Author Topic: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?  (Read 24553 times)

naners

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Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« on: August 04, 2013, 07:51:50 AM »
I'm having some trouble getting things fastened to the walls in my new rental. The building is about 100 years old, and from what I can tell the walls are drywall (at least on the outside). I've been trying to use the basic plastic drywall anchors, but they don't want to go in all the way; they seem to go into the pilot hole about 1/2 in but not any further. Tapping with a hammer just results in mutilated anchors. I'm pretty sure I'm not hitting a stud (no wood chips coming out on the drill bit). I've tried enlarging the pilot hole but no luck. Suggestions?

I'm wondering whether there's plaster hidden underneath the drywall. If that's the case, maybe I need a different type of anchor? I'm not hanging anything terribly heavy, just some towel bars and a mirror (about 10lbs). Has anyone used EZ Ancors in plaster? The EZ Ancor website says it's just for drywall, but the internets hinted that plaster might be a possibility. But I don't want to put bigger holes in the wall if it's not going to work. There's also the molly bolt type things, but I'm a bit worried about putting them in and then not being able to get them back out (or through), since this is a rental.   

Thanks all!

caligulala

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 08:01:40 AM »
Sounds like thin drywall laid over plaster and lathe. We have the same thing in our apartment and it's made it annoying to hang things. We use really long screws, like 2.5 inches long and try to find a stud when we can. The drywall isn't thick enough to use the anchors, they only go halfway in and then get squashed against the plaster layer when you try to hammer them in.

naners

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 02:49:02 PM »
Thanks Caligulala! I'm stuck with no studs in a few places (e.g. for towel bars, blinds). Did the long screws approach hold up over time for you?

Abe

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 06:02:45 PM »
I'd drill through the drywall, through the plaster and then place a toggle bolt http://www.homedepot.com/p/E-Z-Ancor-Toggle-Lock-100-Pan-Head-Phillips-Heavy-Duty-Self-Drilling-Drywall-Anchors-with-Screws-10-Pack-25220/100153998#.Uf7rZGRVREo

As you screw the toggle bolt into the wall, the lever surrounding the bolt will flip out and then push up against the inside of the wall as you tighten, spreading out the pulling forces exerted by whatever you are hanging. These can hold over 50 pounds each if the drywall and plaster are strong enough.  They are difficult to remove, however.

naners

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 07:14:10 PM »
Thanks Abe. I'm a renter so reluctant to put in anything that would be difficult to take out.

After a lot of internet searching, I think the solution (for the record) is the WallDog anchor. It's basically like a regular screw with big threads, so no complicated anchor to install/remove. Apparently it works for stuff under 50lbs.

Greg

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 08:18:02 AM »
Some buildings with lathe and plaster walls have restrictions on how you hang stuff to prevent damage to the lathe and plaster.  May want to check on that. 

Often there's a piece of trim running along the top of the wall called a picture rail, and you can get hangers that fit it.  Then your artwork or whatever hangs from wire from that. 

Otherwise follow the advice given so far.  Be sure not to use nails unless you're certain you're hitting a stud, since the nail can break the bond between lathe and the plaster.  Screws also work well, since they can grab the lathe and allow you to hang from it, if the item to hang is lightweight.

Spork

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2013, 08:35:42 AM »
Thanks Abe. I'm a renter so reluctant to put in anything that would be difficult to take out.


They're not hard to take out.  If you unscrew the screw, the toggle will fall into the wall and forever disappear.
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velocistar237

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Re: Drywall anchors won't go in; suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 09:56:22 AM »
I've found that threaded anchors, at least the plastic ones for drywall, tend to chew up and crumble old plaster. If you use the right sized drill bit, the plastic expansion anchor should go in all the way without much effort. The drill bit diameter should match the diameter of the anchor at its largest point, excluding fins or flanges. You're probably using one size too small, and the larger diameter of the taper is getting stuck near the wall surface. The anchor doesn't have to be too tight when it goes in, since the screw will expand it to fill the hole for solid support.