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How to hang just about anything

Adam_W
Workshop Legend

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The secret to successfully hanging anything on a wall is knowing what’s beneath your paint, tiles or wallpaper.

 

How your wall is constructed affects how you drill into the wall, what wall fasteners you should choose, and how much weight they can hold.

 

This guide covers the various fastening systems and the drill bits you’ll need so you can feel confident hanging anything in your home.

 

Understanding different wall types

 

Here are the main types of walls you may encounter in your home and what drill bits to use for each type.

 

Plasterboard

 

Plasterboard is the typical substrate (underlying material) used in modern homes, but can also be found in older homes too. Plasterboard sheeting is hollow and fixed to timber or steel framing. This gives you a wall with timber or steel studs (uprights) that are generally 450mm apart centre-to-centre with voids in-between. Plasterboard walls have the lowest weight-bearing capacity unless you are fixing to the studs.

 

Use a regular drill bit to drill through plasterboard. Ensure it’s the right size for your anchor and no longer than necessary. Don’t push too hard or you may push into the wall and damage it or drill through the wall on the other side.

 

Masonry

 

Workshop member mattylara027's wall-mounted bikeWorkshop member mattylara027's wall-mounted bike

Masonry can include a double-brick wall where both the internal and external skins of the home are brick, concrete block construction or solid concrete. Masonry walls can carry the greatest load.

 

Masonry requires a suitable masonry bit and you will likely need to use your drill on the hammer setting. With most masonry wall anchors, drilling the correct-sized hole is essential otherwise the anchor will spin inside the hole and doesn’t grab securely.

 

Linings

 

There are other lining types such as the popular VJ panelling boards, which have a similar load capacity to plasterboard. You’ll likely encounter Villaboard in a bathroom or laundry. This water-resistant fibre cement sheeting is often tiled over and can carry a medium load.

 

For fibre cement sheeting, a masonry bit will work best as fibre cement will quickly blunt a regular drill bit.

 

Tiled areas

 

Tiled areas are considered the most complex surface to hang anything from due to the care required in drilling and then installing the fasteners. Loads should be kept light and care must be taken when tightening anchors. Excess loads or uneven pressure can crack tiles.

 

You will need a suitable tile bit to get through the tile and then switch to a masonry bit of the same size to carefully get through the fibre cement sheeting. When drilling tile, run your drill slowly and keep the bit cutting area lubricated with water. Do not run your drill on the hammer setting.

 

Which fasteners to use?

 

Consider the weight of your load and its use when selecting wall anchors. Is it “static” like a hung picture or “active” like a toilet roll holder?

 

Here are some of the options you can use for different wall types and uses.

 

Nylon or metal screw-in anchors

kimamery's hanging dowel-framed mirrorkimamery's hanging dowel-framed mirror
Nylon or metal screw-in anchors are the easiest and neatest to install. They have a pointy end with an oversized screw thread and a flat head which serves as both the point you apply a screwdriver and where you insert the final hanging screw or hook. There’s no pre-drilling required as you can tap the pointy end in to get it started and then simply screw all the way in until flush with the wall surface. These are ideal for picture hanging or for other items that won’t be disturbed much once hung or mounted.

 

Spring or butterfly toggles


Spring or butterfly toggles have a long screw and a set of pop-out wings attached to a nut. This arrangement is wound almost to the end of the screw, just a few millimetres short of coming off. The wings are folded back and inserted into the wall where they then pop out. As you wind in the screw, the wings will hold onto the back of the wall. They require a reasonably large hole to allow the wings to be pushed through and you’ll need to make sure to add a hook or thread the screws through brackets before screwing in. Once fitted, removing these anchors from the wall will cause the winged nut to fall down into the cavity. Toggles can be screwed in firmly, which makes their ideal use for situations where the hung or mounted item is being frequently pulled or bumped, such as a towel rail.

 

Gravity toggle


A gravity toggle is like a spring toggle except it only has one wing. Rather than being spring-loaded, the wing will drop down with gravity once you start winding the screw in. Use in similar situations to spring toggles.

 

Expanding metal or plastic toggle


Expanding metal or plastic toggles come in a variety of types. These toggles will flatten out or expand as the screw is tightened and will firmly grab the back of the wallboard. Most are only intended for light-duty fixing and are a good general-purpose option. Metal types can carry comparable loads to spring toggles. Some plastic toggles are suitable for both hollow walls and masonry.

 

Screw toggle

 

Screw toggles have the same basic form as a metal screw anchor but are longer and have a special toggle wing that will pop out and sit flat across the back of the wallboard when the screw is wound in. They are the most versatile of the wall anchors and are suitable for any use. They have the highest load capacity for hollow walls.

 

Stud fixing

Rufaro built a timber frame to mount storage units in his laundryRufaro built a timber frame to mount storage units in his laundry

 

The most secure type of wall anchor for hollow walls is one that is attached to the stud framing inside the wall. If you are hanging a wall mount for a TV, then it is essential that you screw to the stud frame.


Studs can usually be located by tapping with your knuckle along the wall surface – voids will sound hollow, while the stud will sound dull. A more reliable method is to use an electronic stud finder.

 

When attaching to a stud you can use any conventional type of screw with no additional anchors required, matching the screw size to the load. If your house is steel-framed make sure you use suitable metal screws. Remember too that you need to allow an extra 10mm in length for the plasterboard. If you were screwing directly into timber, a 30mm screw may be of adequate length but you lose 10mm of grab to the plasterboard. Select screws that are at least 10mm longer than would normally be required.

 

Wall plugs

 

Wall plugs are an easy, cost-effective, reliable and robust way to hang all sorts of objects. Plugs are the traditional method of attaching to any masonry substrate. A hole is drilled in the wall, the plug is inserted and then a screw goes into the plug. These plugs are colour-coded by size. Use a 5mm masonry bit for white, 6mm for red, green is 7mm and blue is 8mm. The larger the plug, the larger the gauge of screw it can accommodate, and the larger the screw, the heavier the load.

 

Sleeve anchors

 

Sleeve anchors are often known by the brand name DynaBolt. Available in a huge range of sizes and styles, sleeve anchors can support extremely heavy loads. They are a bolt and nut (some have screw heads or eye-hooks) with a flared end and split sleeve over the bolt shaft. As the nut is tightened, the flared end opens up the split sleeve and locks firmly in the hole. They can be conspicuous once fitted so they’re best used in locations where they can be concealed. Sleeve anchors can crack hollow-core bricks or even concrete when used close to the edge due to their expansion. In such situations where a heavy-carrying capacity is needed, use screw bolts or masonry screws instead.

 

Screw bolts and masonry screws

 

Screw bolts and masonry screw wall anchors look like a combination between a chunky screw and a bolt and can support heavy loads. They are screwed in and cut a thread into the substrate. They can be safely used in a more diverse range of substrates and situations than sleeve anchors.

 

Universal anchors

 

Universal anchors expand and grab when used in masonry and flare out like an expanding toggle when used in a hollow wall, bunching up behind the board. These versatile anchors can be useful in multi-layered substrates such as a tiled wall. The carrying capacity varies with the substrate.

 

Drill with caution

 

When drilling into a wall, keep the following in mind:

 

  • Whenever you are drilling or screwing into a wall, make sure you will not go through a power line or water pipe. The easiest way to do this is with an electronic stud finder.

 

  • Any home built prior to the 1980s may contain asbestos in wall lining panels. Asbestos sheeting was commonly used in bathrooms, laundries and even kitchens as an internal lining sheet. You may even find modern plasterboard installed over this asbestos sheeting, especially if the use of rooms has changed over the years or the property has been renovated. If any of these rooms are original and the walls are tiled then the board behind the tiles may contain asbestos. For exposed board in a room like a laundry, you will see visible jointing strips between boards. If you suspect asbestos, please seek professional advice before drilling into any surface.

 

We’re here to help with any questions about hanging items in your home. Feel free to comment below or start a new discussion.

 

14 Replies
cdx25
Finding My Feet

Thanks for this comprehensive information! I wonder if you have solutions for renters who can't drill holes or make permanent changes? My rental has painted rendered walls inside. I wanted to hang picture hooks and a curtain rod, but can't find any solutions. I've tried 3M removable adhesive hooks, but they don't stick well. The walls have an uneven surface. 

 

Also, I would like to stick a solar outdoor light on some brickwork outside. I've tried brick clips, which work well for hanging pot plants. These lights need to be stuck flush to the wall. I've heard of outdoor foam double sided tapes, but found none suitable for brick. 

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @cdx25. It's wonderful to have you join us, and many thanks for your question about hanging items in rental properties.

Have you asked the owner whether they would allow you to hang curtains or install an outdoor light? They could quite possibly view those items as an improvement to their property at your expense. You could also mention that the outside light would reduce the risk of trip hazards whilst entering the property at night. The picture hooks might be a different story, but once again, it couldn't hurt to ask. Most good landlords won't want their walls filled with holes and fixings, but they do appreciate that a picture hung here and there improves the quality of life for their tenants.

 

The reason I suggest asking is, as you've realised, there're limited options available when dealing with uneven walls. Typically, self-adhesive strips don't work well with porous and rough surfaces. If there is a chance that they could stick, you really need to clean the surface down well and preferably with isopropyl alcohol. You won't be able to mount a curtain rod with self-adhesive, as there are just too many stresses at play. A connection into the wall is the only option I can think of.

 

Let me mention @Adam_W to alert him of your question and see if he has some helpful advice.

Mitchell

 

Adam_W
Workshop Legend

Hi @cdx25 & @MitchellMc 
I reckon Mitch has pretty much nailed it, no pun intended..., on all points.
When I've rented before I've in fact found the landlord agreeable to hanging stuff as long as I 'made-good' at my expense when I left. As it turned out, in one instance, they were happy with where everything was and it was just left in place.
Perhaps just ask a polite question or two...

leilak41
Just Starting Out

What will I need to hang a heavy coastal mirror from fantastic furniture, on my dining room wall? I'm clueless as I live on my own. And I don't have a drill

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hello @leilak41

 

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's fantastic to have you join us, and thank you for sharing your question about hanging your coastal mirror.

 

Before we offer any suggestions, would it be possible for you to post a picture of your coastal mirror both front and back? We also need to know how heavy it is. I suggest standing the mirror on a scale to get the weight of the mirror, once we have all the information about your mirror we'll be able to give you recommendations on how to hang it. 

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Eric

 

JodyRG
Just Starting Out

Hello! I would like to mount a custom Ikea Boaxel shelving unit to my lounge room wall. Ikea do not provide the screws so i'm unsure which ones to purchase. My home has timber (pine) clad walls. Think early 90's log cabin vibes. Thanks! :smile:

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hello @JodyRG

 

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's fabulous to have you join us, and thank you for sharing your question about hanging your shelf on your pine-clad wall.

 

In order to give our members a better idea of the wall's construction, would it be possible for you to post a photo of the wall? This will allow our members to assess the layout of the wall. We can then make recommendations on the best way to hang your shelf. Some of the things I would be looking for is the composition of the wall. Is it real timber and is the surface flat or is it built one on top of the other like a tiled roof? 

 

Once we see the picture we'll have a better idea of how to proceed. 

 

If you need a hand posting the picture, please let us know.

 

Eric

 

JodyRG
Just Starting Out

Hi @EricL ,

Thanks for your reply. I've attached a photo. It's real pine timber. We have painted the wall white but it is the same timber as the timber used to clad the ceiling.IMG_4461.jpg

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hello @JodyRG

 

Thank you so much for posting pictures of your pine wall. Generally, when you attach a shelf to your wall you try to look for the studs because the wall covering is usually not strong enough. However, there are screws that are custom-built for this situation and they are called Hollow Wall Anchors. But since we don't know how thick your wall pine panels are we can only guess. One way to find out how thick your pine panels are is to drill into the wall. 

 

Position your shelf in the desired area and mark the position of the screws with a pencil. I recommend using Zenith 10G x 40mm Gold Passivated Countersunk Head Timber Screws - 20 Pack. I propose trying this method, get one of the screws and drill it into one of the marked positions in your wall. Drill the screw halfway into the wall, hold onto the head of the screw with your fingers and try to pull it out. If it easily pulls out without a fight you'll need to use hollow wall anchors, but if it resists and does not pull out at all, this means that you can directly screw into your wall. I recommend drilling pilot holes for the screws to prevent the timber from fraying and splitting.

 

Let me call on our experienced members @TedBear and @JoeAzza for their recommendations.

 

If you need further assistance, please let us know.

 

Eric

 

learntofix
Finding My Feet

 

 

Hi, I need to hang a clock just under 1kg in weight.

Surface is plaster, timber stud. What is best anchor and screw to use if the center of area i want to hang clock on is:

1) plaster

2) timber stud

 

Please also recommend a lightweight power drill. (I have a Makita lawn mower 18v battery).

Thank you

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @learntofix. It's wonderful to have you join us, and many thanks for your question about hanging a clock.

 

For hanging your clock onto plasterboard, I'd recommend Ramset Nylon WallMate Anchors. You'll simply tap them into the wall with a hammer and then screw the nylon fitting in with a screwdriver. Your fixing screw is then screwed into the nylon fitting. The clock gets hung onto the exposed screw head. These fittings can hold up to 10kg in plasterboard.

 

For fixing to a timber stud, you'd fix a wood screw directly through the plaster and into the timber stud. Once again, the clock is hung on the screw head. The screw into a timber stud will be more than sufficient to hold the weight of you clock.

 

For a lightweight drill that will function with your current battery, I would recommend the Makita LXT 18V Brushless Cordless Drill Driver - Skin Only. If you intend to drill into any masonry surfaces, I'd recommend the Makita LXT 18V Li-Ion Cordless Hammer Drill - Skin Only instead.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Mitchell

 

heisenberg
Just Starting Out

Great article. I had a question. I need to hang a mirror (weight around 4kg) to a stud through plasterboard wall. Due to the shape of the mirror and where the keyhole is, the screw would need to stick out of the wall by at least 1 inch which rules out most of the hooks from the painting hanging section. 

 

Would you still recommend a timber screw (which one?) and how long would the screw need to be given 25mm of hang + 10mm of plasterboard?

IMG_0642.jpgIMG_0643.jpg

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hello @heisenberg 

 

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's splendid to have you join us.

 

If we do a bit of math, we should be able to determine the length of the screw you need. If 25mm needs to be hanging out and 10mm to take the plaster into consideration, I would suggest that at least 40mm would need to be anchored to the stud. This would give you a total of 75mm and over half the screw is anchored into the timber stud.

 

I suggest having a looking at the Zenith 10 - 8 x 75mm Galvanised Countersunk Rib Head External Timber Screws - 10 Pack. I also recommend testing the head of the screw on the mirrors hook just to be sure that it works. 

 

If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.

 

Eric

 

MissSassyPants
Community Newcomer

hi, I was just wondering why nobody mentioned the various 3M Command hooks that can be safely removed are renter (and homeowner) friendly and  don’t leave  any permanent holes or marks?

They’re sold by Bunnings and both as a homeowner and a renter, I’ve taken full advantage of them and when any of my tenants asked about particular wall hooks, I’d suggest those first and if it was something really heavy that I thought maybe a 3M Command Hook wouldn’t hold, those were done on a case by case basis.

the articles fantastic, thank you but I scanned most of the answers looking for anybody suggesting those really well-known hooks  known not to leave any marks, and couldn’t find anything? Sorry but I just don’t understand why they weren’t mentioned? 
sorry if I’ve done something wrong, this is my first day.

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