Choosing the Proper Fastener

Can't find a wall stud when hanging a picture or a shelf? You can attach anything to hollow walls if you use the right fastener

fasteners
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There's no doubt about it. It's tricky to fasten something to drywall when it has to go between studs. Plaster walls and hollow-core doors are no picnic to work on either. These surfaces separate space, not support weight. But, fortunately, there is an anchor for just about any hanging job you can think of. Many of them are shown in the kit below. Put together your own collection, and you won't need to run to the store every time a hanging job comes up. See page 60 to find out which fastener to use for the most common jobs around the house.

Expanding Plastic Sleeves
Available in several varieties, these work well for light and medium loads Anchors like the blue version don't expand enough to grab well in drywall; they work better in plaster and best in masonry. Anchors designed to spread their "wings" are less susceptible to withdrawal.
To install: Drill a hole that allows a snug fit for the sleeve. You should need to tap it home with a hammer until the anchor flange seats against the surface. Fasten by driving a screw into the sleeve. Depending on size, sleeves will take #4, #6 or #8 screws.

Picture-frame hangers and nails
It's good to have a selection of these on hand in different sizes. Large versions installed with an angled nail can support up to 20 lbs. For heavier loads, use a flat-mounted hook and an anchor.

Mirror clips
L-shaped plastic retainers for installing wall-mounted mirrors.

Molly bolts
These are not as easy to use as other drywall anchors, but they're still good to have on hand for medium to heavy loads. Pointed mollys can be tapped into place with a hammer. Nonpointed versions require an installation hole, and work well in old plaster-and-lath walls.
To install: Seat the round flange flush with the wall surface by tapping the screwhead. Turn the screw to "mushroom" the slotted sleeve against the back wall surface. Take care not to overtighten; you'll know this is happening if the anchor flange starts to depress the surface of the plaster or drywall. Once the molly is secure, unscrew the bolt and then replace it with the item in place.

Tap-in expanding anchors
These easy-to-use fasteners are best for light loads.
To install: Tap the pointed end and flat shank into wall until the top flange is flush with the wall surface. Install item by driving a #6 screw into the flange hole.

Hollow-core door anchors
These miniature molly bolts will hold light to heavy loads in hollow-core doors and 1/4-in.-thick paneling. Plastic versions are also available.
To install: Use the same technique as for standard molly bolts.

Toggle bolts
Metal toggle bolts can support heavy loads in drywall, plaster and hollow-core concrete block. Plastic versions hold medium loads in drywall and plaster.
To install: Bore a hole in the wall large enough to accommodate the toggle. Fit the item to be anchored over the bolt, then insert the toggle and tighten. You can trim a plastic bolt flush with its nut after installation.

The Line on Loads:
Light: Less than 10 lbs.
Medium: 10 lbs. to 25 lbs.
Heavy: 25 lbs. to 50 lbs

There's no doubt about it. It's tricky to fasten something to drywall when it has to go between studs. Plaster walls and hollow-core doors are no picnic to work on either. These surfaces separate space, not support weight. But, fortunately, there is an anchor for just about any hanging job you can think of. Many of them are shown in the kit below. Put together your own collection, and you won't need to run to the store every time a hanging job comes up. See page 60 to find out which fastener to use for the most common jobs around the house.

Expanding Plastic Sleeves
Available in several varieties, these work well for light and medium loads Anchors like the blue version don't expand enough to grab well in drywall; they work better in plaster and best in masonry. Anchors designed to spread their "wings" are less susceptible to withdrawal.
To install: Drill a hole that allows a snug fit for the sleeve. You should need to tap it home with a hammer until the anchor flange seats against the surface. Fasten by driving a screw into the sleeve. Depending on size, sleeves will take #4, #6 or #8 screws.

Picture-frame hangers and nails
It's good to have a selection of these on hand in different sizes. Large versions installed with an angled nail can support up to 20 lbs. For heavier loads, use a flat-mounted hook and an anchor.

Mirror clips
L-shaped plastic retainers for installing wall-mounted mirrors.

Molly bolts
These are not as easy to use as other drywall anchors, but they're still good to have on hand for medium to heavy loads. Pointed mollys can be tapped into place with a hammer. Nonpointed versions require an installation hole, and work well in old plaster-and-lath walls.
To install: Seat the round flange flush with the wall surface by tapping the screwhead. Turn the screw to "mushroom" the slotted sleeve against the back wall surface. Take care not to overtighten; you'll know this is happening if the anchor flange starts to depress the surface of the plaster or drywall. Once the molly is secure, unscrew the bolt and then replace it with the item in place.

Tap-in expanding anchors
These easy-to-use fasteners are best for light loads.
To install: Tap the pointed end and flat shank into wall until the top flange is flush with the wall surface. Install item by driving a #6 screw into the flange hole.

Hollow-core door anchors
These miniature molly bolts will hold light to heavy loads in hollow-core doors and 1/4-in.-thick paneling. Plastic versions are also available.
To install: Use the same technique as for standard molly bolts.

Toggle bolts
Metal toggle bolts can support heavy loads in drywall, plaster and hollow-core concrete block. Plastic versions hold medium loads in drywall and plaster.
To install: Bore a hole in the wall large enough to accommodate the toggle. Fit the item to be anchored over the bolt, then insert the toggle and tighten. You can trim a plastic bolt flush with its nut after installation.

The Line on Loads:
Light: Less than 10 lbs.
Medium: 10 lbs. to 25 lbs.
Heavy: 25 lbs. to 50 lbs

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What fastener is best for...?

 

What fastener is best for...?

plastic sleeves
Expanding plastic sleeve

It's always better to err on the heavy-duty side when selecting an anchor for drywall, plaster, a hollow-core door and paneling. With some fastening jobs (hanging a large picture frame or bulletin board, for example), you can spread the load by using more than one anchor. If you haven't used a particular anchor before, practice installation on a scrap piece of drywall or plywood paneling.

PICTURE FRAMES (up to 20 lbs.)
Drywall: Nail-in hook
Plaster: Nail-in hook
Hollow-core Door: #6 1/2-in. panhead screw

HEAVY PICTURE
Drywall: Screw-in anchors with flat-mount hook
Plaster: Plastic sleeve, #6 or #8 panhead screw with flat-mount hook
Hollow-core Door: Screw through picture or bulletin board frame and into hollow-core door anchors in at least two locations

SMOKE ALARM OR DOORBELL CHIMES
Drywall: Screw-in or tap-in anchors
Plaster: Plastic sleeves, #6 panhead screws
Hollow-core Door: Panhead screws and hollow-core door anchors

TOWEL RACK
Drywall: Screw-in anchors, molly bolts or toggle bolts
Plaster: Molly or toggle bolts
Hollow-core Door: Hollow-core door anchors

LIGHWEIGHT SHELVING
Drywall: Screw-in anchors
Plaster: Plastic sleeves that accept #8 screws
Hollow-core Door: Hollow-core door anchors

HEAVY DUTY SHELVING
Drywall: Molly bolts or toggle bolts
Plaster: Molly bolts or toggle bolts
Hollow-core Door: Not recommended

WALL-MOUNTED LIGHT FIXTURE
Drywall: Screw-in anchors
Plaster: Plastic sleeves, #8 X 1-in. panhead screws
Hollow-core Door: Not applicable

WALL-MOUNTED MIRROR (up to 20 lbs.)
Drywall: Screw-in anchors #6 1 1/2-in. panhead screws and mirror clips
Plaster: Plastic sleeves, #6 1 1/2-in. panhead screws and mirror clips
Hollow-core Door: Hollow-core door anchors, mirror clips and mirror mastic

CURTAIN ROD SUPPORTS
Drywall: Molly bolts or toggle bolts
Plaster: Molly bolts or toggle bolts
Hollow-core Door: Not applicable

WALL-MOUNTED MIRROR (over 20 lbs.)
Drywall: Screw-in anchors or molly bolts with mirror clips and mirror mastic
Plaster: Molly bolts with mirror clips and mirror mastic
Hollow-core Door: Hollow-core door anchors, mirror clips and mirror mastic

 

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Where to find it

 

Where to find it

winged plastic anchor
Winged plastic anchor

ITW Brands
Dept TH799, 226 Gerry Dr
Wood Dale, IL 60191
www.itwbrands.com
800/727-5633

Mechanical Plastics Corp
Dept. TH799, Box 554
444 Saw Mill River Rd
Elmsford, NY 10523
www.toggler.com
914/347-2727

Plasplugs Inc
Dept. TH799, 780 Vassar Ave
Lakewood, NJ 08701
www.plasplugs.com
732/901-1400
 

 
 

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