Towel Racks; mundane I know, but source of many calls

11 Replies

Most towel racks seem barely made for residential use, let alone commercial rental purposes. Does anyone have any nice looking towel rack suggestions that would work in rental properties that don’t have the inherent problem of always getting loose and falling down whenever someone tugs on them too hard or bumps them the wrong way ?

This is going to come down more to how it is anchored as opposed to the towel rack itself.  If you can line them up with studs and drive multiple screws, great.  If however you cannot, look for the best applicable anchor that can hold the most weight.  There are many options that will hold hundreds of pounds.

If you are going down to studs in a bathroom, always put in horizontal 2x4's between studs at the level of the towel bar.  Then you always have solid wood to screw into. Mounted this way, most towel bars will last a long time.

@David R. I have mounted a row of hooks on 1x3 pine...kind of a farmhouse look. You could router the edges if you feel particularly industrious.

It is easy enough to use the free standing towel holders(like this or this) and toilet paper holders.  You can supply them or have the tenants buy their own.  If you supply them and the tenant takes them with them, they can buy you new ones with their deposit.

They usually come out when they are not properly anchored. You want to secure to the stud. I take a video before move-in and show every door works, drawer works and towel rack is secure. If a tenant pulls it out of the wall, they pay for the repair. Things break only when people are hard on them. In my 20 years of home ownership, I have never had any towel bar issues.

I did have a C class property where I installed the 1X4 wood backing on the wall as someone showed in a previous post. That works well too.

It might be overkill, but you could install actual grab bars - like what you'd put in a tub or shower - as towel rails.  (Going the other way, towel rails as grab bars, doesn't work.)  If you do this, it probably helps to get them with a relatively smooth finish, instead of knurled or pebbly.  It also is a good idea to make sure they're really well fastened into the studs on both ends, because if it looks like a grab bar, somebody might reach for it one day if they start to slip.

I put grab bars in a tub a few years ago, for a relative.  Home Depot and Lowes sold grab bars that were specifically not in multiples of 16 or 24 inches long, I think so that at least one end would miss the stud.  They offer a super-duper toggle bolt for about $10 that they say will hold a grab bar, but I was skeptical.  I ended up ordering the grab bars online, because I could get them in lengths where both ends would be on the studs.  They've been in there for over 4 years now and no complaints.

The place I ordered mine from currently offers smooth grab bars, 1.25" diameter, stainless, at about $14 for a 16-inch bar, $17 for a 24-inch bar, or $19 for a 32-inch bar.  I ordered one 16-inch bar and one 32-inch bar and the shipping was $15.

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