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Old 01-31-2009, 05:42 PM   #1
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Question on Hanging Towel Racks


Hi folks,

I'm a total home improvement incompetent, looking to tackle a problem in my new townhouse. Specifically, every darned towel rack in the house is falling off.

So, I'm going to attempt to reattach them in a more stable fashion. I found this article about it, and I think I have everything I need to accomplish this, except for the molly/toggle bolt. So, off I went to Lowe's, and realized, I have NO idea what size toggle bolt to get, nor do I have any idea how to figure that out.

The end piece of the towel bar (I think it's called an "escutcheon"?) has two screws that are about 1 1/4" in length. The wall itself is plaster, so I'm going to screw one end of the towel bar into the stud, and then use the toggle bolt on the other side. At least, that's the plan.

Anyone have any idea what kind of toggle bolt I should get, and how can I determine the required size?

Anything you can see about that article that looks incomplete?

Also, the escutcheon has three holes: one in the center that is currently unused, and two on the sides that hold the 1 1/4" screws. When I get a toggle bolt, would I thread it through the center hole instead?

Again, please bear in mind my technical level is such that I'll be lucky if I can operate the drill without injuring myself.

Thanks in advance!

Steve

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Old 01-31-2009, 08:55 PM   #2
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Question on Hanging Towel Racks


I can relate! By the time I got around to repairing all the lose and broken towel racks in my house, there were NONE that were still holding up well --and most of them required pretty extensive drywall repairs before I could even think about doing the towel racks. One instance, a roomate getting out of the shower slipped and grabbed the towel rack to slow her fall, she managed to rip the rack and anchors right out of the wall!! So now I stiffen my towel rack mounts with 2x4's wherever I think they may wind up!!

Personally, I have never liked working with toggle bolts. I found they made holes way too large for my comfort and made changes in the future a real pain. I'd recommend using plastic expanding anchors for the side that isn't on the stud. Also, a real good idea would be to pick up a piece of drywall patch (usually a 2'x2' piece) and just play with the anchors to see how well they work for you and how it looks on the back side. Anchors can be a tricky thing to find a brand and a style that works for you and your liking --and hold well.

Good luck and let us know how well it goes for you!!

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Old 01-31-2009, 10:08 PM   #3
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Personally, I have never liked working with toggle bolts. I found they made holes way too large for my comfort and made changes in the future a real pain. I'd recommend using plastic expanding anchors for the side that isn't on the stud. Also, a real good idea would be to pick up a piece of drywall patch (usually a 2'x2' piece) and just play with the anchors to see how well they work for you and how it looks on the back side. Anchors can be a tricky thing to find a brand and a style that works for you and your liking --and hold well.!
Hmm, I'll look into the anchors, but I think that's what they used before. At least, with the rack off the wall, there are still little plastic "sleeves" in the holes. Does that mean they used plastic expanding anchors? Or could that just be something else?

Another question: is a "molly bolt" the same as a "toggle bolt"?

Thanks!
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:26 PM   #4
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Another question: is a "molly bolt" the same as a "toggle bolt"?
Not at all, Molly Bolts are expanding metal anchors --another fastener I've stopped using out of frustration...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_bolt

My latest favorite for drywall, stucco, and concrete are the "TripleGrip" style. You can find a review of them here but here's a pic...

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Old 02-01-2009, 04:32 PM   #5
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Question on Hanging Towel Racks


I have been dealing with towel bars for many years in my business... a little trick I have found with the backing plate is over time they have a tendency to round over... (the edges that hold the actual arm in place) I turn them over and put them on a hard surface and give them a gentle tap with my hammer to flatten the back out again so they sit flush against the wall...
If the wall has been damaged or weakened by the use of plugs... I relocate the towel bar on a sturdier part of the wall and use plastice plugs and pan head (not wood) screws as they sit flush on the backing plate and hold better.
I repair the original wall and touch up with paint... they seem to be holding up quite well..
once the backing plate has rounded over... it doesn't matter what type of plug you use... they still loosen off... took me a while to figure that out but seems to work.
Hope that helps a little bit.
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:59 AM   #6
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Question on Hanging Towel Racks


See now, this is exactly the sort of thing that makes me dread this sort of project. The more people reply, the more different approaches crop up!



I'm tempted to try the TripleGrip thingies.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your excellent feedback!

Now I also have to figure out how to patch up the holes that were left behind, since they put the damned bars so high my kids can't even reach them. :D
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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My latest favorite for drywall, stucco, and concrete are the "TripleGrip" style. You can find a review of them here but here's a pic...
So, this may seem incredibly ignorant, but let's say I wanted to try using these TripleGrip thingies. I already have the towel bar. Would it work something like this?

1. Determine the size of the screws used in the towel bar assembly.
2. Get TripleGrip (or similar anchor thingies) that match the diameter (and thread?) of the screws used in the towel bar assembly. (If not, how do determine which kind to buy?)
3. Drill holes in the wall that fit the TripleGrip thingies (in this case, do I need to AVOID studs?)
4. Screw the towel rack into the TripleGrip thingies

Is that pretty much what the process would look like?

In looking at the one towel rack that came off, the person before me appears to have used some sort of plastic anchors as well, so I despair of how well they will work...perhaps I should go back to the toggle bolt despite the bigger hole?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:45 PM   #8
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So, this may seem incredibly ignorant, but let's say I wanted to try using these TripleGrip thingies.
Not to worry! We were all ignorant at some point!! You either learn by asking or screwing something up!! I'd prefer the former myself!

Quote:
I already have the towel bar. Would it work something like this?

1. Determine the size of the screws used in the towel bar assembly.
2. Get TripleGrip (or similar anchor thingies) that match the diameter (and thread?) of the screws used in the towel bar assembly. (If not, how do determine which kind to buy?)
The TripleGrip anchors I've used have just one standard size but I've used them with a variety of fasteners since it's still just a plastic anchor. They come with their own fasteners but I wouldn't lose sleep over matching the right one --unless you have incredibly small fasteners on your towel racks (which I doubt).

Quote:
3. Drill holes in the wall that fit the TripleGrip thingies (in this case, do I need to AVOID studs?)
The box will tell you what size drill bit you'll need for the proper hole. You'll need a hammer to pound the anchor in (carefully) since the fit is a tad tight (by design). Avoid the studs? Not at all. Get a decent stud finder and use them if you can --it will save you from all this hassle with anchors since you can screw a fastener straight into the stud (very strong attachment BTW).

Quote:
4. Screw the towel rack into the TripleGrip thingies

Is that pretty much what the process would look like?

In looking at the one towel rack that came off, the person before me appears to have used some sort of plastic anchors as well, so I despair of how well they will work...perhaps I should go back to the toggle bolt despite the bigger hole?
I completely understand. Most plastic studs are just terrible and barely hold anything on drywall beyond a picture frame hook. I'd encourage you to try the TripleGrip anchors first and if that doesn't work you can always move on to toggle bolts since you'll wind up with a larger hole for those... Good luck!!
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:00 PM   #9
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The box will tell you what size drill bit you'll need for the proper hole. You'll need a hammer to pound the anchor in (carefully) since the fit is a tad tight (by design). Avoid the studs? Not at all. Get a decent stud finder and use them if you can --it will save you from all this hassle with anchors since you can screw a fastener straight into the stud (very strong attachment BTW).
So, assuming there is stud in a decent place, do I screw one side directly into the stud, without using an anchor, and the other side into the drywall using an anchor?

Or are you saying I would use the drywall anchor both in the stud and in the drywall?

Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:03 PM   #10
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So, assuming there is stud in a decent place, do I screw one side directly into the stud, without using an anchor, and the other side into the drywall using an anchor?

Or are you saying I would use the drywall anchor both in the stud and in the drywall?
Yeah, if you find a stud, just screw directly into it and use a drywall anchor on the other side.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:07 PM   #11
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Yeah, if you find a stud, just screw directly into it and use a drywall anchor on the other side.
Awesome. Wish me luck tonight.

(Like this is some huge deal or something. :D)
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:01 PM   #12
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Question on Hanging Towel Racks


Hooray, it worked!

Hit Lowe's on the way home from work today, and they carried the Cobra triple thingies. Managed to get home and get the towel bar installed, without any crises! (Other than self-doubt along the way, that is.)

Screwed one half into the stud, the other half into the anchors. One of the anchors got squished a bit in the process, but I'll chalk that up to first time. Didn't, you know, drill a hole in my finger or anything like that.

So, of course, only time will tell how long it LASTS, but thanks everyone for your help!

(Note to self: buy a level)

Oh, and one more question: there are already anchors in the wall from the previous holder, which was apparently installed by a family of giants, because it's so high up the wall my kids can't reach it. Any ideas how to get the old anchors safely OUT of the wall without tearing the heck out of it? Then I have to patch things up a bit before the next time I paint, I guess!

Thanks again!

Steve
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:51 PM   #13
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Great to hear!! I'm sure the more of these things you do, the more confidence you'll have to tackle even MORE projects!! I warn you, it's addictive. As far as the previous holes, I can totally relate! I'm only 5'5" and I've found SOOO many situations in my current home where cabinets and towel racks were originally designed for pro-ball players or something!! There really is no easy way to get rid of them other than to pound them into the wall so they fall in and just patch it over with some spackle before your next paint job. It's not so bad once you've done a few of them. If you have texture on your walls, they make a spray bottle you can find just about anywhere -both hardware stores and even WalMart that will do small areas without needing to mix your own plaster and get a hopper to shoot the texture on the walls... Here's what I normally use... (just make sure to shoot a practice pattern on a piece of cardboard first!!)
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:24 AM   #14
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So, assuming there is stud in a decent place, do I screw one side directly into the stud, without using an anchor, and the other side into the drywall using an anchor?

Or are you saying I would use the drywall anchor both in the stud and in the drywall?

Thanks!
There's an anchor called Studsolver that drills directly into drywall and studs with just a screw driver. I bought them at Lowes, see http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...316&lpage=none and they worked great. With my towel bar attached to my stud with this anchor it holds great. Each studsolver is rated for 75 lbs. when in studs.

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