How to Install a Towel Bar in a Bathroom

Step by Step Instructions on Installing a Bathroom Towel Bar

By Mark J. Donovan

As part of most bathroom remodeling projects, it is common to include the installation of a new towel bar. Installing a bathroom towel bar is simple to do, although there are a few issues to watch out for.

First, it is important to ensure proper spacing between the two towel bar side mounts. If the spacing is too wide, the towel bar won’t be able to stay locked in between the two side mounts. 

If the spacing is too narrow, you won’t be able to fit the towel bar in between the side mounts. Also, it is important to make sure that the towel bar side mounts are level with each other and the bathroom floor.

Though it is not critical that the towel bar side mounts be fastened into wall studs, it is preferable, at least on one side of the towel bar.

To install a towel bar, begin by making a pencil mark on the bathroom wall approximately 30 inches off of the bathroom floor. This mark will represent the center height of the towel bar.

Next, most towel bars have a template for marking the specific locations for mounting the towel bar side mount brackets. Position one side of the template so that it is centered over the pencil mark you made on the wall.

Now, on the other side of the template, make another pencil mark in the center of the opening. 

How to install a towel bar.

Make sure, however, that the template is level with the floor when making your pencil mark.

The best way to do this is to place a level over the template when positioning the template up against the bathroom wall. Position the level and template so that they are both level, and then make your pencil mark.

Next center one of the towel bar mounting brackets over one of the pencil marks, and mark two additional marks on the bathroom wall, in the two openings of the mounting bracket.

These marks represent the locations for where the screws will go through the mounting bracket. Repeat the process on the other side of the towel bar.

Now, if not planning to mount the towel bar over a wall stud, use a drill and a ¼” or 5/16” drill bit, and drill pilot holes into the wall at the pencil mark locations targeted for the towel bar mounting bracket screws.

Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet

Next, use a hammer and carefully tap the plastic folded wall anchors into the drywall so that they are flush with the bathroom wall surface.

Then fasten the towel bar mounting brackets to the wall using the screws provided with the towel bar kit. Make sure to not over-tighten the screws into the plastic folded wall anchors.

If you plan to fasten the towel bar mounting bracket to wall studs, you can skip the steps of drilling pilot holes and using the folded wall hangers. Simply fasten the mounting bracket to the wall making sure the screws penetrate into the wall studs.

Next, place one of the towel bar side mounts over a side mounting bracket, and snug it down to the bracket by tightening the small set screw. 

A single set screw should be located on the bottom side of the towel bar side mount, and will most likely require a small Allan wrench to tighten it.

Finally, place one end of the towel bar into the slot of the installed towel bar side mount, and then position the other end of the towel bar into the other loose side mount. While holding the towel bar and the not-already-installed towel mount together, slide the not-already-installed towel mount over the other mounting bracket. Tighten up the set screw on the side mount and your towel bar installation project is complete.

For help on your bathroom remodeling project, see my Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective bathroom remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive bathroom remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

Related Information on Installing Bathroom Fixtures

Additional Bathroom Remodeling Design Resources

Get Free Bathroom Remodeling Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on bathroom remodeling from one of our prescreened and licensed bathroom remodeling contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your bathroom renovation price estimate.