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Old 12-06-2019, 01:57 PM   #1
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Handicap thoughts

My wife and I recently bought a 2020 Arctic Wolf 3660 suite. My wife is handicap and Im looking for thoughts or suggestions for handrails or grab bars on the outer wall. Please pm me pics if your in the same boat. Thanks in advance
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:44 AM   #2
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I would be concerned with how exterior mounted grab bars and hand rails are mounted. Would screws hold the weight of the person using them or would they need to be mounted with bolts and nuts through walls and into the interior walls. Locating pipes, utilities and wiring behind the walls would be another mounting concern.
I would recommend finding the studs behind the walls and attaching the grab bars to them with stainless screws and seal the area with caulk.
You might also consider using an aluminum "furring strip" on the exterior wall and then install the bar or hand rail to the strip.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:10 AM   #3
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You might want to clarify you are attaching to the interior or exterior side of these exterior walls. In any case the need to connect to the studs is critical. You may need to drill and probe to locate these studs.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:15 AM   #4
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I started to post here the other day but then noticed the OP asked specifically for pm's with pics. That stopped me since I don't have any pics to back up what I want to say.

Like CCWoody, I would like to know exactly where the grab bars are needed - outside on an exterior wall or on the inside of an exterior wall. Attachment method might/could/would vary depending on the answer. ADA rules and most building codes (that I am aware of) require grab bars to withstand 300 lbs of sheer. That sounds like overkill for a 150 lb or less person, I know, but the physics of leveraging can creep up to bite you on the butt quickly. I've seen it happen.

I don't think the thin gauge aluminum studs in an RV would adequately support a grab bar - - - unless, as some of the higher end mfgs. do, the stud is stuffed with a wood core. That would be the first thing I would try to find out. If all you have is a hollow, thin gauge stud I would ignore them and try some sort of sandwich construction. That thin gauge aluminum doesn't hold screws worth a damn when any real pressure is put on them.

Another problem with trying to use a stud is the physical shape and layout of the stud and grab bar. They probably make them but I've never seen a grab bar with anything but a circular mounting flange. The mounting holes in the flange are evenly spaced around the flange - - every 120. You would never get more than one mounting screw to locate over a stud and even then you most probably would never be lucky enough for the other end of the grab bar to land over another stud.

If the grab bar is outside I would finish a piece of wood (at least 1/2" and proper length & width - proper length would be the same length as the grab bar plus 4-5 inches) to match decor and epoxy it in the proper location on the wall, then thru drill holes and attach with stainless sex bolts. Bed the exteriors with butyl rubber and/or good caulk. If the wood strip was along the entire wall it would look like a chair rail and most people would probably think it was OEM.

If the grab bars are inside I would use the same method - - the grab bar would attach on top of the finished wood strip - - but, personally, I would add a 1/8 - 3/16 inch thick metal band/strip (to match the size of the inside wood piece) to help distribute the load. The metal could be painted to match the coach. If the metal band wasn't wanted, at the very minimum, I would use large stainless fender washers on the outside side of the project. Don't forget, if the grab bar is inside, any weight put on it will be putting tremendous pressure on the head of the screw on the outside, at the other end. You want to spread that pressure to the surrounding area as much as possible.

This sandwich approach spreads any loads over a much, much larger area and uses the entire wall to support the grab bars. If it were my wife I wouldn't want her grab bar come to off in her hand and her falling and hurting herself.
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