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Install Toggle Bolts for an Adjustable Shower Head

Learn how to install toggle bolts!

FH05OCT_462_06_029 Toggle bolts adjustable shower headFamily Handyman
Fiberglass or plastic shower surrounds can be tricky to install stuff on, but this project will help. Make fastening towel bars, shelves and shower heads easier with toggle bolts.

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Toggle Bolts

Fastening towel bars, shelves or hooks to a fiberglass or plastic shower surround can be tricky. The surround is simply too thin to hold screws and there’s often a gap of 1 in. or more between the surround and the wall studs behind it. But with 1/8-in. toggle bolts, you can mount most light-duty hardware (like the adjustable shower head bar shown here). Keep in mind that this leaves big holes (3/8 in.) in the surround that can’t be patched later, so anything you mount will have to stay there permanently. The mounting system shown here isn’t strong enough to support the full weight of a person, so we don’t recommend it for installing safety grab bars. 

FH05OCT_462_06_029 Toggle bolts adjustable shower headFamily Handyman

Everything you need is available at home centers and hardware stores. Here are some pointers:

  • Some areas of a fiberglass surround may be reinforced with plywood. After you mark the hole locations (Photo 1), drill 3/16-in. holes. If you strike plywood behind the fiberglass, you can drive in stainless steel screws instead of using toggle bolts. If you don’t hit plywood, drill 3/8-in. holes.
  • When you’re drilling through the side of the surround where the shower valve is mounted, apply only light pressure as you drill. Otherwise, you might suddenly punch through the surround and puncture pipes.
  • When you buy toggle bolts ($2 per pair), also buy brass machine screws ($1) to replace the steel screws that come with the tog

Project Directions:

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1. Mark Desired Height

Mark the hole positions and drill 3/8 in. holes through the fiberglass. For a clean, chip-free hole, use a brad point bit.

toggle boltsFamily Handyman

2. Apply Silicone Caulk

Run a light bead of silicone caulk around the holes and insert the toggle bolts.

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3. Secure Toggle Bolts

Tighten the toggle bolts. Hold the mounting bracket away from the wall as you turn the screws; otherwise the toggle will simply spin inside the wall.

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