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Unread 06-16-2022, 03:55 PM   #1
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Towel bar and toilet paper holder

I am installing 4 1/4” square tile with a recessed toilet paper holder and towel bar ends. The towel bar ends are the size of one tile. I am installing over hardie backer. The tile is from Heritage Tile.

I am having trouble finding much online about how to install these items. Any guidance or tips would be super helpful.

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Unread 06-16-2022, 04:36 PM   #2
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I think that I'd treat the towel bar ends as if they were a tile. The overlay on the toilet paper holder isn't very large, and I think that I'd use some color matched or clear silicone caulk/sealant to hold it into the hole.

Given their shape, especially the towel bar ends, you may want to use some tape to hold them in place while the mortar cures. I'm guessing that you'll need to install the towel bar as you're mounting them, and that will add some extra weight that could make the ends come out or tip some.
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Unread 06-16-2022, 05:19 PM   #3
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We've used white thinset for those although the silicone would work too. Just add plenty of thinset to the edges of the paper holder so that it bonds to the edge of the Hardie. On the towel bar, I'd put about the same amount of thinset as you would a tile with a little extra in the middle. Tape them up over night for sure.

Years ago my dad would wad up a bunch of news paper and stuff it thru the hole in the wall. Then we would mix up a few hand fulls of casting plaster and butter the back of the paper holder and mash it into the news paper. All it took was a couple minutes and you couldn't pull it off the wall.

Once he sent me down to the truck to mix another batch of casting plaster. So I did and by the time I got it back up stairs it was hard. Seems like it was about 95 degrees that day. He let me know that I was going to have to pick up the pace.

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Unread 06-17-2022, 07:22 AM   #4
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I'm thinking along the same lines as Davy. I wonder if you can put a big ball of thinset on the back of that paper holder and have the wall behind help support it?

Otherwise, there really isn't a lot of surface area to grab to.

I think I would get some silicone in the same color as the grout and silicone around it. That'll help hold it too.
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Unread 06-17-2022, 09:28 AM   #5
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We did and still do the plaster thing, it never comes off.
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Unread 06-17-2022, 09:47 AM   #6
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We used to smear thinset on the back and then gob on unsanded grout. Push it in and clean the grout from around the edge. Get it in all the way, and it won't come out. I've done hundreds of them, maybe thousands of them.
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Unread 06-17-2022, 01:29 PM   #7
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The towel rod is just like a tile (or thinset-mount shelf), as others have noted. If you don't already have spring-loaded caps for your towel rod, I would recommend getting some (they're cheap) and then you can put the rod in after the ends have set. For the toilet paper holder, you have to cut out the space from the HardieBacker first to recess it (and of course make sure it's clear of a stud behind). We were going to use a fully recessed soap dish in our shower, which is the same installation as the toilet paper holder, and the manufacturer instructions were to apply thinset to the back (which will press against the other side of the wall in the cavity) and then silicone around the flange that will sit over the tile. For a non-wet location I imagine thinset would also work for that too, though. I chickened out over worries about waterproofing so we didn't install ours in the end, although may still try to use it with the sink backsplash.
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