DEAR MIKE: My kids thought it might be fun to do some chin-ups on one of my towel bars. Consequently, the towel bar came out of the wall. Although it didn't come out completely, it's just hanging on by a screw. How can I fix it? -- Brett A.
DEAR BRETT: I'm glad your children have seen the benefits of exercise. Not only can they build strong bodies, but they can also drive their old man crazy in the process.
I am assuming that your towel bar was mounted in drywall; if they were in a stud, it likely wouldn't have come out. Towel bars usually come loose because the hole in the drywall becomes elongated and enlarged, and the screw and anchor pop out of the wall. Fortunately, there is a quick and inexpensive answer.
The answer is an E-Z toggle. This hollow-wall anchor looks like a thick screw with some moving parts inside of it. On the rear end of it are some tall threads that bite into the drywall. A package of two costs about $3.
You can install an E-Z toggle in two easy steps. First, put the sharp teeth of the anchor against the wall and, using a Phillips-head screwdriver, turn the anchor right into the drywall at the desired location (not into a wall stud). Keep turning until the anchor is tight against the drywall.
Next, place the towel bar's mounting plate over the hole in the toggle and start driving the toggle screw (it's included in the package) into the anchor.
As you place pressure on the screw, you will engage the pivot inside the anchor. This pivot rises up and out of the shank, and comes to rest against the back side of the drywall. When the pivot is tight against the drywall, the holding power is enormous.
Screw the towel bar escutcheon to the mounting plate then challenge your kids to a contest: first one to do 10 chin-ups gets ice cream.