The bathroom paper towel holder is loose and can't be hold anymore. It was anchored on the drywall I believe. This is caused by the hole was broken.

Please see the images.

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Do I need to buy a drywall to fix it? But it is too small. Thanks for your ideas.

2 Answers 2


Yes, you need to add drywall if you want to fix it so it's strong enough to hold the TP holder.

Since you have to make the repair anyway, might as well do a better job. You'll have to remove the other side of the TP holder too.

Find the location of the studs on either side of where the TP holder and make a mark 3/4" past the edge of the stud so it's in the center of the stud. Measure the distance between those marks. That's the width of your patch.

Next measure the vertical distance of the damaged drywall area. Not just the hole put poker your finger to test if there's any damaged gypsum that's still held together by the paper. This should be less than the vertical distance between the screws that mount the TP holder to the wall. If not then use that distance as a reference.

Cut out a rectangular piece of drywall to those dimensions. They sell partial sheets of drywall at the home centers so you don't have to buy and transport a full sheet. Place the patch over the area between the 4 marks you made and trace out the shape then cut out along those lines with a jab saw.

When you're buying the drywall also get a piece of lumber at least 1.5" wider than the height of the patch. So if the patch is 4" high get a 2x6 (5.5" height) cut to fit between the two studs. If you have any plumbing or wiring it might be easier to get a 1x instead of 2x. The can cut it to length for you at the home center if you don't have a saw and provide them with the measurement.

You're going to attach that piece of lumber behind the patch. You can toenail it to the studs but I think it's easier to use pocket screws. A Kreg Mini Pocket Hole Jig is fairly cheap and comes in handy for a number of projects. (I have written a comparison of Kreg Pocket Hole Jigs on my DIY blog if you're interested in buying a different model for other projects.)

Drive a long drywall screw part way in the center of the face of the lumber so you have something to hold on to. It may be helpful to draw some guidelines along the top and bottom 3/4" in from the edge to help align the piece if you don't think you can eyeball it.

Slide the lumber into the hole you cut out, align it so you have enough space to drive drywall screws into it from the existing drywall top and bottom and secure it to the side studs by either toenailing or driving screws through the pocket holes.

Place your patch and secure it with screws. Drive some screws around the existing drywall into the lumber you added to keep that from moving around and cracking the joint. Then tape and mud the patch. You may need to carefully remove the side of the door trim to do this.

When you reinstall the TP holder use wood screws that are long enough to securely fasten into the lumber you installed. It will now be strong enough to hold up to someone's death grip on it because they didn't have enough fiber or water or if they use it for some support getting off the throne.

Here's an illustration that might make it easier to understand. The drywall on the front is semi-transparent so you can see the framing behind it. Actually I just remembered you don't need to cut past the edge of the stud (the width) if you're putting framing behind it.

enter image description here

  • How to holder the lumber? I found it is hollow behind the drywall.
    – Love
    Dec 22, 2013 at 16:48
  • It's hollow behind the drywall because it is in the middle of a stud bay. You need to make the patch wider so that you can see about 3/4" of each vertical wooden stud. There will be a vertical stud on each side of the hollow area. I'm sure there's a Q&A on this site about how to locate studs. Dec 22, 2013 at 16:55
  • @Love I added an illustration that should hopefully make the instructions easier to understand. Dec 22, 2013 at 18:06
  • It is helpful but if I attach a lumber to stub, the front surface will not be plain. Because the lumber is in front of the stubs and the patched drywall is in in front of the lumber. The original stub didn't have the lumber. I mean that there is additional lumber thickness to be considered.
    – Love
    Dec 22, 2013 at 21:51
  • @Love take a closer look at the illustration. It's not in front of the studs, it's flush with them. That's why you have to toenail or use pocket hole screws. Dec 22, 2013 at 23:13

With the hole in the wall, you now know where the two nearest studs are.

One option to consider is to simply patch the hole (maybe both, including where the other mount is) and remount the holder vertically.

A vertically mounted holder allows both ends to be securely fixed into a stud without any hassle to construct a cross mount. Vertical installation also eliminates the "discussion" of whether the toilet paper should be installed to come out from the wall by going up or down—over the top or from underneath.

  • Sounds a good plan, I can locate the left stub by working my finger in and touching it. How about the right one? And how to simple patch the hole?
    – Love
    Dec 22, 2013 at 21:46
  • @Love: You may want to move the right one, especially if it wasn't well placed to begin with. Besides being easy to reach, it should also be out of the way of hanging towels, and large people using the toilet. There are over a 100,000 videos on Youtube which show patching a hole in a wall.
    – wallyk
    Dec 22, 2013 at 22:14

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