FIND A STUD
Wednesday Apr 11th, 2018
How to Hang Heavy Objects on Drywall
If you’re in the process of decorating your home, chances are you’re going to be hanging things on your wall. Some items are easy to put up with a simple nail like a small picture frame, but if you’re putting up solid oak floating shelves to display your inherited porcelain, you better make sure you’re hanging things properly.
Most walls in your home are probably made of drywall, which unfortunately are not designed to support heavy items like shelves, coat racks, mirrors and most other wall essentials. Done improperly, it’s only a matter of time before your items come crashing down, taking a large chunk out of your wall in the process.
If you’re at all concerned that you’re not going to hang things properly, then stop reading this article right now and find a general contractor to do the job for you. It’s a relatively simple and inexpensive process, only requiring an hour or two depending on how many things you’d like to hang. Otherwise, read on to see how to hang objects on drywall in your home.
What you’ll need
1. Determine if your wall is drywall
Unless your wall is exposed brick, it can be difficult to tell if your wall is drywall or concrete. For this test, all you need are your hands and ears. Simply knock on the wall: if it sounds hollow and there’s a bit of give then you’re looking at drywall; if the wall has no give/feels hard and doesn’t carry any sound, then it’s a concrete wall.
2. Find the studs
Studs are narrow sheets of metal or wood that run from your floor to your ceilings to hold up your drywall. Whenever possible, you should try to install items you’re hanging onto your walls on studs, as they can support more weight and will provide the most support possible. For longer items like shelves, you won’t be able to support everything with a stud, but you should aim to use as many studs as possible.
If you don’t already have one, purchase a stud finder (a basic one can range from $10-30). Turn the stud finder on and move it across your wall. The device will either beep or visually notify you when it finds a stud, at which point you can mark this on your wall with a pencil. Be sure to mark the middle of the stud so your item will be as secure as possible. Many stud finders also have sensors to detect electrical currents, which you’ll definitely want to know about before you start drilling.
3. Drill your pilot holes
Follow the instructions that came with the item you’re hanging and mark where you’ll need to drill on the wall with a pencil. For items that require multiple screws, use your level and a ruler to make sure your item will hang straight and that the holes are correctly spaced apart. One trick I like to minimize cleanup is to fold post it notes and place them below each drill hole to catch the debris from your walls before they drop to the floor.
Remember, try to use as many studs as possible for your screws, and if possible have the middle of the item secured by a stud. Once these are marked up, put your goggles on (safety first!) and use your power drill to make the pilot holes that you’ll need for your screws. Refer to the packaging for your screws or drywall anchors to know how big these should be. Note: If you are using drywall anchors that need to be screwed in, you likely do not need to drill a pilot hole for them and can skip to step 5.
4. Place drywall anchors in wall
Drywall anchors are placed into your wall first. When a screw is screwed into the anchor, the anchor expands and grabs a firm hold of the screw (unlike drywall, which is made of soft material that will begin to crumble when there’s too much weight).
Before installing anything, make sure that your drywall anchors can support not just the weight of your item, but anything that will be placed on the item as well (this is the most common mistake that people make). If your floating shelf weights 25 pounds but you’re placing six large potted plants on them, then you’ll need to buy better quality anchors that support more weight.
To install your drywall anchors, simply place them into the wall wherever you’ve made a hole that is not inside of a stud. This can be a tight squeeze, so use your hammer to gently tap it into place, being careful not to bend the anchor or damage the wall.
5. Install your screws
Use your power drill to install your screws into the holes you’ve made in your studs and/or drywall anchors. Depending on what type of item you are installing, you may have to install the screws first and then attach your item to them, or install the screws through the item.