It sounds simple, but we’ve seen many a frustrated consumer struggle with how to install a towel bar on drywall in a bathroom. These can be of the bar variety (two anchor points) or towel ring style (single anchor point). There are even space-saving models with articulating arms and multiple racks that swing out of the way to allow for more towel capacity. Finishes can be chrome, marble, brushed, antique, copper, or just about anything else you can imagine or dream up.
Not mounting to drywall? No problem. See our tips below the how-to guide to see how we tackle installing a towel bar on block walls and even plaster and lathe.
Most towel holders come with templates that can be used to layout the exact position for the anchors which will need to be drilled into the drywall and secure the towel bar to the wall. We recommend using the included anchors as they will match up perfectly with the supplied screws.
Editor’s Note: Check out our article on How to Use a Drywall Anchor for tips on how these work to secure shelving and racks to drywall.
What’s nice is that if you hit a stud, you can simply screw directly into the wood stud, giving you a very secure anchor.
Step by Step – Installing a Towel Bar
Time needed: 15 minutes.
Here is a breakdown of the necessary steps to installing a towel bar in your bathroom or shower area:
- Locate the approximate placement for your towel bar
Get a general idea where you want the new towel bar.
- Place the included template on the wall
You want to use a level to ensure the bar will be straight once mounted on the drywall.
- Mark the wall at the hole screw points
Use a pencil to mark the holes where you need to install the drywall anchors and/or screws.
- Drill into the drywall at the screw points and insert your drywall anchors
This might be the easiest step—just be sure you hit your marks.
- Use a hammer to tap the anchors into the wall
Gently tap the anchors into place. If you use screw-in anchors, use a large Phillips head screwdriver to screw them into the drywall. These types of drywall anchors hold heavier loads.
- Screw the rear brackets into the wall anchors
These brackets come in many different forms, but typically include a rear piece that the front mount connects into. This works either via a small set screw or (as in this case) by latching onto the two upward tongues provided by the bracket.
- Use a precision screwdriver to secure the bracket to the wall
This may be the best step in how to install a towel bar—the final assembly! If your mount works like the one shown above, slide the towel holder down to fasten it over the bracket. Be sure to add the horizontal towel rod or bar before securing the second bracket into place as you won’t be able to insert the bar later.
How to Install a Towel Bar on Block Walls
When installing a towel bar on a block wall, steps 1–3 remain the same. When it comes time to drill, however, you want to either use Tapcon screws or a suitable concrete anchor. Either of these requires pre-drilling a hole before you attach the bracket with a screw. In the case of Tapcons, you can often get the required bit right in the container.
With a concrete anchor, the screws and anchors come together, but you need to buy a drill bit. The package should tell you what size concrete drill bit you need. Once you decide on the appropriate anchor and get it in place, move on to step 6.
Installing a Towel Bar on Plaster and Lathe Walls
To install a towel bar on a plaster and lathe wall, follow Steps 1–3 then consider switching to a molly bolt that expands in the wall.
To install a molly bolt, pre-drill the hole at the recommended size (see the packaging) using a standard or concrete drill bit. Tap the molly bolt flush to the wall with a hammer. Next, turn the screw to expand the slotted sleeve inside the wall so that it holds the anchor firmly in place. Tighten until it’s nice and snug and the flat washer-like surface just begins to sink into the plaster.
Once you have the molly in place you can remove the threaded screw and mount your bracket in Step 6.
That’s all there is to it. Of course, if fastening a towel bar directly to the wall isn’t going to work in your bathroom, feel free to check out the many freestanding towel racks available on the market.