HomeDIY CraftWhat You Need To Know Before You Begin

What You Need To Know Before You Begin


Drywall anchors are a special type of hardware that builders use to securely fasten objects to the drywall surface. Drywall is a common wall surface also known as gypsum board or plasterboard. It is one of the most common interior wall materials, but it does not always have enough strength to hold heavy items such as large pictures, shelves or fixtures. Drywall anchors provide additional stability so you can mount most items to drywall surfaces with confidence. With multiple types and sizes available, learn these wall hardware basics to ensure the success of any project you undertake

Drywall anchors

What are drywall anchors and how do they work?

The main components of drywall anchors are screws, sleeves, and sometimes a toggle or other mechanism. The sleeve is made from plastic or metal and expands as the screw is inserted into the wall. The expanded sleeve grips the inside of the wall, making it difficult to pull the screw out of the wall. The sleeve mechanism also spreads the load of whatever is placed on the screw, allowing the screw to carry less weight than if the screw were alone.

Toggle mechanisms are another way to increase the load-bearing capacity of drywall anchors. Toggles are folded or compressed when drywall anchors are inserted into the wall. Once in the anchor wall, the toggle wall opens back. This gives the drywall anchor more contact area. When the outer screw is tightened, the rear toggle presses more firmly against the wall, giving the anchor more stability and weight distribution.

Drywall uses for anchors

You can use drywall anchors to securely attach objects to many wall surfaces.

  • hanging picture
  • Shelf mount
  • Installing the mirror
  • Hanging towel bars and curtain rods
  • Securing cabinets and vanities
  • Installing the TV mount
  • Securing floating shelves
  • Hanging cabinets and racks
  • Installing wall-mounted thermostats and controllers
  • Decorative wall panel hanging

Types of Drywall Anchors

Types of Drywall Anchors

There are many types of drywall anchors, and your choice depends on your project. Different drywall anchors work best for certain types of projects and each has a weight range for which they are suitable. The type of drywall anchor you choose will also depend on the type of wall you are drilling into because each type of wall interacts with and supports drywall anchors in different ways. It’s always best to read the manufacturer’s instructions to get the most accurate information before you start your project.


Plastic expansion anchor

Plastic expansion anchor

These are simple and inexpensive anchors made from plastic that fit around a screw. They have a ribbed shape that helps resist anchoring. They have a split in the middle of the anchor that contracts when you screw it into the wall and expands as it comes out behind the wall. You can use plastic expansion screws in drywall, but also in other types of wall materials such as brick, concrete, and cinder block.

  • Uses: Light to medium loads for numerous types of projects such as hanging pictures, mirrors and small shelves
  • Weight range: 5 to 25 pounds (2.3 to 11.3 kilograms)

Self-tapping anchor

Self-tapping anchor

Manufacturers design self-drilling anchors to be installed without pre-drilling a hole. These anchors have a pointed end that allows you to insert them directly into the wall with a simple screwdriver. Self-drilling anchors have wide fins that allow them to grip the inside of the wall, creating a secure base for your wall decor. You can find self-drilling anchors in both metal and plastic. These anchors have a wide weight range due to the different types and materials of the anchor body.

  • Uses: Supports light to medium loads like bars, pictures and small shelves
  • Weight range: 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 22.7 kilograms)

Toggle the bolt

Toggle the bolt

Toggle bolts consist of a toggle and a long screw. To install, you can insert the toggle into a pre-drilled hole. The toggle extends behind the wall and grips the wall more securely as the screw is tightened into the wall. Toggle bolts require a large hole to be inserted into the wall, but they have the advantage over plastic expansion anchors because they hold significantly more weight.

  • Uses: Supports medium to heavy loads such as large pictures, mirrors, shelves, and wall-mounted cabinets
  • Weight range: 25 to 100 pounds (11.3 to 45.4 kilograms) or more, depending on the size and type of toggle bolt you use

Winged plastic anchor

Winged plastic anchor

Winged plastic anchors, also known as butterfly wall anchors, consist of a plastic casing with toggles surrounding a long screw. These plastic toggles initially expand and contract as the screw is inserted into the wall. Once the toggles are behind the wall, they expand and sit behind the wall. Only one pilot hole is required to insert these anchors.

  • Uses: Supports light to moderate loads such as pictures, mirrors, shelves, curtain rods and towel bars
  • Weight range: 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 22.7 kilograms)

Threaded drywall anchors

Threaded drywall anchors

This is a common type of drywall anchor that consists of a threaded plastic sleeve surrounding a screw. These types of anchors are popular because they do not require a pre-drilled screw to insert. Thread on the anchor cut into the wall material and provide a secure hanging surface. Another advantage of this drywall anchor is that you can move it from one location to another and use it for another project. Manufacturers make threaded anchors from plastic, nylon, and metal, and each type has different weight limits.

  • Uses: Supports light to moderate loads such as pictures, mirrors, shelves, curtain rods and towel bars
  • Weight range: 10 to 75 pounds (4.5 to 34 kilograms), depending on anchor size and design

Molly Bolts

Molly Bolts

Molly bolts, also called hollow anchor bolts or metal expansion bolts, consist of a screw and a metal expansion sleeve. A pre-drilled hole is required to insert this bolt. As the screw is inserted into the hole, the metal sleeve expands and tightens the screw’s grip on the wall. Molly bolts are highly secure and support heavy loads as their design is optimal for weight expansion.

  • Uses: Supports heavy loads such as large curtain rods, cabinets and light fixtures
  • Weight range: 25 to 75 pounds (11.3 to 34 kilograms) or more, depending on the size and type of moly bolt you use

Strap toggle anchor

Strap toggle anchor

Strap toggle anchors, also known as just strap toggles, are a type of heavy-duty drywall anchor. Builders make these for projects where traditional drywall anchors won’t support the weight. These anchors consist of a steel toggle with a plastic strap and threaded cap where you insert the screw. These anchors are easy to install, so they are ideal for DIY use.

  • Uses: Supports heavy loads such as large screen rods, cabinets and TV mounts
  • Weight range: 75 to 200 pounds (34 to 91 kilograms) or more, depending on the size and design of the particular strap toggle anchor

Wall surfaces where you can use drywall anchors

Drywall anchors are best suited for drywall surfaces, but some drywall anchors are suitable for other wall surfaces. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you are using the correct wall anchor for the surface.

  • Standard drywall – Drywall, also called gypsum board or plasterboard, is the most common interior wall surface. Manufacturers design drywall anchors specifically for this surface. This anchor works Drywall of different textures.
  • Plaster wallsPlaster walls Historic homes and properties are common. Drywall anchors are suitable for this surface, although the installation method may differ because plaster walls are more fragile than drywall.
  • Hollow-core door – A type of hollow-core door wooden door With a hollow, honeycomb-style core. Their light weight makes it difficult to hang anything from them. Drywall anchors provide more stability to the door hanger.
  • Solid surface walls – Some types of drywall anchors work on solid wall surfaces like brick, concrete or cinder block. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you are using an appropriate drywall anchor on a solid surface wall.

Installing plastic expansion drywall anchors

Installing drywall anchors is a simple process and suitable even for novice DIYers. Here’s a guide to installing drywall anchors, one of the plastic expansion drywall anchors.

  1. Collect the materials – Plastic expansion drywall anchors, screwdriver or drill, screws, pencils, level if needed, size appropriate for your project
  2. Mark the position – Use a pencil to mark the location where you want to install the anchor. If you are hanging two anchors in a perpendicular plane, use a level to make sure your wall decor will be flat or straight.
  3. Pre-drill a hole if necessary – Find a drill bit that fits the size of your anchor if you need a pre-drilled hole for your anchor. Drill a hole in the wall at the marked location.
  4. Insert the anchor – Insert the pointed end of the anchor into the hole. Push the anchor into the hole until it is flush with the wall surface.
  5. Screw in the anchor – Insert the tip of the screw into the anchor hole. As you begin to tighten the screw, the anchor will begin to expand into the wall.
  6. Tighten the screw – Keep tightening the screw on the anchor slowly. Be careful not to over-tighten the screw as this may break the anchor or damage the wall. Make sure the screw is exposed enough to hang your wall decor.

Remove a plastic drywall anchor

Removing a plastic drywall anchor is a simple process.

  1. Collect the materials – Pliers or flat-head screwdriver, putty knife, spackling paste
  2. Anchor to the wall – Depending on the grip of the anchor, you can either gently pull it off the wall or use pliers to pull it off the wall.
  3. The anchor is loose – Use a flat-head screwdriver to gently loosen the anchor and then use pliers to pull it off the wall.
  4. Patch the hole – Use a putty knife and spackling paste To repair the hole in the wall.



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