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A towel hanger fastened with a drywall fastener has been ripped out of the wall. How can I repair the hole and reattach the towel hanger?

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If you are flexible about the location that the towel bar is mounted then there is a relatively easy path to getting this repaired. There are two main steps involved with this. If you really want to keep the towel hanger in the same location then there is another way you could repair it in place but it involves more work. It's not really hard to do but takes longer to patch it up.

Remounting the towel hanger

  1. Find and loosen the screw or hex head set screw that allows the mounting bracket part of the towel hanger to be removed from the decorative outer shell.

  2. Remove the old molly bolt screw from the bracket and discard the old fastener.

  3. Locate a stud in the wall where you can accept having the towel bar mounted. (A stud finder tool can be handy for this but you can also use a magnet to find screws or nails that hold the drywall to the studs knowing that there is a stud behind the screw).

  4. Mount the bracket at the new location over the stud. Use screws long enough to penetrate the drywall and about 1" into the stud. This would likely be a screw of length 1.5. to 1.75". Some brackets take 1 screw and some 2 or three. Note that it will be best to predrill pilot holes for the screws. They will go in easier and prevent splitting the stud.

  5. Remount the towel bar itself onto the bracket and tighten the screw / hex set screw that secures the towel bar to the bracket.

Patching the old hole

  1. The hole can be easily patched using one of the popular small patch repair kits that you can purchase at the big box store. These have a stickon plastic or metal grid or web piece that has adhesive on the back. Peel off the backer and paste it onto the wall surface centered over the old hole.

  2. Follow directions with the kit to apply successive layers of drywall mud over the patch and feather it out for about 6 - 8 inches on each side of the repair site. Depending on how nice you can apply each coat of the drywall compound it may or may not be necessary to sand between coats. After the feathered out coats are dry you can sand the surface smooth.

  3. Since the present wall is textured you will want to apply some texture in the patch area. There are available spray cans if texture material that you can purchase at the big box store. These will sputter out a coating of material similar to drywall mud to leave a texture on the wall area. When using these spray cans it is advisable to practice first on some scrap plywood, cardboard or similar material to get the hang of applying the texture material.

  4. After the texture has dried then prime the rework area with a good quality wall primer paint.

  5. Finally you can repaint the patch area with paint to match the rest of the wall area. If the wall area where the patch is located is relatively small you may want to consider repainting that whole surface from corner to corner and top to bottom. The repainting will be much less noticeable that way.

Repairing in existing location

  1. You would start by marking and then cutting out the damaged drywall area in a rectangular area about 2.5" x 4". Use an inexpensive hand drywall hole cutter saw for this.

  2. Acquire a piece of pine 1x3 that is about 8 to 9 inches long. (That size of board will be just narrower than the width of the hole you have cut out). Attach a drywall screw partway into the center of one flat face of this piece of board and then tie a long string to that drywall screw.

  3. Fit the wood piece into the hole in the wall. Lower it in so that the whole thing goes in the wall behind the hole with the length of the board inline with the long dimension of your hole. Use the string to pull the board up against the inside face of the wall and then you can use the drywall screw as a handle to hold the board in place.

  4. Install some drywall screws through the existing drywall about 1/2 inch from the hole and into the 1x3 pine board. I would use two screws side by side above and below the hole. Use a hand screw driver to install the screws because easy does it. When the screws approach the almost in state finish off with them just dimpling the surface of the drywall and not tearing through the paper. (Too easy to mess this up with a power driver in this case).

  5. When the board is installed you can remove the string and the handle screw.

  6. After this you need a small piece of drywall that will just fit in the hole and back up against the wood board behind it. If you do not have some drywall pieces laying around they sell smallish 2 foot by 2 foot pieces at big box stores.

  7. Screw the small piece of drywall in place using two drywall screws. Stay away from putting screws in the center are.

  8. Patch over this hole. You can do this with a medium sized stick on drywall patch repair kit and follow the steps I mentioned above including the texture and painting.

  9. Once the hole is all patched up you can remount the towel bar bracket as described before with regular type screws. The screws will go into center area of that 1x3 board instead of over a stud. This repair will secure the towel bracket for all but the very most aggressive treatment of the towel hanger.

Good Luck.

  • Thanks a lot, it seems the original mounting location is not against a stud. Is there any easy way to fix it in place? – J.W. Jun 3 '15 at 4:13
  • There is another way you could repair it in place but it involves more work. It's not really hard to do but takes longer to patch it up. You would start by marking and then cutting out the damaged drywall area in a rectangular area about 2.5" x 4". Use an inexpensive hand drywall hole cutter saw for this. Next you acquire a piece of pine 1x3 that is about 8 to 9 inches long. (That size of board will be just narrower than the width of the hole you have cut out). Attach a drywall screw partway into the center of one flat face of this piece of board and then tie a long string to (continued) – Michael Karas Jun 3 '15 at 4:25
  • (continued from above) that drywall screw. Next fit the wood piece into the hole in the wall. Lower it in so that the whole thing goes in the wall behind the hole with the length if the board inline with the long dimension of your hole. Use the string to pull the board up against the inside face of the wall and then you can use the drywall screw as a handle to hold the board in place. Next you will want to install some drywall screws through the existing drywall about 1/2 inch from the hole and into the 1x3 pine board. I would use two screws side by side above and below the hole. (continued) – Michael Karas Jun 3 '15 at 4:31
  • (continued from above) Use a hand screw driver to install the screws because easy does it. When the screws approach the almost in state finish off with them just dimpling the surface of the drywall and not tear through the paper. (Too easy to mess this up with a power driver in this case). When the board is installed you can remove the string and the handle screw. After this you need a small piece of drywall that will just fit in the hole and back up against the wood board behind it. If you do not have some drywall pieces laying around they sell smallish 2 foot by 2 foot pieces (continued) – Michael Karas Jun 3 '15 at 4:37
  • (continued from above) at big box stores. You can screw this small piece of drywall in place using two drywall screws. Stay away from putting screws in the center are. Then you want to patch over this hole. You can do this with a medium sized stick on drywall patch repair kit and follow the steps I mentioned in the answer above including the texture and painting. Once the hole is all patched up you can remount the towel bar bracket as described before with regular type screws but install them into the center area of that 1x3 board instead of over a stud. This (continued) – Michael Karas Jun 3 '15 at 4:43
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I would suggest calling a carpenter. Most of the potential solutions involve rebuilding the wall which will require a skilled tradesman or someone with significant handyman capability. There is no easy 30-minute solution that will work well and you could do by yourself.

  • 2
    Rebuilding the wall? – Edwin Jun 3 '15 at 3:59

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