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 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.

How To Install ADA Grab Bars for Children

get-attachment.aspxWhen installing grab bars in a restroom for children, the mounting height will not be the same as a standard adult restroom. Single toilet rooms and ADA toilet compartments designed for children in preschools, elementary schools, and day care centers are scaled down for their smaller stature. Obviously, mounting a grab bar at 33” above the finished floor (aff), which is standard for adults, would be too high for small. ADA grab bar mounting heights for children are unique in that there are three grab bar mounting height ranges that correspond to the age and average height of the child. The ADA grab bar mounting heights are:

Ages 3 and 4: For children in this age range, the toilet is required to have a height of 11” – 12” and have a centerline of 12” from the side wall or panel closest to the toilet. The grab bars will be mounted between 18” – 20” aff.

Ages 5 through 8: For children in this age range, the toilet is required to have a height of 12” – 15” and have a centerline of 12” – 15” from the side wall or panel closest to the toilet. The grab bars will be mounted between 20” – 25” aff.

Ages 9 through 12: For children in this age range, the toilet is required to have a height of 15” – 17” and have a centerline of 15” – 18” from the side wall or panel closest to the toilet. The grab bars will be mounted between 25” – 27” aff.

These guidelines apply to stainless steel grab bars or nylon grab bars that are installed in an ADA compliant toilet compartment for children or an ADA compliant single toilet room for children. The type and quality of the grab bars do not need to change; however, a smaller diameter grab bar such as 1-1/4” would be recommended for smaller hands and is the minimum diameter permitted by ADA.

How To Improve Grab Bar Safety with Textured Safety Grips

Adding a textured grip to stainless steel grab bars will improve the safety of users when holding a stainless steel grab bar. Stainless steel grab bars when mounted properly on your wall or floor will support a substantial amount of weight; however, if the user cannot properly grip the grab bar because of its smooth surface, the weight capacity of the stainless steel grab bar is irrelevant. A textured grip on a stainless steel grab bar is particularly useful for the elderly or those that do not have a sufficiently strong grip for holding the stainless steel grab bar. There are a few different types of stainless steel textured grips to choose from, each with their own benefits.

Peened Safety Grip: The peened safety grip is the most common textured safety grip for stainless steel grab bars. The peened safety grip texture is similar to fine grit sandpaper. It’s not overly coarse, but it does improve the grip for stainless steel grab bar users.

Knurled Safety Grip: The knurled safety grip is a very coarse texture that is cut in a diamond pattern on the stainless steel grab bar. This safety grip type may be overly aggressive for sensitive hands, but provides a more effective grip for the stainless steel grab bar.

Ripple Grip Safety Grip: The ripple grip (aka Shur-Grip) safety grip has a look and texture similar to reptile scales. The texture of the ripple grip safety grip falls between the peened and knurled safety grips. It is not too aggressive for sensitive hands, but provides an effective gripping surface. The appearance of the ripple grip texture provides an attractive aesthetic for the stainless steel grab bar.

All three grab bar textures are available on Brushed Satin Stainless Steel Grab Bars, Polished Stainless Steel Grab Bars, Brass Plated Stainless Steel Grab Bars, and Powder Coated Stainless Steel Grab Bars. You will be able to have an improved, textured grip on your stainless steel grab bar no matter what finish or configuration you need. Textured finishes can also be used for stainless steel grab bars in ADA compliant restrooms and public spaces.