Solution for sagging towel bar in drywall?

linnea56February 7, 2009

I have a towel rod in my bathroom that always sags. Each side has 2 plastic anchors, there was no stud available in the right place. I have removed and reinstalled it once already and the same thing happened again. The plastic anchors pull halfway out of the wall and then stop, leaving the rod sagging. All it is used for is a towel, which should not be too heavy.

Is there a solution?

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

toggle bolts

Here is a link that might be useful: wall anchors

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 4:08AM
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That's the most practical solution at this point.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 9:26AM
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Molly bolts if the existing holes are 1/4 inch or smaller.

If larger you may be stick with toggles, but they are not that good for something that needs to be level.
The hole is so large to clear the toggle that the bolt has a lot of play in the hole.

There are some designs that use a smaller hole available, at some sacrifice in strength (they spread the load less).

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 10:32AM
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You could take a 1x4, route the edge, stain or paint it. Countersink two holes, screw to the studs and plug the holes. This could support a really sturdy towel bar

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 2:08PM
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If you are not locked in to towel bars... you can just put robe hooks into the studs and hang the towels that way.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 4:27PM
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Thanks! I picked up the molly bolts today. The towel rods have a set screw which tightens on a plate. I canÂt use a screw with a big head or there will not be room on the plate. The molly bolts I found have small screw heads. I will try those before I try anything that will be more work. I have a big mirror I need to hang soon too, so got some big ones for that as well.

I donÂt want to go the hook route, the towels would take too long to dry.

Thanks for the tips!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 6:19PM
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I've recently become a fan of the screw-in type of anchor for this type of situation, and never use moly bolts anymore. This type of fastener comes in both plastic and metal, and it simply looks like a big screw with very large spiral threads. You use a Phillips head screwdriver to screw it into the sheetrock. The raised ridges really bite into the sheetrock and it seats flush and strong with the surface of the sheetrock. It has a hole down through the center that you then screw your fastener into. A couple of years ago, I had several towel racks and TP holders that were loosening up. I replaced the standard, crappy plastic anchors with these babies and they have been rock solid ever since. You can find these anchors in any big box store and they're inexpensive.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 4:08PM
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"...screw-in type of anchor..."


Use a bunch anchoring conduit to drywall above drop ceilings.

They do not spread the load out any better than the large screw in plastic drywall anchors with a self tapping metal screw in the middle.

While Walldogs are rated at 50 pounds per screw in 1/2 inch drywal;, that is only the shear load (parallel to the face of the wall).
Their withdrawal load is not specified and is not nearly that high.

Pull a towel off the towel bar a couple times and they can come loose.

Molly bolts expand to at least a 1 inch circle when the correct size is used for the wall thickness.
They have a decent withdrawal strength.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 5:19PM
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I wasn't referring to Walldogs. I was referring to products like the Zip-It Anchor, which is advertised as having a shear load of 70 lb and a tension load of 65lb in 1/2" wallboard. I don't know how heavy your towels are, but this is sufficient for me. All I can say is that after a couple of years of daily use, my towel racks are still tight to the wall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zip-It Anchor

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 5:53PM
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Funny, I bought some of the metal Zip-It anchors on the same trip! I thought they would be useful to have on hand. When I read through the linked info sheet, the specs listed 15 pounds as being the safest load for these, using a factor of 4. IÂm not sure how they arrived at this figure.

When I hang my heavy mirror soon I will probably use the heavy duty molly bolts too though.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 6:47PM
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For towel bars the Zip-Its have worked great for me but for something heavy, breakable, and potentially dangerous, like a mirror, I'd probably lean toward moly bolts, too. I'm curious though: What kind of brackets are you going to use to fix the mirror to the wall?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 8:08PM
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The mirror has a thick wood frame covered with stamped sheet brass. There are rings screwed into the back of the frame with heavy braided wire between them, so I was planning to hang it like a painting, using 2 molly bolts. If IÂm lucky I might find a stud for one screw, but preliminary wall-knocking revealed none. I will test with a stud finder once I have everything ready to go.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 12:03AM
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I was referring to products like the Zip-It Anchor,

I've tried those a couple of times and wasn't very impressed. For serious holding I use mollys or toggles.

For light duty applications I really like Hilti's plastic anchors.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 7:39AM
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I had the same problem. I bit the bullet, cut open the drywall, added blocking between the studs, patched up the drywall and used screws to attach the towelbar. The most labor intensive fix, but also the sturdiest & most permanent.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:35AM
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Softball 80 - what did you use for the blocking between the studs? We have the same problem with a towel ring that is used constantly by our 2 and 4 year-olds - much more than the average wear and tear. We have tried the plastic screw-in anchors and molly bolts but neither have worked for more than six months. My husband put up a small metal plate and attached the ring to that but it is already getting wobbly. I think attaching it to something solid in the wall is going to be the only solution. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 3:17PM
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The EZ anchors come loose too quickly for toilet roll and towel rod holders - which makes sense when you think about how they work. I'm always replacing them for folks.

So now I use plastic toggles (which, btw, use a smaller hole than regular toggle bolts of same use). At first they looked cheap, but they're actually really great and easier to use than regular toggles or mollies.

This is what I'm talking about:

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 8:38AM
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One more thing...the plastic toggles I mentioned need to be snapped into place (per the directions). They come with a little red plunger rod, but you can use a hex wrench or a mini screwdriver, etc. to do it. Just know the wall thickness for choosing the right one (usually 1/2").

Again, better and way easier than toggles, imho. (Fine for towel bars and other medium & light duty stuff, but not for heavy duty)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 8:48AM
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