Installing Folding Shower Seats
We find the typical shower wall surround to be a 2x4 wood stud frame, covered with gypsum drywall, tile board or plaster lath. The wall finish is typically ceramic tile. These materials alone are not adequate to support the seat unless
you can mount into existing wood blocking or studs
Adequate wall support is absolutely necessary!For new construction:
We suggest installing continuous 2 x 12 wood blocking between the
studs, starting from the floor plate up to at least 24 inches above the
shower floor.Remodeling an existing shower:
This can be more involved. If the shower backs
up to an interior wall, consider removing the wallboard and installing
the blocking from the backside. If not, it may be necessary to remove
and replace a portion of the existing shower wall tile.
If neither of the above options are possible the seat may be mounted into existing studs. Be aware, however, that this may lower the weight the seat can support. Some wall studs may be low quality, weakened by cracks or other unseen conditions.
Locate the wall studs to determine where to place the seat using one of these techniques:
- Run a stud finder along the wall until it detects a stud, and then mark the location with a fine point marker.
- Or make a hole in the grout line using a variable speed drill with a 1/8 inch masonry bit or glass and tile bit. If you don't hit a stud on the first try, bend a piece of stiff wire and insert it in the hole. Spin the wire left and right until it contacts a stud. Re-drill in the new spot, and you should hit the stud. Measure 16 inches from this point to find the second stud.
You may find that there is existing wood blocking, which is even better than the studs.
Mounting the folding shower seat is easy once the wood blocking is in place and the wall finish has been installed.
- Measure up from the floor and mark the height where you want to install the folding shower seat, normally 17-19 inches above the floor.
- Hold the folding shower seat against the tile with each end over
a stud, and mark the locations of the holes in the mounting brackets with a magic marker. (You may wish to make some supports by cutting some scrap wood as spacers to stand the folding shower seat
on. Or, use the paper template that some folding shower seats come with.)
- Use a punch and hammer to carefully nick the tile to prevent the drill bit from wondering. (Another alternative is to put masking tape on the spot. This will prevent the drill from skating over the slick surface and prevent the tile from shattering if you use a masonry bit.)
- Use a glass or tile drill bit, or a carbide masonry bit and drill through the tile. A bit that is a least 1/32 inch wider than your mounting screws will prevent the tiles from fracturing when you turn the screws. Mount the bit in a variable speed drill and start the bit at slow speed
to keep it from sliding off your mark. Apply light, even pressure as
you drill so you don't crack the tile. Drill only through the tile and
its backing. Then switch to a wood bit that's 1/16 inch narrower than
your screws, and drill pilot holes in the studs. All anchoring hardware must be carefully selected to insure proper installation. If it comes with plain steel or chrome plated screws, replace them with
stainless steel screws. Common steel and even chrome plated screws will
rust over time.
- Mount your new shower seat. Apply silicone caulk to the holes before you mount the brackets. This
keeps water from leaking behind the screws and damaging the backing
board under the tile. The silicone will also prevent any movement that
may work loose over time. Screw the folding shower seat to the wall. Tighten the screws firmly, but don't over tighten, or you could crack the tiles. Detailed instructions are included with your purchase.
- To patch a hole, shoot in a dab of silicone caulk, flatten it so it
doesn't protrude into the grout channel, and give it two to three hours
to dry. If you're using powdered grout instead of premixed, mix up a
small amount in the lid of a jar. A Popsicle stick makes a good
touch-up applicator its rounded edge nicely matches the concave shape
of most grout lines.
- Consider adding grab bars. Transferring someone from a wheelchair to the
tub is one of the most hazardous activities you may ever have to
attempt at home. Getting into the tub is also hazardous for
semi-ambulatory persons. To accommodate these individuals, your tub or
shower area must be carefully designed to provide maximum safety for a
We hope you enjoy the convenience of your new folding shower seat. If you have questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact us.