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How to Permanently Anchor a Bathroom Towel Bar

A permanent fix for wobbly towel bars

Family Handyman
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.

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Time
Instant!
Complexity
Super Simple!
Cost
Under $20

Fix loose towel bars with better anchors

Loosen the setscrew

Loosen the setscrew that fastens the post to the mounting plate. Remove the post and the bar. Then unscrew the mounting plate from the wall and remove the old anchors.

Drive in the anchor

Drive the toggle anchor into the old anchor holes with a drill containing a No. 2 Phillips bit.

Close up of toggle anchors and screws

Tighten the screw

Refasten the mounting plate with the long toggle screws. Then reinstall the post and the bar.

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.

How to hang a towel rack begins first by removing 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.

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.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY how to hang a towel rack project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

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

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