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How to Permanently Anchor a Bathroom Towel Bar

Towel bars mounted on drywall need to be firmly anchored or they'll eventually fall off. Replace light-duty plastic anchors with heavy-duty anchors that will keep towel bars in place even after years of hard use.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Fix loose towel bars with better anchors

When towel bars come loose, it's usually because they weren't well fastened in the first place. The small, wimpy wall anchors included with most towel bar sets just don't have enough holding power. But with sturdy new anchors, you can remount towel bars so they'll never come loose again. Don't put off this fix. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to scar the wall or mar the bar's finish. You can also use these techniques to remount towel rings, toilet paper holders and hooks too. Everything you need is available at home centers and hardware stores.

First, remove the loose end posts. If one post is rock solid, leave it in place (chances are it's fastened to a wall stud). You'll need a hex wrench or mini screwdriver to loosen the setscrew. There's a slight chance that the existing anchors are adequate but the screws have loosened. So try to tighten the screws that hold the mounting plates in place. If they tighten up securely, just remount the posts and the bar. If they don't tighten firmly, remove the screws and the mounting plates. To remove the old anchors, pry them out with a screwdriver or poke them in and let them fall inside the wall.

For fast, solid mounting on drywall, use toggle anchors. These clever anchors are self-drilling and have a T-clamp that folds out when you push the screw into the shaft.

Plastic anchor inserted in tile.

Plastic anchor inserted in tile.

Drill bit for tile and glass.

Drill bit for tile and glass.

Close up of plastic anchor.

Close up of plastic anchor.

Mounting plate in place.

Mounting plate in place.

Anchoring in Tile

On tile, 1/4-in. tubular plastic anchors hold firmly, whether there's drywall or cement backer board behind the tile. Be sure to buy tube-shaped anchors as shown here, not tapered anchors, which don't hold as well.

Enlarge the original anchor holes with a 1/4-in. carbide glass-and-tile bit. Tap in the plastic anchors and fasten the mounting plate with screws.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Cordless drill
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Allen wrench

1/4-in. carbide glass-and-tile bit

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Toggle anchors
    • 1/4-in. plastic anchor (for tile wall)

Comments from DIY Community Members

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November 22, 2:07 PM [GMT -5]

I find that the so called Molly anchors are terrific on almost any drywall project. Problem is that the day you have to make a change you are faced with a big hole in the wall if you rip it out . What I do is to sort of counter sink it in and then cover the indentation with common drywall hole repair compound which comes in a tooth paste like tube and it is so easy to use . Have done many repairs this way and properly done you can't even tell.

July 25, 3:29 PM [GMT -5]

Ok, now tell me a good substitute for the mounting plate and chincy setscrew. Never seen those toggles before either. Thanks for thi tip!

March 30, 4:09 PM [GMT -5]

This is the first time I used this style of toggle anchor as well. They worked great to reinstall a loose towel rack! While designed for drywall, my walls are plaster and lathe, and the anchors held beautifully!

July 09, 11:30 AM [GMT -5]

I haven't see these toggles before, I am going to look for them next time I am securing into drywall.

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How to Permanently Anchor a Bathroom Towel Bar

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