Wood Backing Board to Keep Your Towel Bar with No Studs in Place

This is a guide for mounting towel bars and grab bars where there are no studs. You can use this guide to mount your towel bar or grab bar in the corner of a room, on a bathroom wall, or anywhere else that you need one. This will allow you to install long-reach towel bars and grab bars without having to worry about the towel bar ripping off because it’s not attached to a stud.

It is best to mount towel bars or grab bars directly to a stud. But studs are typically 16 feet and towel bars are typically 24 or 36 feet. For added stability, you can use a piece of wood mounted to the studs, then screw the towel bar one end into the stud, and one end into the wood backing piece. This will make sure that your towel bar won’t rip out, and will be more secure than using a drywall anchor.

What is a wood backing board

A wood backing board is a piece of wood that is mounted to the studs in order to provide a surface for screws to attach a towel bar or grab bar. This is a necessary step if your towel bar or grab bar does not have both ends hit a stud, for example, if it is longer than 16 feet, the typical stud spacing. By using a wood backing board screwed to studs, then attaching the towel bar to the wood backing board, you can ensure that your towel bar or grab bar is securely attached and will not move around.

How to install wood backing board and towel bar with no studs

1. Find the studs in your wall, using a stud finder if you need assistance.

2. Measure the distance between the two ends of the towel bar, and add an extra half inch on either side.

3. Cut the wood to size using a saw. Sand and stain your wood backing board.

4. Use a pencil and measure out where you will need to drill in order to make screws go directly into the studs when attaching your towel bar or grab bar. The good thing about this project is that because of the positioning of studs, it doesn’t matter what side your screw attaches to. The other side will attach to the stud, so you can just measure out the locations for your screw holes.

5. Drill into your wood using a drill and drill bit that is slightly smaller than the size of your screws. If your wood is thin enough, you should be able to do this with a hand drill as well.

6. Sand down rough edges of wood.

7. Mount your board to studs using screws. Make sure the screws are long enough to not go all the way through your board, but strong enough that they can strongly attach it to studs. We put in two screws into each stud.  Make sure that you use screws that are long, but not bulky and that the head of the screw is small enough to fit into board without creating a large hole.

8. Attach towel bar or grab bar using appropriate hardware to one end only. Do not screw all the way in, leave about 1/16 to 1/8 inch away from surface. Attach the other end of towel bar or grab bar to board using screws, leaving about 1/16 inch space between towel bar or grab bar and surface of the board.

9. Make sure that there is ample space between your board, wall, and bars so that they can fit flush against each other.

10. Readjust board and bars if necessary and tighten hardware and screw holes as needed. Make sure that the screws are tight enough that they don’t lose their grip, but loose enough so that bars can be slid back and forth along wood backing board. Wood moves over time so it is best to have screws that are strong, but not too tight.

Our Backing Board and Towel Bar with No Studs

Here is a wood backing board that we hand milled out of fir. We first sanded the wood with sandpaper, and then stained it, first with Varathane Classic Penetrating Wood Stain in Golden Oak, and the second coat with Golden Pecan. I love how the two different stain colors bring out the details of the saw marks. This towel bar is 36 inches, and the wood hits three different studs. The towel bar mount on the right is screwed into the wood backing piece and stud, and the left mount is screwed just into the wood backing piece.


We hope you enjoyed reading about this interesting use of hand milled lumber. We love how secure our new towel bar is. If you’re looking for a way to mount your towel bar or grab bars securely and prevent them from moving around, we recommend using wood backing boards. With this project, all you need is some basic tools like a saw and drill. We hope that this blog post has helped inspire you with the idea of how to make one of these DIY towel bar holders on your own! Enjoy your new towel bar or grab bar!

Learn More

The first place I saw the backing board idea bathroom – How do I mount this towel rack that was ripped off the wall? – Home Improvement Stack Exchange

Buy some custom cut lumber in Portland Oregon The benefits of custom cut timber – Oregon Forestry Consulting

Wildfire fuels assessment by Oregon Forestry Consulting: Wildfire Fuels Assessment and Mitigation – Oregon Forestry Consulting

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