How to Use Wall Anchors

How to Use Wall Anchors It’s important to know how to use wall anchors so there are no issues with them loosening up or damaging the wall. At Fasteners, Inc. in Denver, we offer a broad assortment of standard and specialized fasteners like the perfect wall anchor for every surface, as well as bolts, nuts, washers, screws, rivets, clips, clamps, wiring products, fittings, anchors, pins, rods, and retainers. Our goal is always to provide you with the ideal product for your application at a fair price and always with your complete satisfaction.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know, including how to use wall anchors.

The Basics

As part of a fastening system, an anchor attaches one object to another when screws, nails, adhesives or other fasteners just don’t work. They are often used on very hard surfaces like concrete and on hollow surfaces like walls, doors, and ceilings, particularly if there isn’t an available wooden stud or beam behind the surface.

The strength of an anchor depends on the type of anchor, what you are hanging, and the kind and condition of the surface. If the wall is structurally weak, has been repaired, or has seen water damage, its strength may be compromised.

There are two types of anchors: expansion anchors, and hollow wall anchors.

  • Expansion anchors

These kinds of anchors are used in concrete, brick, mortar, metals or even wood.  These anchors expand when a screw or bolt is threaded into them. Expansion anchors are only as strong as the surface material they are installed in. It may look like the anchor is strong at first but if the material it’s installed in is weak, the anchor may loosen and pull out with too much stress.

  • Hollow-wall anchors

These types of anchors are used in thin materials or on hollow walls.  They spread within the hollow of the wall and can’t be pulled back through the smaller installation hole.  The bigger the spread, the stronger the anchor.

Plastic Expansion Anchors

The most commonly used anchors are the plastic expansion anchors.  They come in different of sizes and designs. The greatest holding capacity comes with larger plastic anchors that can handle the larger screws. If you need gripping strength, regardless of the wall material, go with the more heavily ribbed anchors.

A plastic anchor expands when a screw is installed into it. This puts force against the material it is installed in and holds it in place.

Now, here’s how to use wall anchors. Make a hole in the surface, using a drill or an awl, depending on the material. The hole should be a little bit smaller than the width of the anchor. Then press the anchor into the hold and make sure it is flush with the surface. You may need to use a hammer to tap the anchor flush. Be careful, because if the hole is too small, the anchor may collapse when you tap it in. Plastic expansion anchors are the weakest and should not be used with drywall unless the load is light and the force is perpendicular to the anchor. Skip using a plastic expansion anchor in a ceiling unless what you are hanging is very light.

Here are short descriptions of different types of even more anchors.

Sleeve-Type Hollow Wall Anchors or Molly Bolts

Molly bolts are easy to install but have much greater strength. The largest molly bolt can hold up to 50 lbs. A molly bolt gives permanent screw threads to any material it attaches to.  So, if you install something with a molly bolt it can be taken down a number of times and not lose its strength.  It adds support to hollow doors for hanging things like towel bars or coat hooks. 

Winged Plastic Anchors

Since these are plastic anchors they are much less expensive to manufacture than metal anchors but offer more than double the strength of plastic expansion anchors. These anchors are made entirely from plastic, so you need to be careful when installing them or they can pull through the wall and leave a large hole.

Threaded Drywall Anchors

These are called EZ-Ancor or Zip-It and are large, outside-threaded nuts with a point on the end. The pointed end of the metallic kind spreads open in the wall when a long screw is installed.  They are available in both nylon and metal. These anchors hold better in drywall than the plastic expansion anchors.  They can be used for light-duty hangings.

Threaded Drywall Toggles

These combine the threaded anchor’s ease of installation with the strength of a toggle.

Traditional Toggle Bolts and Snap Toggles

Toggle bolts are some of the best hollow-wall anchors. There is the toggle itself, which looks like a pair of spring-loaded metal wings, and the machine bolt. They are very strong and are great for hanging things from ceilings.

Standard toggles don’t tighten to a precise location. You have to position them as they are tightened. So, once the toggle is almost tight, check the position of the object and then go ahead and fully tighten the toggle. A solution to this problem is to use a toggle in one hole to supply strength and a plastic expansion anchor in the second hole to get the bar into the correct position. Try not to overtighten the toggle in drywall or it might either break the toggle or the wall. Toggles are also the easiest anchors to remove.

The Snap Toggle uses a solid bar, not hinged wings, and keeps the threaded bar’s position so you can remove and reinstall the bolt. This toggle is strong and easy to install. It’s a reusable toggle, so it does less damage to your walls.

Knowing the types of expansion and hollow-wall fasteners and how to use wall anchors can save you time and trouble, not to mention damage to your surface material. At Fasteners, Inc. in Denver, we offer a broad assortment of standard and specialized fasteners like anchors and toggle bolts. We have the knowledge and experience, the inventory, and the purchasing power to get you the best fasteners for every project.

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