I am faced with an older construction home that has 4" sq. tile over concrete (like they did in the old days). What is the best type of anchor for a secure
hold? I prefer to drill the smallest holes consistent with safety. It may not be possible to locate the 3 holes on each end of the grab bar over a stud.
What's on the other side of the mud job? Siding? Brick? Unless it's brick there is no 'secure' method since everything with the exception of drilling into block, brick or stud is going to be relying on the mud job for structure.
I hate to say this but in this instance I buy handrails where the manufacturer supplies the fasteners. Properly installed this limits your liability.
Most of the time the cust. wants the bar in a particular location. You may be able to hit a stud with at least one screw by convincing them to move a few inches. If I can hit a stud, I'll go big and SS. Other than that stick to the manufactures instructions.
I bed the bases in 3M 5200. It seals out water and is one heck of an adhesive. Clean the area and part well with denatured alcohol, cleanup is mineral spirits and always a mess. Lots of rags.
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