Wall Anchors And All The Options


Do you need help hanging a mirror, picture, or shelf on your wall? How about attaching something to concrete? A wall anchor will be needed if you answered yes.

In addition to screws, nails, and staples, anchors have a special purpose to attach objects to hollow surfaces like walls, ceilings, and doors, as well as extremely hard surfaces like concrete, block, or brick.

A wall anchor is categorized by type, application, and how much weight it will support based on gravity pulling objects downward and the weight of the object being secured pulling outward. You’ll have to answer a few questions to determine the right type and weight limit. Below are the questions to consider.

What type of anchor will I need?

The way in which you secure things depends on what you’re securing and where you’re securing it to. Hollow wall anchors will be needed to secure heavy objects to typical house walls (hollow drywall). Various types are available. In some cases, plastic anchors are inserted into pre-drilled holes and screws are inserted into them. However, for the time being, let’s focus on these few examples.

How many anchors do I need?

It is necessary to understand a few things about wall anchors in order to answer this question. Anchors are usually anchored to a wall using screws to hold objects. Whatever the anchor can hold, its strength will only be limited by the material it is anchored into. Bricks and concrete are more durable than drywall, plaster, and lath. The densities of each vary, so the loads they can support differ as well.

Assume that anchors will hold 1/4 of their stated load without any problem by leaving yourself some margin for error. You simply attach something by using a number of anchors whose total load is equal to or greater than the weight of the object, divided by four.

The following is a detailed list of wall anchors that you can use once you know what they are and how they work.

Plastic Hollow Wall Plug

In drywall, these are designed for light-duty applications where you cannot anchor directly into a 2×4 framing member. A pilot hole must be drilled, then the plug must be inserted into the wall. Once the plug is pushed into place by the screw, it will expand and lock in place.  

Molly Bolts

Hollow wall anchors like this can also be used for heavy-duty applications like heavy paintings or solid shelving. Different types of moly bolts are available; some need a pilot hole to be drilled, and some can be hammered into place.

They are also available in a variety of wall thicknesses. When the screw is tightened, the wall anchor expands to help secure it to the wall. Molly bolts are difficult to remove; if you must remove one, I suggest knocking it through the wall and then filling in the hole with drywall compound.

Concrete Anchors

An expansion anchor is used to attach something to a hard substrate, such as concrete, brick, or block. Sleeved anchors and wedge anchors are the two basic types. They use friction wedges to secure the anchor in place. Anchors with sleeves can be used to fasten brick, porous concrete, and blocks. Anchors with wedges are excellent for fastening in solid concrete.

Expansion anchors are often used in deck applications where a ledger board needs to be attached to a house with a block foundation. Having predrilled the pilot holes, the bolt once inserted spreads the anchor and locks it in place. When the bolt has been secured, you can remove it and attach your board…or whatever you would like to secure.

There are specific weight limits for concrete anchors, like other anchors. To determine the number of anchors required, you must add up the load and divide it by the load limit of the anchor you are using.

You should always check the manufacturers’ recommendations when it comes to weight limits. A building inspection may be required for some applications (such as building a deck), so be sure to check with your city building code enforcement office. Depending on how much load they must carry, the number of anchors used will vary.

Toggle Bolts

Toggle bolts are medium-duty, hollow wall fasteners. If your situation calls for something a little heavier than a hollow wall plug can handle, these are the perfect products. I have a page on how to install a towel rack in a bathroom (http://handyman-do-it-yourself.com/bathroom-towel-rack). Toggle bolts can also be used for many other purposes.

They are easy to use…you just need to drill a hole large enough for the “wing” part of the bolt to fit through. In order to secure something to the wall, you have to drill a larger hole that can accommodate the bolt.

Fit the bolt through the hole you made in the part to be secured, then attach the wing nut…and then fit it through the wall. When you drill a hole large enough to thread the wing nut through both the item to be secured, as well as the wall, you will need a washer on the bolt in order to prevent it from slipping through. 

Toggler Anchoring Systems

Toggler is a trademarked anchoring system. For use in hollow walls or solid surfaces, toggler anchors are available in several different types. All the good parts of the previous wall anchors have been combined into this new design. Honestly, I prefer the toggler anchor over all the hollow wall anchors except for the concrete anchors. 

Self Drilling Drywall Anchor

In contrast to the old-style plastic hollow wall plugs, self-tapping drywall anchors do not require pre-drilling. It’s pretty quick and easy to mount the self-tapping anchor on the wall with just a screwdriver, and then you can screw the screws into the anchor.

Anchors for Heavy Duty self-drilling drywall work in the same way, but you can hammer these in first, then begin screwing these in once the threads contact the drywall. By inserting the screw, the wings will open and the anchor will be seated into the wall. This process could not be simpler.

Toggler Anchors For Solid Walls

In addition to holding high loads in solid walls, ceilings, and floors, these anchors also maintain their strength and stability when they encounter unexpected cavities, such as hollow bricks or hollow blocks, drywall, or even tile over drywall.

Solid wall anchors of this type have various holding powers depending on the type of substrate, screw size, etc.

Additionally, it depends on the extent of screw engagement and inversely with variations in the diameter of the hole and the distance of the load from the wall.

Snap Toggler Bolt Hollow Wall Anchor

With these Toggler Bolts, attaching drywall or hollow concrete blocks is a snap! Its revolutionary installation makes it one of my favorites. With its legs and locking cap, it can be fastened to drywall and hollow walls of a wide range of thicknesses up to 2 in. in thickness.

Once you have installed the anchor, all you have to do is snap off the legs. In addition to having great holding power, it is available in various holding power options.

How To Install A Toggler Bolt Hollow Wall Anchor

An ordinary drill with the proper sized bit and a screwdriver is all you need for installation. Your drill bit size will vary depending on how big your toggler is. While you are at the store, make certain you have the correct drill bit size… if you don’t already have it, you could purchase it at the same time.

1. Drill holes in the marked locations.

2. Move the metal channel parallel with the legs to allow the toggler to fit through the hole.

3. After the metal channel has been inserted, shift the legs back and pull the metal channel so that it seats against the inside of the all and then seat the nut on the outside.

4. Remove the legs.

5. Using the bolt, secure whatever object you’re mounting to the wall by inserting it into the nut.

That’s it…You’re done!

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