you drill one or three holes (depending on which retrofit plate you use) through the divider panel. Once the grab bar is screwed in place, it will be secure on the divider panel and ready for use. There will be a visible mounting plate in the neighboring stall; however, vandalism will not be an issue. Grab Bar reinforcement, both internal and retrofit, is only available for Baked Enamel or Stainless Steel Divider panels. As an alternative, you can also opt for a wall to floor mounted grab bar next to the toilet. Check with your local inspector first to make sure this meets ADA requirements in your area. There are overarching Federal guidelines for ADA compliant spaces, but localities can and do make modifications that are more stringent.

Stainless Steel Bath Tub Grab Bars

SONY DSCStainless Steel Bath Tub Grab Bars offer unique designs for support around residential bath tubs. Sometimes, standard straight grab bars are not sufficient around a bath tub. If you have a bath tub situated in the middle of your bathroom or your bath tub only meets one wall on its narrow end, other options would be needed for support around the bath tub. Stainless Steel Bath Tub Grab Bars are designed in some common configurations that can be fabricated on demand. Designs for Stainless Steel Bath Tub Grab Bars that mount on two walls, mount on the wall and the floor, or even mount on two walls and the floor are potential choices for stainless steel bath tub grab bar users. Besides standard designs, users can also configure their own stainless steel bath tub grab bar. No one knows the habits and comfort level of the user of the stainless steel bath tub grab bar better than they do. If the standard designs are not sufficient for the user’s personal taste, a custom stainless steel grab bar can be designed that will be a perfect fit around the bath tub.

Stainless Steel Bath Tub Grab Bars whether in the standard designs or a user designed custom configuration are available with a 1 ¼” or 1 ½” diameter. The standard finish for stainless steel bath tub grab bars is brushed satin stainless steel; but, powder coated paint colors or highly polished stainless steel are also finish options. Highly intricate or extremely large stainless steel bath tub grab bar designs can be restricted to the brushed satin stainless steel finish if they are too large to finish in other colors or polishes. Stainless Steel Bath Tub Grab Bar installation is no different than installation of stainless steel toilet grab bars and the Wingit Grab Bar anchors can be used on stainless steel bath tub grab bar flanges that do not meet a stud or blocking behind the wall.

How to Choose A Grab Bar Diameter

GB004x800The diameter of a grab bar is important when choosing which size you want to install in your toilet compartment or residential bathroom; however, some purchasers do not know which size is best. Let’s begin by detailing the diameters available for grab bars. Stainless Steel Grab Bars are available in 1”, 1-1/4”, and 1-1/2” diameters whereas Nylon Grab Bars are available in 1-5/16” for HEWI and 1-7/16” for PBA. For the sake of argument, and for simplicity of explaining the different diameters, the HEWI Nylon Grab Bars will fall into the 1-1/4” diameter faction and the PBA Nylon Grab Bars will fall into the 1-1/2” diameter faction. Now, to tell you that grab bar diameter choice falls to personal preference is a little too simplistic. Especially when considering an ADA Compliant Toilet Compartment that will be used by many different people of varied tastes in grab bar diameters. First, you must be aware that ADA guidelines require a minimum 1-1/4” grab bar diameter for use in commercial ADA compliant spaces. That means the special 1” diameter grab bars, which are only available in stainless steel mind you, can only be used for non-regulated residential uses. I say non-regulated because while elderly or disabled individuals may live in a nursing home, the resident bathrooms must still comply with ADA guidelines. Your personal bathroom in your home or condo can utilize a smaller 1” diameter grab bar if desired.

Team 1-1/4” diameter and Team 1-1/2” diameter each have their benefits. The 1-1/4” diameter is a great option for users with smaller hands, particularly in ADA Compliant Toilet Compartments in elementary schools or where children are the primary users. 1-1/2” diameter grab bars are not only more comfortable for those with larger hands, but also for those who cannot tightly grasp the grab bar because of arthritis or other hand related maladies. A 1-1/2” grab bar provides more surface area for the hand to grab reducing strain on joints. The ¼” difference between the two grab bar diameters may seem irrelevant, but holding each of the grab bars makes very clear how different they are. By default, most commercial purchasers select the 1-1/2” diameter grab bar which is perfectly fine. It is ADA compliant and will appeal to many users; but, taking into consideration the majority of users of the grab bars you will be installing and their taste preference does not hurt either.

ADA Toilet Compartments: The Two Types You Need To Know

OverheadMount6handileftADA toilet compartments for disabled users are required in commercial restrooms, but you may not know that there are two types of ADA toilet compartments. The most common type is the Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartment. Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments measure 60”W X 60”D and have a 32” or 36” outswing door. The 36”outswing door is most common and preferable to provide ample room for disabled wheelchair users to enter the ADA toilet compartment. Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments can also come in larger dimensions that are called ADA Alcove Toilet Compartments. These toilet compartments measure 96”W or more and 60” deep. Because these larger ADA Alcove Toilet Compartments have more than the required 60” diameter turning radius for wheelchair operation, the toilet compartment door can swing into the toilet compartment and remain ADA compliant. Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments require a 36” grab bar mounted horizontally on the rear wall above the water closet (that’s the formal word for toilet) and a 42” grab bar mounted horizontally on the wall or panel closest to the water closet. In some cases an 18” grab bar mounted vertically above the 42” grab bar is required, but check with your local inspector to verify this. Installing it anyway will not negatively impact your ADA compliance and will provide an additional gripping surface for disabled users. In large restrooms, it is recommended that two Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartments are installed to accommodate left handed and right handed users.

The second type of ADA toilet compartment is the Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment. This toilet compartment type is a foreign concept to some purchasers. The Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment is meant to accommodate those who utilize a cane or crutches in order to support themselves while they walk. Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartments measure 35” – 37”W and 60”D with an outswing 32” door. Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartments require two 42” grab bars mounted horizontally on each side of the water closet. The Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment is required in restrooms with 6 or more water closets or with a combination of 6 or more water closets and urinals. For example, in a Men’s Restroom with two water closets and four urinals (an odd set up, but we’ll go with it for the sake of this example) you will need one Wheelchair Accessible ADA Toilet Compartment and one Ambulatory ADA Toilet Compartment. When dealing with ADA compliance, always ask for clarification or assistance when needed. Failing to adhere to ADA guidelines can be very costly not to mention inconveniencing disabled patrons.