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In attempting to fix a toilet roll holder to a wall in my bathroom, the screw within the wall plug fails to tighten and grip the bracket. It does screw in but doesn't tighten against the wall. There are 2 holes and it's the same for both. I don't believe I over tightened when screwing in.

Both the wall plugs and screws were provided in a kit with the toilet roll holder so I know I haven't picked the wrong size. I also installed this same toilet roll holder in a different bathroom and had no problems.

What is the problem if the screw spins but the wall plug doesn't? Is there a way to resolve this problem without repairing the holes?

The screws are 35mm, the wall plug 25mm and I used a size 6 drill bit.

And yes, I am a complete newbie when it comes to DIY :). Many thanks,

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  • Just to clarify, when the screw spins and the anchor doesn't, can you pull the screw out with your fingers? If so, does the anchor come with it, or just the screw? – N8sBug Oct 4 '15 at 18:37
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You may have to pull out the anchor, fill the hole, redrill it and install a new anchor if the first one has become too misfigured. Be careful not to overtighten. You could also get some other kind of anchors like these screw in kind that hold beter.enter image description here

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@BrianK's suggestion is a good one.

If the anchor is not spinning, you may be able to create grip within the anchor so the screw will hold. A standard approach to filling oversized screw holes in wood is to fill them with wooden toothpicks, usually coated with wood glue. Once they are dry, the hole is a bit closer to a solid piece of wood and a screw can grip it more firmly.

The same can sometimes be done with a plastic anchor. Try wedging two or more wooden toothpicks in the anchor, preferably toward the sides (glue probably won't help since it doesn't tend to stick to the soft plastic in anchors).

Now when you drive the screw, the toothpicks should push outward, creating a tighter fit that may be enough to lock the screw into the anchor. If not, revert to BrianK's approach.

  • Thanks for this. Would another option be to use a hollow wall anchor fitting that grips at the back when you tighten the screw? Might be overkill in terms of the weight it will bear but i figured it would be less troublesome to drill a slightly larger hole for this type of fitting than have to fill and re-drill the hole. I could be completely wrong of course :) – Konzy262 Oct 4 '15 at 23:05
  • Take a look at this answer – bib Oct 4 '15 at 23:43
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In some cases you might have to go with a molly bolt instead. In one case, I had a screw that was "turning" but was really the anchor and screw turning where the screw was one that held in the hinging frame of a shower door. I could not remove the frame since it was contractor-adhesived onto the finished wall, so I drilled out the frame, pushed in the screw and anchor, then reversed the wings of a molly bolt, pushed it in and put washers and a nut on the bolt coming up against the frame. Cut the bolt flush, and Bob's your uncle. Took awhile, but has been solid ever since.

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