Two obstacles to wallpapering my bathroom walls are the towel rack and
toilet paper holder. Both appear to be glued to the walls, not just slid
onto concealed metal attachments. I can probably get them off without
damaging them by working a razor blade around the edges. But what
adhesive would I use to reattach them?
I'm also concerned with simply gluing them to wallpaper rather than
directly to the underlying sheet rock. Maybe I'm overly concerned
because the four-towel set and toilet paper don't weigh very much and
probably can't overpower the wallpaper adhesive and separate the
wallpaper from the sheet rock.
I'd be strongly disinclined to glue them to the paper. Unless they're
ceramic, I'd recommend mounting them using a more traditional method -
either toggle bolts, or screws directly into the studs, if that's are
convenient. If they're securely attached, you might consider leaving
them as is and papering around them.
Maybe that really is how they attached, and someone did a really nice
caulking job around the edges. But poking the edges with a pointy knife
doesn't "indent" whatever it is. It's hard like a grout, not soft like
even an aged caulk would be.
That's what I would love to do. And I can do that with the toilet paper
holder. But papering around the towel rack is a particular problem
because I can't remove the bar between the two ends. Here's the photo:
I know new bars are cheap enough, but I really like this one, mainly
because it has a square bar. (The actual color is white, contrary to how
it appears in the photo.)
I found a replacement bar in Home Depot, so I cut the old bar and
removed it. Contrary to my expectations, there were no spring devices at
the ends to keep it in the end pieces. Originally, all three pieces were
fastened to the wall at once as an assembly.
The replacement bar has springs at both ends. The only problem is that
the replacement is 3/4" square, while the original was 7/8". So the
replacement has a little play in the twist direction. I have to figure a
way of increasing the end thickness by 1/8" inch. Maybe some toothpicks
to keep it centered, then a bead of caulk on all four sides. Any other
It appears to be the kind of towel rack that would be installed in a
tiled bathroom, attached to a tile or cement wall using "mud". You can
probably shear them off by hitting with a hammer on one side. I expect
they might be destroyed in the process, and you would need to grind or
chip off the remaining cement.
If there is something at one end that can be compressed, you may be able
to remove the bar. Did you try pressing the bar to either side?
(Is wall paper suitable for use near a shower?)
There is only about 1/8" play side-to-side; definitely no spring to
allow removing the bar.
Thanks for raising a good point that I hadn't considered about the
shower. This is just a guest bathroom, which will get very little use,
especially the shower. When I went to the wallpaper store, I showed a
picture to the sales gal, and took along a towel and a picture of the
shower curtain for a color match, so she knew the intended use and
should have warned me of a potential problem if she were honest.
I just called the store to double check. As long as the shower/tub area
is tiled right to the ceiling (no wallpaper in that area) and there is
an exhaust fan, which there is, she didn't see any problems.
Having read the responses thus far, these are my thoughts...
Your towel bar appears to be mortared in. The hard "caulk" is grout.
Towel bars like yours - those I am familiar with - have sort of a
protruding plug on the wall side that is smaller than the base you see and
about 1/4" thick. The plug is mortared to the wall and then tile is
applied around the perimeter, any void or joint then being filled with
grout. Since you don't have tile, I'm guessing they cut a recess in the
drywall for the plug, mortared it into that and then grouted.
There is no reason you can't have wallpaper in a bathroom. Obviously, you
don't put it in a shower. I also wouldn't use paper wallpaper; paper or
(better) cloth backed vinyl, yes.
I don't see any reason why you couldn't hang wall covering without
removing anything, including the bar. Yes, you will most likely have to
make a horizontal cut; NP, won't show when stuck down again.
If I wanted to remove the ceramic ends, I would first cut out the grout.
There are special tools for doing so but a hack saw will work...cut all
around until the ceramic is encountered, then wiggle/pry/pull. Gently.
It may or may not come out easily.
Another way is to cut out the drywall around them. You would have to
patch the DW but you should be able to clean up the fixture easily once
you can get to the back.
I've used a couple of things to stick stuff onto walls where I couldn't
use a fastener. I stuck up a safelight to a painted concrete wall with
white glue. It was there for 13 years and when I moved my studio I took
it with me. It was not easy to remove from the wall.
I used silicone to afix a towel bar to a wall in my Honolulu condo. It
was (is) a wooden, accordian type thing with several pegs and ornately
carved from sissoo wood. There was no good place to put fasteners plus
the wall was concrete so I used the silicone. On top of vinyl wallpaper.
It was on the wall for 16 years, took it with me when we left. In both
cases - towel holder and safelight - I had to use something to support
them while the adhesive dried; IIRC, I just used masking tape.
Yes, even though the bar of the towel bar can't be removed, I think
what people do is paper half-way up or more between the brackets, and
then paper half-way down from above, so there's a seam or overlap in the
paper. With planning, the pattern won't be messed up, though if you
strive for overlap, some paper will be wasted. But no more planning is
required than between vertical pieces.
Another thing you could do is use some wood molding or something to mark
off an area around the towell bar, and even possibly the toilet paper
holder. If I had taste, I could give you more details, but the molding
might the same one might use to run around the room where the top of
wainscotting would be, Or if you're looking for modern, it might not
even be wood. Or anything else. If 45^ angles are a problem rather
than an opportunity, I'm sure a picture frame store could make what
would fit there, with you providing the material and dimensions.
Finally, you could hang the toilet paper from the towel bar and then
you'd have only one problem.
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