Installing Wall Anchors
Wall Anchor Types and Installing Wall Anchors
By Mark J. Donovan
Wall anchors are
used for hanging pictures and other light weight items on walls where there
are no wall studs. Wall anchors are designed for supporting hanging screws
that would otherwise rip out of the drywall due to the weight of the object
they are supporting. Installing wall anchors is very easy to do.
There are a few
different wall anchor types to choose from. There are also numerous sizes
associated with each wall anchor type. Selecting the right wall anchor type
is mainly about understanding the weight and use of the object you plan to
hang on the wall.
Plastic Wall Anchors
The most common wall
anchor type is the plastic wall anchor. Plastic wall anchors look similar to a
screw, however they have a hollow center where the screw is fastened into.
Plastic wall anchors come in a variety of sizes. They are meant for hanging
light objects on drywall walls such as small pictures and decorations.
To install a plastic
wall hanger first drill a pilot hole into the drywall that is slightly smaller
than the diameter of the plastic wall anchor.
Then gently tap the
plastic wall hanger into the hole using a hammer until it is flush with the
surface of the drywall.
Then use a
screwdriver to screw in the screw. As the screw is screwed into the plastic wall
anchor, it expands a little on the backside of the wall anchor to create some
friction for holding the screw tightly in place.
Hollow Wall Anchors
Hollow wall anchors
can support a slightly heavier load than a plastic wall hanger, e.g. a picture
frame. They are made out of both plastic and metal materials.
Hollow wall hangers,
also referred to as Molly bolts, are similar to plastic wall anchors, however
they spread out dramatically on the backend when the screw is threaded into
them. The backend actually flares out so much on the backend that it grips the
back of the drywall to hold the screw firmly in place.
Photo by Mark Donovan
To install a hollow
wall anchor, again drill a pilot hole that is slightly larger than the hollow
wall anchor itself.
Then install the
hollow wall anchor into the hole, and while holding the anchor in place with one
screwdriver or needle nose pliers, screw in the screw with another screwdriver.
As the screw is threaded into the hollow wall anchor, the back side of the
anchor will begin to flare out and snug up against the back side of the drywall.
Toggle Bolt Anchors
A toggle bolt anchor
works similar to the hollow wall anchor, however a toggle bolt is capable of
holding slightly more weight. Toggle bolt anchors are also useful in
applications where the wall hanging is frequently handled, e.g. a small bathroom
A toggle bolt wall
anchor has a pair of metal wings that are spring loaded. To install a toggle
bolt, drill a pilot hole that is just slightly larger than the maximum width of
the wings when they are folded up around the bolt.
Next, remove the bolt
from the wing assembly and slide a wall mounting bracket onto the bolt. Then
thread the bolt back into the wing assembly.
Now squeeze the
toggle wings together and push them and the end of the bolt through the pilot
hole. Once the wings have been pushed through the pilot hole they will spring
Simply tighten up the bolt and the wings will flare up snuggly against the back
of the drywall. Once the toggle bolt anchor has been fastened into place the
wall hanging can then be attached to the wall mounting bracket.
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