How to Install a Towel Bar and Other Bath Accessories

Modern bathroom
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Bathroom accessories are normally one of the latest things to be installed when remodeling or during the construction process. However, if you don’t know how and where to install bathroom accessories, you can run into bigger problems as you could be drilling over tiles causing damages by unnecessary drilling.

Here are some recommended heights that you can use when installing bathroom accessories. Remember always to double check with your local building codes and ADA guidelines. Many of these recommended heights are taken from the International Residential Code (IRC), requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and published by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Standard Mirror Installation

Mirrors can be installed at a different height depending on the type of mirror being installed. As a general guideline, they could be installed between 38 and 42 inches. This measurement is related to the bottom height of the mirror, measured from the finish floor.

My recommendation is that the mirror shall be mounted with the bottom edge of the reflecting surface no higher than 40 inches above the finish floor. Sometimes you will want to center the mirror with the wall and the vanity for aesthetic purposes. It is recommended to install a single full-length mirror in each washroom when the bath is used by the public.

Bathroom Shelves Installation

Shelves are installed at different elevations depending on the use and type of shelf being installed. Normally, they can be installed between 3 feet and 4 feet, too—like mirrors. However, this will vary depending on the type of bathrooms, and there is a trend to have niches instead of shelves.

Soap Dish/Soap Dispenser Installation

The soap dish must be installed at an approximate height of 44 inches or as high as 54 inches. The soap dish height location shall be located out from the shower spray. Meanwhile, the soap dispenser must be installed at a minimum 40 inches and as high as 48 inches. Ideally, the soap dish shall be installed at 48 inches; however, if it's a soap dispenser, their push buttons should be located 44" maximum above FF.

Towel Ring Installation

The towel ring must be installed between 50 inches and 52 inches height, measured from the finish floor. If you measure it from the vanity, then it shall be hung 20 inches to 22 inches above it. Generally, the absolute minimum height is 36 inches for towels, and 18 inches for washcloths measured from the vanity countertop.

The towel rail height installation will vary depending on the type and use of the bathroom. The rail will not be installed at the same height when the bathroom will be used by children. A towel rail shall be installed 48 inches above the floor. You want to check also the location of electrical outlets and decorative tile work.

When installing multiple towel rails, measure the one that will be highest, and then fold a towel at that level. Mark 2 inches below the area where the towel bottom and that should be the place to install the second rail.

Toilet Paper Roll Holder Installation

The toilet paper roll holder can be installed between 19 inches and 26 inches from the floor. The Americans with Disabilities Act encourages using 19 inches while the National Kitchen & Bath Association recommends 26 inches as the ideal height. If you don't have a lot of space, you might want to consider attaching it to the side of the vanity.

Cabinet Installation

Bathroom cabinets are normally installed at 54 inches above finished floor. That is because you will usually have a 36 inches standard vanity plus 18 inches of clear space in between. Sometimes a combination of mirror/cabinet is chosen so be sure to have it installed at 12 inches on top of the countertop.

Grab Bars Installation

Grab bars should be placed at least 33 inches to 36 inches above the floor. When the installation is on the side wall grab bar shall be 42 inches long minimum, located 12 inches maximum from the rear wall and extending 54 inches from the rear wall.

Installation Height for Hand Dryers

Hand dryers have some more specific guidelines, as they should be able to be operated easily applying only minimum force. These units shall meet specific ADA dimensions concerning how much they can protrude and should be a contrasting color.

The push button should be installed at 38 inches above the finished floor, with at least a clear floor space of 30 inches x 48 inches in front of them. When more than one hand dryer is installed, the second unit can be installed between 42 inches and 48 inches above the finished floor.