Installing the grab bars and glass doors
I had been working on the project for the best part of three weeks and it was coming together very nicely. The major work was complete and all that was left was to install the grab bars, shampoo holder and a wooden seat on the far end along with the sliding glass doors.
I had made a plan of the layout of the studs in the bath area so that I could use them to affix the grab bars. Needless to say, they didn’t work out distance wise so I had to resort to using a special fastener called a Secure Mount Fastener made by Moehn, the grab bar manufacturers especially for just such occurrences. I had to buy a special 1 1/4 inch hole saw bit that cost me almost $40 but it turned out to be well worth the cost as I ended up drilling 8 holes per bathroom. It drilled through the tiles leaving a hole just big enough for the fastener to slip through. Then by the pull of a special plastic link, the whole thing unfolded behind the wall leaving a very secure unit in which to screw the grab bars. In the case of the drilling actually hitting on a stud, a couple of long screws quickly affixed the unit to the wall.
I had been using the second bathroom while mine was out of commission and decided that it would be a good idea to install grab bars in this one at the same time. This after nearly tripping upon entering it one morning made up my mind for me. So, I used the same techniques and the exact same measurements and set two grab bars and a shampoo holder into the second bathroom.
Now both the shower and the bath have grab bars and shampoo holders and if I have to use the second one again for any reason, I will certainly feel much safer.
It took a week for the sliding glass doors to come in and then one evening, I received an e-mail telling me that it was in and ready for pick up. It was 9:30 in the evening when I drove back to Home Depot and they loaded out this large box that contained the glass doors. I had been doing some checking on the web and according to the Home Depot web site, there were supposed to be three boxes which I mentioned to the store clerk. Somehow, she convinced me I was wrong and as the box said 1 of 1, I drove home. The next day I opened the box, which by the way was so heavy that I couldn’t lift it and had to drag it around to get it to where I wanted it. Needless to say, it was missing the other two boxes just as I had read on the web site. I called Home Depot and they were full of apologies and that the boxes were in the store. I jumped into my car and drove back to Sunset Valley and grabbed the other two boxes. The staff were very apologetic as the same two people were working the counter. I wasn’t annoyed or put out. They must have caught me on a good day…
Following the directions, I very carefully installed the hardware just as I was supposed to with the two side tracks first. They too required drilling through the tile but with a much smaller bit and things went according to plan. I installed the bottom rail and then finally the top rail. Then came the heavy part. The glass sliding doors were already pre-drilled and I installed the hardware on them. The tricky part was to pick up the doors and hang them onto the top rail which I managed to do with a lot of grunting and groaning. Luckily, I did not have to make any adjustments so only had to lift them up one time. Those things were heavy, more so because of the awkwardness in being able to handle them.
I had some caulking to do around the frame and by adding the door handles and a couple of guides, the project was finally finished. The next morning I tested it out and took a shower in the comparative luxury of a walk in unit. I was not sure what to expect when I turned the valve as it had never been tested for hot and cold but water came out as it should and I was able to adjust the temperature at the same time, making a mental note of the position of the handle to know where to place it in the future.
All in all, it was a good project to work on. I was able to figure out the plumbing and the drains which from my perspective, were the hardest part. Above all, it looks good and very modern and is definitely much safer than me stepping over the bath sides to take a shower.
Plus, I saved myself $10,500 dollars by doing it myself. You can’t beat that…