My father wants to install a bath assist bar above his bathtub. The walls that we would have to drill into are tile. We do not know what is behind the tile but judging on other things we have found in this house the safe bet would be that there is nothing solid back there. Do the stud finders work through tile? If we cannot find a stud, would the plastic inserts work if we just drilled holes in the tile or would they pull out the first chance they got?

If there is nothing behind the tile and you use the plastic anchors, they will pull out and possibly damage the tile on the way out. Some stud finders will work thru tile, but you would have to be aware of the possibility of false positive readings. How long has the tile been up? Most of the time tile that does not have something solid behind it will show cracks in the grout after a few years. I can speak from experience on that. I hope this helps, if he needs it for entrance and egress from the bathtub, they do make some very sturdy ones that can clamp onto the side of the tub. I got one of these for my mother in law and it has worked out just fine for her for about 5 years now.

Father moved in about 15 years ago so the tile has been around for at least that long with no signs of cracking grout. Maybe the PO got this room right. I wish there was some easy way to tell what is back there. But, your idea about how long the tile has stood in place is a good one and so is the tub clamp. I will suggest the clamp style when I talk to him today.

If there is an inside wall on the other side of the tub wall maybe you cud locate the studs there and transfer the measurements on the tube side and rescan for the studs on the tile and see if they match up.

While you’re on the subject, it reminded me of my shower which has collapsing tiles around the shower area in the bathtub. What happened was that the attendant taking care of my father put up an extension rod in the shower area, pressing on the two tiled walls, and eventually the tiles on the wall where the plumbing is (the shower head, etc.) began collapsing on the top. I don’t use that shower. But I need to get it fixed. So is there any ‘easy’ way to do this, or do I need to break down the tiles on the wall where the fixtures are and then retile this? I’m quite sure that I’d need a professional to do this type of work.

Unfortunately, the words easy, tile and quick usually aren’t used in the same sentence when talking about repairs. When the tile started falling off the wall in my bathroom it involved re tiling the entire wall. I had to take the wall down to the bare studs because the people who originally put the tile in used skin board as a backer instead of cement board or other stable wall surface. Sorry I couldn’t give you better news. Also something you might want to check to see if you have a leak in the pipe going up to the shower head. If a good substrate was used, a leak would have eroded the substance enough to cause the collapse.