Retrofitting a Bathroom

Derek and his wife Diana live in a retirement village in Pakuranga.

They decided to retrofit their bathroom to match their changing mobility.

They have installed grabrails and a seat in their shower

  • Reinforcement pre-install of grabrail

Why have you decided to retrofit your bathroom?

Mainly because of back issues, a broken hip and torn hamstrings for me, and hip replacements for Diana. The grabrail and seat add security.

Bathroom accidents cost ACC millions per year. We did not want to be a statistic.

What areas of your bathroom did you change specifically?
We’ve had grabrails and a shower seat installed.


Why is it important for you to have grabrails in your shower?

Security. Even for young fit people something to hang on to when picking up soap etc. is useful. If the rail is there it is natural for anyone to hold it when bending down.
Even athletes like All Black Brodie Retallick who recently dislocated his shoulder would benefit from having a rail to hold onto, Derek said.



How long did it take to make these changes to your bathroom?

About 4 hours to install. We were able to access from the other side of shower walls so as not to disturb the tiles. If there was a frame already in place this would have taken half the time if that to be completed.


Do you have any tips/recommendations for people wanting to design or retrofit a new bathroom?

The best thing is to have solid timber between 600 & 900mm* from the floor around shower, bath and toilet area to allow retro fit without having to find studs, nogs etc. A 300mm wide x 20mm ply panel rebated into framework is a good solution.



It helps that Derek and Diana’s son, Sean, is one of our Product Partners with great grabrail and load bearing shower rails that deliver both form and function and wouldn’t look out of place in any bathroom.

It is great to see an example of people that do have the ability to retrofit a bathroom to suit changing mobility. However, not everyone can retrofit, we advocate for features such as these to be added into the earliest possible design stages. After all, that’s what Universal Design is about!


*Please note: Increasing the solid fixings to 1700mm above floor level within the shower and beside the toilet give greater flexibility for the style of grabrail chosen.

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