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Screens And Bars: Bathroom Safety

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Bathroom accidents are often inevitable. Some of these accidents (e.g. slipping and falling on the bathroom floor) accidents can be fatal. That's why you should be concerned about making your bathroom a safer place now that you're renovating.

This article discusses provides useful information on two fixtures that can have an impact on how safe your bathroom is.

The Shower Screen

This is a relatively common fixture in many Australian bathrooms. Because they're made of glass, shower screens can be a safety hazard if the glass happens to break mid-way through someone's shower (e.g. if a wayward object falls from the ceiling and lands on the glass surfaces of the screen).  

Shower screens can either be made of tempered glass or laminated safety glass. Tempered glass is subjected to thermal and/or chemical treatment to increase its structural strength. Laminated safety glass is made stronger by incorporating a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between layers of glass. For this reason, tempered glass has greater vertical strength than laminated safety glass. Tempered glass would, therefore, be a safer option if you're looking to invest in a frameless shower screen. Laminated safety glass is generally considered stronger than tempered glass. However, the lower vertical strength makes it more ideal for fully-framed shower screens.

If the shower screen is to break, tempered glass would shatter into tiny cube-shaped pieces while laminated safety glass would probably not shatter. The PVB layer would hold the two glass surfaces together, resulting in a severely cracked shower screen. 

Grab Bars

The door on your shower screens probably has a bar fitted onto it. This is called a towel bar and many people confuse it with a grab bar. Towel bars are fitted on shower screen doors for your convenience while grab bars are meant to give you a handhold for improved stability as you walk within the shower screen or around the wet bathroom area.

Towel bars are often made of the same material as grab bars. However, the thickness of the material used doesn't give a towel bar the strength to bear the weight of someone holding on it to it for support.

Thus, you need a grab bar within the shower screen enclosure and you need another or others (depending on the size of your bathroom) for the rest of the bathroom area.

Grab bars reduce the likelihood of slip and fall accidents within the bathroom. Being that these are often the most common type of bathroom accidents, a grab bar or two will make your bathroom a much safer place.