I need to mount a vertical rod that will hold a handheld shower head. There are two brackets.

The lower one will go into the fiberglass shower stall. No sheet rock behind it, no stud. The water pipes are in the way to install a horizonal 2 x 4 between studs. I plan on using adhesive to glues a 12" square of 3/4 ply to the back of the shower stall and then use toggle bolts there.

The upper on has to mount on drywall above the shower stall. Same problem with not being able to install a 2x4 between studs. Could I do the same thing as the bottom? Back the sheet rock with a large piece of 3/4 ply?

Other solutions?

  • How thick is the wall? Could you install post ends to screw into which go far away from the shower wall to avoid the pipes, etc.?
    – wallyk
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 6:37
  • If there's room and sufficient access, I'd be inclined to add a vertical support to carry the load down to the floor, something like a 3x1 plank flat against the back of the drywall/fibreglass. Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 11:21

2 Answers 2


Your idea is pretty good; however, I'd be concerned about the load on the fiberglass wall.

Try to get a sideways piece of 2x6 or 2x8 between the studs. If the pipes are in the way, you'll have to notch them a little. (Probably the easiest method is to set a partial depth on a circular saw, cut a couple of kerfs and lever the waste out with a chisel or even a sturdy flat blade screwdriver.)

If the pipes are too close to the plane of the wall and you can't connect one side of the 2x8 to the stud, then you could run an upright partial stud (also on the flat) from the plate to the 2x8s.

  • Wall is 24 on studs. Shower is backed to walk in closet, would have to dismantle wall of closet to open up more space. Side wall is outside of house. Spacing of studs is 24". The stud I can get at is carrying the water pipes and control, not much room to nail a horizonal plate .
    – Gary
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 17:09
  • In that case, I'd be tempted to add ply behind the drywall of the upper mount (just like you said), and screw through the other wall to stack 3.5 inches of material where you need the bottom mount. (2x4 on the flat + 1/2" ply + 2-3/4" ply = 3.5") Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 23:05

What if you put a metal strap between or across the studs and use self-tapping screws, or drill through and use toggles.

Something like the image just below, or something like the type of adjustable bracing you see on recessed light cans.

The metal would be strong, but thin enough to go even over the tops of the studs without completely fouling up your fiberglass and sheetrock installation, although you could also use shallow notches in the studs to make the brace flush.

Or you could potentially notch into the studs and inset horizontal 2x2 or 1x2 wood braces, in which case I'd probably cut some of that 3/4" plywood into strips and use that, recessed into notches so it's flush with the wall, and screwed into the studs. And if I did that, I'd probably make it a little wider than 2" vertically so I could screw it to the stud top and bottom and have more beef there to handle torsional loads (like when you slip in the shower and grab that bar).

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  • Here's what I'm going to do: Adding a horizonal 2x4 running between two studs. It will be on edge. Putting the 3/4 ply against the f/g (glue) and then shimming between the ply and the stud to get it solid. New problem: Just drilled the shower, found out the shower is two layers of fg with space (foam?) between them. If I screw thru the shower into the ply/studs, it will probably oil can. Only thing I can think of is to put a 1" hole in exterior of shower so that it can but up against the 3/4 ply and take compression loads. Any other suggestions?
    – Gary
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 2:36
  • Pictures? :-) The shower rod ends probably have caps that will butt up against the fiberglass for a neat finish, I'm guessing? You're probably okay using a hole saw to make a big enough hole to screw the brackets down hard against the plywood underneath. You might even put a wood shim in there the same thickness as the fg so that the brackets sit flush with the fg. Caulk the heck out of it then snug the end caps down. That's all presuming the end caps will cover the holes. If round holes won't work, maybe cut the openings more precisely with a Dremel-type tool. Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 4:44

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