Best Wall Anchors + How to Install Them
December 1, 2010
Home ImprovementHow ToDIY
As someone who loves a good gallery wall but never quite knows how to properly install one in my home, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be soaking up all the super helpful information Joe Provey sent our way about wall anchors and how to install them. He's giving us all the dos and don'ts so your gallery wall dreams can become a reality without the fear of them falling on your head (this totally happened to me once, true story).  So listen up pretties, this is good stuff.
From Joe Provey...Hanging objects on the wall requires proper fasteners, installation and know how. What makes it a tricky job at times is the fact that drywall is constructed of lightweight materials and is not designed to support heavy hanging objects. Standard fasteners can easily pull right off the wall and cause damage to it.

Usually, the best way to attach something is by driving a screw into the wall's underlying wooden framing, made up of studs. Typically studs are spaced 16 inches apart on a wall, but unfortunately they never seem to be where you need to hang something. This is where anchors come in handy.

Anchors may be used in walls and ceilings to hang everything from towel racks and toilet paper dispensers to light fixtures, mirrors and shelving units. Some are designed for hollow applications where there most likely isn't a convenient stud or beam available; places such as walls and ceilings covered with drywall and hollow-core doors. Here are the best anchors for hanging objects on hollow drywall, plaster walls and ceilings.

A big step up from ribbed plastic anchors, winged plastic anchors may be used in drywall or plaster and cost less than metal drywall anchors. Designed to spread their "wings," they provide more strength than other plastic expansion anchors and are less likely to pull out from the wall.

Winged plastic anchors are best used for: Towel bars, toilet paper holders, heavy picture frames, light fixtures, bulletin boards, smoke alarms, lightweight shelving, and wall-mounted mirrors on plaster walls.

How to Install a Wall Anchor:
1. Press folded wings together and insert into a pre-drilled hole.
2. Then use the supplied pin tool to pop the wings open.
3. The wings should spread open and grip the inside of the wall.

The most popular drywall anchor, threaded wall anchors are fast and easy to install. They do not require pre-drilling and are strong enough to hold up to 50 pounds. Available in in metal and plastic, the plastic threaded anchors are best used for drywall and the metal threaded anchors can be used for drywall or plaster.

Threaded drywall anchors are best used for: Closet organizer kits and shelving, heavy picture frames, bulletin boards, smoke alarms, lightweight shelving, light fixtures, wall-mounted mirrors on drywall.

How to Install:
1. Simply drive the threaded anchor into the drywall with a screwdriver or drill-driver. Once fully seated, you're ready to attach the item with the screw of your choosing.
2. When driven flush to the wall, any appropriately sized screw may be used to fasten the anchor hole.

Strap toggle bolts can support heavy fixtures, such as large mirrors, in drywall, plaster and concrete. HiIlman makes a very strong anchor (pictured) that hangs objects up to 80 pounds on drywall and up to 330 pounds in concrete. These types of anchors have some drawbacks, one being that they require a large pilot hole. Also, if you ever need to remove the bolt, the anchor will fall into the wall and you will need to reinstall a new anchor to rehang an object.

Toggle anchors are best used for: Use strap toggles to attach heavy items such as mirrors and shelves to drywall, plaster, concrete block, and brick walls. As well as hanging items from ceilings.

How to Install:
1. Drill hole and push toggle and strap until toggle opens against the interior wall surface.
2. Then push plastic collar to exterior surface and break off plastic straps. Align fixture and secure with supplied bolt.
3. Once inside the wall, the anchor will adhere to wall as bolt is tightened.