How to Install a Toilet Paper Roll Holder
To properly install a toilet paper holder on drywall or ceramic tiles, you need to first install conical wall anchors.
No bathroom is complete without a functioning toilet paper holder that's within easy reach of the toilet and firmly secured to the wall. Many homeowners fall short of fulfilling the second requirement by improperly installing the holder on drywall. Even glue holds better than screws driven directly into drywall without anchors, but glue can also fail in the moist environment of a bathroom, and you seldom need it. To ensure your toilet paper is always right where you need it, add one simple step to the installation procedure: Install wall anchors.
Choose a spot for the toilet paper holder. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends placing it 8 to 12 inches in front of the toilet and 26 inches above the floor. If you're installing it on drywall, it's best if you can place one of the brackets in front of a stud, but if you can't, no worries.
Unpack the roller, the brackets and the roller holders from the box and remove the instruction sheet. It should contain a template to help you space the brackets properly on the wall. Hold the template flat against the wall, level it with a torpedo level and make marks on the wall for the brackets, as indicated by the template.
Place one of the brackets on one end of the line with the two screw holes straddling the line at equal distances, arrange the bracket so the screw holes are exactly vertical, then mark the positions of the screw holes on the wall, using a felt-tip marker. Mark the holes for the other bracket in the same way.
Drill holes for screw anchors. Conical plastic anchors are usually supplied with a new holder; if you have to buy some, make sure they are the same gauge as the screws you're using. You don't need screw anchors if the holes are in front of a stud, or if you're mounting the holder on wood paneling. Use a drill bit with the same diameter as the end of the anchor closest to the screw hole.
Insert the anchors in the holes. If the holes are the right size, you'll have to tap the anchors lightly with a hammer to get them to go in. When fully inserted, the front edge of each one should be flush with the wall.
Screw the mounting brackets to the anchors, using a screwdriver and the screws that came with the paper holder or 1 5/8- to 2-inch wood screws.
Loosen the set screw on one of the roller holders, using a screwdriver or a 1/8-inch hex wrench. Fit the holder onto the bracket and secure it by tightening the set screw. Mount the other holder in the same way.
If you don't have a template, measure the length of the roller with a tape measure, then measure the offset of the part of one of the holders that supports the roller from its center. Double this offset, add it to the length of the roller and draw a level line that long on the wall, using a torpedo level as a guide.
If you're installing the paper holder on ceramic tiles, drill the holes with a masonry bit.
To prevent the set screws from backing out, which loosens the holders and causes the toilet paper to fall, remove each set screw and dab a little thread-locking compound on it before installing the holder.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.