wall anchor repair/replace help

In the bath, we put up one of those double-tier towel racks and, of course, it's 30" long which means I can only anchor one end in a stud...the other end had to go into drywall. Rather than use those tiny plastic expansion anchors that come with the rack (beyond useless), I used a molly anchor.
A few weeks ago I noticed what looked like the wall puckering outward around the end of the towel rack with the anchors (not the screws into the stud). Sure enough, the drywall in a 2" oval is puckered/bowed out and the wall is soft/flexible there.
It looks like I may have hit an old repair, or the horizontal seam of the drywall, as the top of the oval is actually straight, like a seam.
Obviously Plan Z would be to cut the bad section of wall out, patch, repair, re-paint. But we JUST painted the bathroom, and I'm loathe to have to do that section of wall again, given the long list of other projects I have to tackle before our niece moves in next month.
So my question: any ideas on how to give a solid mounting surface to this one end of the towel rack that's got bad drywall? Some trick to insert a piece of 1x3 or such (for screwing the rack's bracket into) inside the drywall without creating too large a hole to cover?
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Not unless the other side of the wall is in a closet. Any possibility a toggle bolt will work?
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Kyle wrote:

You could install a 36" 1x4 (oak or whatever matches the cabinets) and then attach the towel rack to that.
It would cover the damaged drywall and would be plenty strong. (you'd be able to hit three studs)
If you have time (and tools) you could make the edges look less 1x4ish with a router or by attaching 3/4" quarter round or similar trim.
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I had a similar problem with a light fixture above a bath mirror. The box was improperly installed and there was a vent pipe in the wall that made reinforcing that area extremely difficult. Ran a 1/2x6 the width of the mirror just above the mirror such that it almost looked like the mirror was framed in, anchored to 2 or three studs, then put a retrofit box in the 1/2x6. Worked out quite well.
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Ditto...easiest way to go...Will never be a problem again....
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I had a problem similar to yours. After patching and replacing towel rods umpteen times, I finally put up a board, screwed into studs, and fastened the towel rods to the board. Problem solved. Another solution, which you probably have considered, would be to buy rods of suitable length to anchor both ends to studs.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

I think most of us on here have BTDT at least once, towel bars being a classic first venture into home DIY repair.
When SWMBO says the wood rail is too ugly (and she probably will), other cure, if you can't find a suitable bar the right length to hit the studs, is to sink the wood rail into the wall. Cut out a strip of drywall across 3 studs, landing halfway on the end studs. Screw in a wood patch, just like you were doing a drywall patch, and mud it into the wall. Only fussy part is getting the paint job and texture to match the field of the drywall.
Note for people doing a bathroom gut job or building new- this is a great reason to put horizontal blocking between the studs everywhere you think people may want to hang towel bars and such. Don't forget around the tub enclosure, for the grab bars you or next owner will eventually want to put there. Make sure to keep a digram of where the blocking is, say on the inside of the access cover for the tub faucet, that you are also including as part of the (re)construction.
-- aem sends...
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wrote:

Remove the rack, patch/paint the damage and then use two towel "rings" mounted at the studs?
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Oren wrote:

I had to put a ring in, due to the tiny size of my bathroom precluding another full-length bar for the second towel. I quickly realized that while they are okay for hand towels by the sink, they suck for bath sheets. The towel gets too bunched up to dry in a timely fashion.
Side question- why on earth do they put towel bars in the tub enclosure? Other than wet laundry or a wash cloth or three, what good are they? Not like you can leave a dry towel hanging there if you are using the shower.
-- aem sends...
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wrote:

I contemplate this exact same question every time I take a shower and lay eyes on the long towel bar in our shower enclosure. WTF? We hang our rubber foot mat up there, but that's about all it's good for.
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It gives her something to hold onto so she doesn't fall, if youknowhati'msayin'...
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Use a toggle bolt in that hole. Its a lot stronger than plastic anchors and it will take a lot more to break it off the sheetrock, and when it does, you can repair it then. But for now, the toggle bolt is a good and easy fix. I did it to my towel rack and its still solid.
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Kyle | 2009-07-18 | 4:14:44 PM wrote:

Cut the crossbars to 24" (or whatever) so that the mounting screws hit studs on both ends.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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Thanks all for the suggestions on possible solutions to the towel rack dilemma.
To provide feedback on some of the ideas:
Towel rings - solution of last resort. Wife really likes the double- tiered towel rack because I like the bath sheet (BIG towel) being 6' 5" and all that and there's not enough room on a simple rack or rings.
Toggle bolts - not a solution; the wall is already bowed/damaged in a diameter larger than any toggle bolt, meaning the bolt's just going to exacerbate the problem.
Mounting plate - actually am considering it, and have a router to finish the edges off nicely; only downside is the double-rack will now be an additional 3/4" inch further off the wall in a fairly compact bathroom, and did I mention I'm a good sized man?
Recessed mounting plate - might be the most favorable solution, as long as I can figure out how to finish the seam between the plate and the drywall
Solution I'm also pondering (whilst drying off from my shower this morning) is a variation on what /aem/ talks about with a horizontal blocking...cutting a small bit of the damaged wall out - small enough the rack mount would conceal - and seeing if I can slip a mini-plate behind the wall, something maybe 1/2" thick, an inch wide and long enough to distribute the weight of the rack and towels over a greater area of the wall.
Will let y'all know what happens...
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