Grab rails are the perfect adaptation to make balancing, sitting or standing easier for anyone with reduced mobility or who needs a little help to stay steady on their feet.

Going to the bathroom, stepping up to a front door, or taking a walk around the garden can be a daunting experience for some. To overcome this, grab rails can be strategically placed both internally and externally to create safe and accessible spaces for everyone.

If you, or someone you care for, have been using radiators, a towel rail or door frames for additional support, it’s time to think about using grab rails instead to increase personal safety. 

Regular items aren’t designed or installed to take load-bearing weight. They could come loose from the wall and increase the risk of a fall and serious injury.

Plastic or metal, internal or external, there’s a range of grab rails to suit all budgets, styles and environments.

So which ones are best? 

Grab Rails

External Grab Rails

We’re all told to get outdoors more and benefit from the effects of breathing in fresh air and feeling the sun on our skin. But for some people, it’s not that simple and the transition from inside to outside can feel like a total minefield of obstacles to navigate. External grab rails will help to make things easier.

Whether you’re placing a rail beside a door, alongside a path or next to some steps, the main thing to consider is that they need to be weatherproof. Specifically waterproof and slip-resistant.

Plastic fluted grab rails are a practical and durable option for outdoor use. 

They feel warm to touch and have indentations along their length to provide a better grip for wet hands. They come in different lengths and are installed using fixing plates screwed directly into a wall at whatever height is required. Making them a reliable and sturdy option for placing by a door with a single step.

Metal handrails are a great addition to paths, ramps and steps to help prevent slips and trips and provide people with a little extra support. To prevent them from rusting in wet weather, they need to be galvanised or powder-coated, and extra grip and comfort can be included with the addition of a durable rubber coating. When fixed into the ground, concrete is used for complete structural confidence.

Small changes for more accessible home

Internal Grab Rails

Moving around an internal space shouldn’t fill someone with fearful apprehension or leave them exhausted from the effort. Internal grab rails are specifically designed to help with leverage.

Grab rails are a great way to help reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls throughout a building. They can be secured to any flat surface using the right fixings, and are often located along corridors, beside doorways, at the top of staircases and in bathrooms to provide safe support when needed.

Again, plastic fluted grab rails are the best option to use in places they are likely to get wet such as bathrooms or kitchens, as they’re waterproof, hardwearing and provide extra grip. If fixed to a wall, they can be screwed in, or a popular option for tiled surfaces is a grab rail with suction cups. When fitted correctly onto a clean and smooth surface (not over grout lines) suction fixings are incredibly strong and reliable for bearing the weight they’re designed to hold.

For internal stairs, a diagonal and continual handrail is a great option as it helps a person to keep their balance and creates leverage when going up or down. The addition of a vertical grab rail at the top of a staircase will give a little extra leverage up the last step for increased confidence once the handrail has ended.

Your Grab Rail Is Only As Good As Its Fixings

If your grab or handrail isn’t installed correctly, it won’t work as it should and could increase the risk of falling.

The way they’re installed depends on their type, use and the surface it is being attached to. It’s only as good as what it’s attached to and with. For example, using screws which are too small could mean it gets easily pulled out of the wall or ground when pressure is applied.

To fix a rail correctly, the fixing needs to be appropriate for the type of material it’s going into…

  • Brick, block or stone – wall plugs and masonry screws
  • Wood – wood screws
  • Plasterboard – wall plugs for plasterboard and screws
  • Studwork – wood screws

Whatever the surface, at John Ford Group we have the experience, knowledge and skills to ensure that your grab or handrails are fitted with the correct method and expert precision for complete peace of mind.

Styles To Blend With Your Surroundings

Adaptable products don’t mean you have to compromise on style. Many people these days want their adaptations to blend into the surroundings and go unnoticed. We’ve installed lots of grab rails that do just that!

Having heard stories about people using unsuitable items such as radiators, toilet roll holders or shelves for additional support, designers have cottoned on. You can now invest in dual-purpose weight bearing products. They include…

  • Reinforced shower rails that provide extra leverage when climbing in or out of the bath or prevent slipping on a wet shower tray.
  • Modern looking plant pot holders that can be placed by a door, where the plant takes the focus off the inbuilt grab handles.
  • Toilet roll holders that look exactly like a standard one. Compact and minimal but super strong to offer support.
  • Mirrors with a lower grab rail that bends into the frame. Great for positioning in any room and offering dual functionality.


How Much Do Grab Rails Cost?

The cost of grab rails can be anything from a few £s to 100s of £s. It depends on the durability, strength, size and quality you’re looking for.

If you want a budget option, cheap steel rails cost around £3. But the cheaper you go, the worse quality they’ll be, and they may rust, break at the joints and need replacing sooner rather than later.

The mid-range options are the standard plastic fluted rails which come in at approx. £6-8. They’re a fantastic product and we install a lot of these in private and local authority housing. Costs are kept low because of the popularity of these rails and the volume manufactured.

If you want to splash out, stainless steel rails are a stylish, sleek and modern option. They can go up to £100s and look great but remember…

However much you spend, what it’s fixed into and with will make all the difference.

So Which Is Best?

In our opinion, the plastic fluted grab rails are a brilliant choice for both internal and external use. They’re weatherproof, waterproof, durable, non-slip, come in a range of sizes, can be fitted using screws or suction cups and are affordable.

More and more, we find ourselves fitting dual option ‘hidden’ rails. They’re rising in popularity and have even been said to prevent criminals from being able to identify properties where the resident might be vulnerable because of reduced mobility, frailty or disability.

Whichever type of grab rail you choose, the main thing is to ensure it’s fitted correctly by people like us, who specialise in the adaptation of residential and commercial properties to make living easier.

Want to talk to a conscientious, caring and trustworthy adaptations company? Start a conversation with us today by calling 01245 267333.