Install a Towel Rack on Various Wall Materials

Modern bathroom with two sinks and towels hanging from towel rack.

The towel rack is a bathroom necessity to keep wet towels off the floor and, thankfully, is a relatively easy DIY job. The level of difficulty, though, depends on the wall material in your bathroom.

Use this article to gauge how difficult it is to install a towel rack on different wall materials.

Most homeowners can knock out this type of project with minimal problems, but if you need extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out for ways to make your bathroom stylish and functional.

Related Topic: Embarking on a big project? Here’s the ultimate bathroom remodel checklist.

How to Install a Towel Rack on Drywall

The most common wall material in a bathroom is drywall, which can also be one of the trickier materials for installing a towel rack.

If you have drywall, start by locating two wall studs for installing the rack, which will give you plenty of confidence in hanging multiple towels without worrying about the rack breaking off the wall. Unfortunately, you can’t control where a stud is located, so oftentimes homeowners need to use drywall anchors to hang a towel rack.

If you need to use drywall anchors, we recommend purchasing a more robust metal toggle anchor, which can easily hold about 40 pounds of pull. If you use weaker anchors, the ones that are typically included when you purchase a new towel rack, you risk the bar pulling off the wall when wet towels are placed on it.

Follow these steps to effectively install your towel rack to drywall:

  1. Install the anchors. Make sure to measure appropriately and use a level to ensure the two anchors are perfectly aligned.
  2. Attach the first towel-bar mount. Most towel bars feature two mounts that are first installed, then you attach the bar.
  3. Double check that the second mount is in line with the one you just installed, then attach the second mount.
  4. Complete the installation by sliding the bar onto the mounts. You may need to tighten screws that hold the bar, depending on what type of bar you purchased.

How to Hang a Towel Rack on Concrete

While you can certainly use a hammer drill to install larger anchors and screws into a concrete wall, that process may be too difficult for most homeowners. An easier option is to use an adhesive to install onto this type of wall.

This method does require you to purchase a towel rack designed to be glued to a wall, meaning it has a flat surface and not a mechanical system for attaching two mounts.

Purchase a specialty glue designed for this type of work from your favorite hardware store. Follow the instructions on that adhesive in terms of how much to use on each anchor point and how long to let it cure before hanging anything on it. Most glues will recommend 24 hours.

How to Install a Towel Rack on Ceramic Tile

Some homeowners want a towel rack inside their shower or bath area, which sometimes means they need to install it on ceramic or porcelain tile. This process is similar to installing on drywall in that you want to find studs, but it requires special tools to drill through the tile.

You can use a stud finder on tile, but it may not pick up the studs. If you aren’t able to find studs, you again will need to use more robust wall anchors to properly secure your towel bar.

  1. Mark the drill locations of your towel bar on the tile.
  2. Place masking tape over that mark. This will prevent the tile from cracking as you drill into it.
  3. Use a diamond-tipped drill bit.
  4. Hold the drill parapedicular to the wall and slowly drill through both holes.
  5. If you are using anchors, tap those in gently. If you’re in a stud, you can continue to install the mounts with the included screws.
  6. Once anchors are attached, you can easily attach the mounts and then finish the installation of the bar.

Related Topic: Budget-Friendly Bathroom Renovation Tips

Let a Pro Show You How to Hang a Towel Rack

At first glance, installing a new towel rack may seem like an easy job, however, it often hinges on finding studs and lining up the mounts straight to be successful.

If this process seems too difficult or involved, don’t worry! Your local pros at Mr. Handyman can help — and you can take advantage of the Neighborly Done Right Promise—to get your bathroom just the way you want it. To get started give us a call or submit a request online for bathroom services.