I'm looking to install a new towel rack that was longer then the previous one. Unfortunately the only position that works seems to place one of the ends right over a protector plate. I'm guessing that this is a protector plate due to being hard to drill through. What options do I have, if any, to mount something over a protector plate?

And if this isn't advised, is there a tool that can help me find the edges of this plate so I an mount in the areas around it?

  • use magnet to find the edges
    – Traveler
    Dec 11, 2022 at 20:08

3 Answers 3


A protector plate is usually about two or three inches long.

They are use to protect plumbing and/or electric wires/cables.

Neither is fun to drill into.

Would go up or down a couple of inches and try again

  • 1
    Four inches up or down, +1.
    – Mazura
    Dec 12, 2022 at 21:28

If you've hit a protector plate, STOP. It is possible to get through, but you definitely don't want to do that, because the protector plates are there for very important reasons. The other problem is that the alternatives to "nice long screws into studs" is usually hollow wall anchors of some sort, and those won't work with a protector plate in the way.

There are two solutions:

  • Move a few inches horizontally or vertically. Horizontally has the advantage of keeping the towel bar at the same height, which can help both aesthetically and practically. Moving it vertically has the advantage that, assuming the protector plate was covering a stud, you still hit the stud.
  • Mount a piece of wood to the wall and mount the towel bar to the wood.

The second option is a little more work, but if planned in advance actually makes things much more flexible. It pretty much eliminates the horizontal restriction in general, because as long as the wood is screwed into two studs, the towel bar (or other thing attached to the wood) doesn't have to be "stud bay width" or lined up with the studs. You can use ordinary wood (1x3, 2x4, plywood, etc.) painted or stained to match the decor of the room, or sometimes find finished wood that looks good as is. It also helps cover up any holes from previous stuff.


steel is a lot stronger than drywall, and this fact can be used to conceal a maounting bracket beneath the surface of the wall.

Cut the drywall away over the protector plate and screw a metal plate to the stud what has been tapped to accept machine screws or similar(*). then repair the drywall damage and screw the wall furniture to the metal plate,

You could drive a self drilling metal screw through the new plate and then grind the tip off prior to fitting the plate - this gets you a tapped hole without learning metalwork or investing in taps etc..

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Be sure to follow the order of operations above, that tip will go through a protector plate no problem to the tip, but to severe detriment to whatever is behind the plate, so use it only on the added plate, then remove the drill tip, you can strike it with hammer to break it off or cut it with a grinder etc.

  • A bit elaborate for a towel bar no? :). But if you had an art gallery and had to hang something at the exact height to match everything else, and installing a nicely stained hunk of oak over the wall was not an option, this might save the day. +1 for solving the problem without compromise.
    – jay613
    Dec 12, 2022 at 14:35
  • It all depends on how important is is lo locate that rail in that position.
    – Jasen
    Dec 13, 2022 at 8:12

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