What are grab bars made of?
Grab bars are available in many material types including:
- Stainless Steel grab bars are the most frequently used grab bars, with 95% market share. They are waterproof, fully rust resistant, and very durable.
- Plastic grab bars generally have a steel or aluminum tubing core for support, but are coated in a plastic or slip resistant material.
- Aluminum grab bars have an aluminum core. These types of grab bars are rarely used but are available depending on preference.
- Brass grab bars are a higher end material type, mainly selected for aesthetic purposes.
- Wood grab bars are typically made from real teak wood. Teak grab bars are water and humidity resistant, elegant, and durable. Teak wood grab bars are not nearly as popular as a result of the higher price point.
What is the most popular grab bar material?
Although grab bars are available in a variety of materials and finishes, most are made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is the most popular grab bar material choice for the following reasons:
- Full water contact: The material will not rust or corrode over time when exposed to high humidity or direct water contact (when properly cared for). This is the reason why most shower grab bars and bathroom grab bars are stainless steel.
- Low Cost: No other material compares to the life cycle costing of stainless steel, which takes into account not only the initial cost but subsequent maintenance, repair and replacement.
- Vandalism resistant: The material is extremely hard, strong, and will stand up well to vandalism and high use.
- Classic beauty: Stainless steel adds a clean, modern, upscale design to any installation.
How are grab bars fabricated?
Technically speaking, grab bars are made of type #304 stainless steel 18-gauge hollow tubing in various tubing diameters. The material contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel (and is referred to as 18-8 stainless). Grab bar flanges are also made of #304 stainless steel. Each grab bar comes in a protective plastic bag to prevent scrapes during transit.
Straight (non-bended) stainless steel tubes in various diameters are run through a metal tube bending machine. The machine will bend and precisely cut the tube based on the grab bar length specified. The stainless steel flange is then welded to the tubing with a continuous concealed bead and then ground smooth and polished.