Use Proper Hanging Tools to Stop Wall Problems Before They Start

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Fixing nail holes, gaps, and cracks in your walls is an easy enough task, but why fix them when you don't have to? The simplest way to avoid having ugly, unsightly nail holes and resulting damage to patch is to avoid creating them in the first place. This can be easier said than done when it comes to hanging items on walls, especially in areas where a stud is not present. Even more difficult is hanging items on wall surfaces such as brick, which is much harder by nature as well as tougher to penetrate.

They key to hanging pictures and paintings without making a mess of your walls that will have to be fixed later is knowing what tool to use in the first place. Also important is knowing the behavior of the wall surfaces when impacted, such as in the case of plaster which is prone to cracking. If you realize ahead of time what could go wrong and do what is necessary to prevent it, you will be able to safely and securely hang items on your walls without a need for repair work after the fact. Remember that specific wall types will require corresponding anchors installed in the proper way in order for them to work reliably without causing unnecessary damage.

Photo: Tri-Valley Central

Examples of what to use and when are as follows:

1. Plaster, which looks a lot like drywall, absolutely does not behave like drywall. Since plaster is likely to crack, adhesive type hangers are the best option if you can get away with using them. The weight bearing ability of adhesive hangers may not be quite what you need, so it you must puncture the wall, be sure to drill pilot holes ahead of time and avoid hangers that put pressure directly on the hole you created but instead disperse it over a larger area.

Photo: Chunky Pineapple

2. In the case of walls made of brick or concrete, specialized nails will be required to get the job done. Pilot holes will need to be drilled in advance before fasteners can be added. These wall types are prone to cracking, flaking, and breaking, so work carefully and methodically as you drill. In the case of brick, it is easier to drill into the mortar and less breakage will result if you choose this option, but the weight load your wall will be able to hold will be lessened by drilling into mortar versus the brick itself.

3. Solid wood with thickness to it is capable of holding heavy loads but thinner walls cannot boast the same ability. For thick wood, a screw, nail, or anchor can often do the job. Thin wood may require more heavy duty hardware such as molly bolt fasteners that affix to the back side of the wall to distribute weight across the wall itself and make the area stronger and thus able to bear a bigger load.

4. Drywall is not very strong and depending on the size of what you wish to hang, you may need to beef up your hardware. Small, lightweight items will hang from a standard hanger, but the heavier the item, the more weight bearing ability you will need that cannot be gotten from drywall alone. If you choose to hang heavy items on drywall, prepare to purchase and install various types of anchors or even fasteners that lie behind the wall to control weight distribution; a molly bolt would be an example of this type of fastener.

Photo: Radaris

Knowing what to use when hanging items on walls truly is essential to getting the job done right the first time. Mistakes can not only result in ugly holes, but also large cracks or sections of wall that flake away and will be difficult to hide or repair. Even though some fasteners themselves may seem off putting due to the large hole they require (such as molly bolts), that hole is a small price to pay in comparison to what your wall might look like if the job were done wrong and serious damage were to occur.

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