How to Install a Towel Rack

While it’s true that any old bar fastened to the wall can serve as a towel rack, a properly installed towel rack will add a touch of elegance and functionality to your bathroom walls. Moreover, you can correctly install a towel rack in just a few simple steps with basic materials you can easily find at your local hardware store. In this article, we provide you with everything you need to know about properly installing a towel rack to match and support your luscious towels.

How Are Towel Racks Attached to the Wall?

Towel racks are typically attached to the wall using mounting brackets, which come in various shapes and sizes. You’ll usually get the mounting brackets with your towel bar purchase. While it’s best practice to fasten the towel rack to a wall stud for the most secure installation, you can also install towel racks on a wall using drywall anchors, which are plastic sleeves with grooves that you can thread a screw into. When you insert the drywall anchors into a pre-drilled hole, they’ll house the screw that fastens the mounting brackets and towel rack to the wall for stability.

While drywall anchors provide excellent support, using them is generally less effective than drilling directly into a wall stud. As such, you should use wall studs to fasten your towel rack to the wall whenever it’s possible and practical to do so. 

Materials Needed to Install a Towel Rack

Before installing your towel rack, it’s beneficial to gather all of the materials you’ll need to take on the project. Preparing ahead of time will limit the risk of damage or improper installation and ensure that your installation proceeds as streamlined as possible. With that in mind, check out this useful list of materials you’ll need or could benefit from having available as you install your towel rack:

  • Stud finder (optional)
  • Hammer
  • Drywall anchors
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Painter’s tape (optional)
  • Towel rack and towel rack mounts
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Electric drill (optional)

After you’ve gathered all of the materials you will need to install your towel rack, follow this step-by-step guide on how to install a towel rack on your bathroom wall. 

Step 1: Choose the Spot Using a Stud Finder

When deciding on a spot to install your towel rack, your initial considerations likely involve aesthetic and practical matters. What place on the wall looks the most natural and ties together the rest of the room’s decor? What’s the most logical and convenient spot to use and put away the towel? While these considerations are important, you may neglect to consider the location of the studs. Finding the stud locations in the area you choose to put up the towel rack will ensure you install the rack as securely as possible.

While you can find the stud locations manually by gently hitting the wall and listening for areas that sound less hollow, using this method can be somewhat tedious and the science is not very exact. An easier and more precise way of finding the studs is by using a stud finder, which uses either magnets or electricity to determine the exact location of the stud. Once you locate a stud, place a mark in the middle of it on painter’s tape where you would like to install one end of the towel rack, if it’s possible to do so.

Unless your towel rack is 16 to 24 inches long, you’ll most likely only be able to install one end of the towel rack to a stud. You can faster the other end of the towel rack to the wall using a drywall anchor.

However, fastening the towel rack to a stud may be too awkward in some cases, depending on your space and how well the ideal location for the towel rack matches with the stud. In such cases, you can safely fasten the towel rack to the wall using two wall anchors. Without wall anchors or a stud to which you can attach the towel rack, the wall will not be strong enough to support the towel rack.

Step 2: Measure the Towel Rack and Mark Your Spots

Once you find a stud that works in the area you’ve chosen to install the towel rack and determine how high off the ground you want the towel rack positioned, make a mark at the precise position where one end of the towel rack will go. Make sure that the height is at a comfortable level for everyone in the house so you won’t have to readjust it in the future.

Using a level, hold the towel rack so that one end is on the first mark and make a mark on the other end. The level will ensure that the towel rack hangs straight across the mounts. For the sake of convenience, this step will go much smoother with an extra hand to hold the rack while you make the markings. It’s important to be precise with this step so that you don’t have a crooked towel rack or drill holes in the wrong spot, leaving an unsightly hole in the wall beside the towel rack. 

Step 3: Drill Mounting Holes

Once you’ve made your marks indicating where the towel rack will be positioned, pre-drill the holes with an appropriately sized drill bit. If you’re using screws or anchors that don’t require a drill, you’ll need to use a hammer to gently tap a drywall anchor into the hole that will house the screw and support the towel rack mount. If you have screw-in anchors, you can use a Phillips screwdriver to screw them into the wall.

Step 4: Secure the Mounting Brackets

Place the mounts over the pre-drilled holes and fasten them to the wall using an electric drill or a screwdriver if you don’t have an electric drill available. The towel rack should come with a set of screws that you can use to securely fasten the mounting brackets to the wall. 

Depending on the type of mounting brackets that come with the towel bar, you may need to attach one end of the towel bar to a mounting bracket before securing the other mounting bracket. The instruction manual for the towel rack should specify the order for securing the brackets and towel rack ends. It’s best practice to follow the instructions that come with your supplies and tools.

Step 5: Attach the Towel Rack to the Mounts

Follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual for attaching the towel rack to the mounts. Most towel bars will come with a screw and hex wrench set, which you can use to secure the towel rack to the mounts. 

Once you’ve fully attached the towel bar to the mounts according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can test its sturdiness. Lightly wiggle the rack up and down to make sure it will hold your towels on a long-term basis, without putting more weight on the bar than necessary. If the rack moves either way, you may need to tighten the bar further or adjust it to ensure it’s sitting on the mounting brackets properly. Once the bar is secure, you can put the towel rack to good use and hang your towels!

More Towel Rack Installation and Repair Tips

Check out these additional ideas and guidelines to ensure your towel rack lasts, including repair and maintenance tips.

How to Fix a Towel Rack

Nothing lasts forever, and that also applies to towel racks. There will likely come a time when you need to replace or repair your towel rack. Some common issues that occur with towel racks over time include loosened screws causing the towel rack to wiggle, pull out of the wall and droop or even fall out of the wall, which can lead to a broken towel rack. 

If the towel rack breaks, you’ll more than likely need to replace it with either a new or used intact towel rack. While you may be able to glue the towel bar back together, doing so often will lead to unsuccessful repairs and is therefore not always recommended. 

Fixing a Loose Towel Rack

On the other hand, you should be able to easily repair a towel rack that is loose or falls out of the wall but remains intact. While the drywall may also require repairs in such situations, it is not a guarantee that it will. One way to tighten a loose towel rack or one that has fallen out of the wall is by using toggle bolts, also known as butterfly anchors. However, toggle bolts can only replace drywall anchors as they will not fit into a stud. Alternatively, you can simply replace the drywall anchors if they’ve experienced damage.

For the toggle bolt repair method, you’ll first need to remove the towel bar and mounting brackets from the wall. After doing so, you can use an electric drill and a larger drill bit to enlarge the existing drill holes, making space to insert the toggle bolts. The toggle bolts have spring-loaded wings just below the bolt’s head that you can squeeze through the hole and release once through to provide bolstered support to the towel bar and mounting brackets.

With that in mind, you’ll need to twist the spring-loaded wings off of the bolt, slide the bolt through the mounting bracket and then thread the wings back on the bolt before inserting it into the wall since the wings will be too large to fit through the mounting bracket, even when squeezed. Once the toggle bolt is through the mounting bracket, slide it through the hole in the wall until the wings can open up again.

Tighten the toggle bolt using a screwdriver instead of an electric drill to prevent over-tightening. Once tightened, you should be able to reattach the towel bar without a problem. Your towel rack is less likely to become loose if it is screwed directly into a stud. However, it can happen. In such situations, you’ll probably need to drill a new hole in the stud, patch the old hole and move the towel bar accordingly. To reattach a towel rack, repeat the five steps we’ve provided in this article for installing a towel rack. 

How High Should a Towel Rack be Mounted?

Typically, the recommended height for towel rack placement is between 42 to 48 inches from the floor. If you’re installing a towel rack for children, the recommended height is around 30 to 36 inches.

At the same time, there’s not necessarily a right and wrong answer to this question, as your towel rack should be mounted to a comfortable height for you and everyone in your house, whether or not that height aligns with the typical recommendation. As such, you should adjust your towel rack’s height according to your household’s heights and preferences.

How to Maintain a Towel Rack

While towel racks don’t require a lot of ongoing maintenance, there are some beneficial things you can do to maximize the longevity and function of your towel rack. A few simple things you can do to ensure it lasts include checking the rack every month or two for signs of loosening and tightening the screws if you notice any changes. Checking the towel rack for loosening can be as simple as giving the rack a gentle shake after a shower, washing your hands or while brushing your teeth. 

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to avoid hanging heavy wet or damp towels on your towel rack to dry as much as possible. While your towels will get slightly damp from drying your hands or drying off after a shower, you’ll want to hang the towel on a drying rack or put it in the drying machine to dry if it’s completely soaked through. Hanging a thoroughly damp or soaked-through towel on the towel rack will increase the pressure put on the screws, which will cause them to loosen much faster than otherwise.

Purchase Towels at Towel Super Center

What’s the point of a towel rack without any towels? Adorn your brand new and exquisitely installed towel rack with some tasteful towels made from high-quality material at the Towel Super Center! We provide a wide array of outstanding and versatile towels that you can select from at the Towel Super Center. From standard hand and bath towels to products meant for more specific applications, like car wash towels or bleach-resistant cleaning and hair salon towels, we’re sure to have everything you need to stay clean, dry and comfortable.

Our towels at the Towel Super Center are terry weaved and made from 100% cotton that ranges in quality from economy to premium to premium plus, our highest-quality towel. However, if you are indifferent to the cotton percentage in your towel and prefer a more economical option instead, we also offer 86/14 blended terry-weaved towels. If you’d like to learn more information about our towels at the Towel Super Center, we welcome you to browse our selection or call our toll-free number today!


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