How to Use Drywall Anchors in Your First Apartment

The task of furnishing and decorating your first apartment often includes hanging pictures, shelves, and other things, but fixtures that aren’t hung properly can fall and break – and damage to the apartment walls. Drywall anchors are an easy way to help you hang things safely, so read on below to learn how to use them in your first apartment.

What are drywall anchors?

Drywall tends to be somewhat brittle and can break if you try to anchor anything heavy in them using screws or nails. Drywall anchors help provide a more sturdy support to hang things from.

There are various kinds of drywall anchors, but typically, when you screw or nail in a drywall anchor, it will expand to use more of the wall surface to support the weight of whatever you’re hanging. This will help keep your screw or nail from pulling out of the wall or ripping a hole in it.

Plastic anchors

Plastic anchors are best suited for hanging lightweight items like picture frames, small mirrors, and other small decorative fixtures.

When you purchase plastic anchors, they’ll sometimes come with the screw that fits them. Otherwise, you can typically use a small drywall screw. Use a drill to make a hole in the wall slightly smaller than the diameter of the anchor, then hammer the anchor into the wall and insert your screw into the anchor.

Steel anchors

Steel anchors are stronger than plastic anchors, so these should be your go-to for any wall fixtures that need to support between 20 and 100 pounds. Steel anchors have a bolt built into a metal casing, so there’s no need to purchase additional screws.

To install a steel anchor, simply predrill a small hole as recommended on the box your anchor came in. Use a hammer to lightly tap the anchor into the hole, and then screw it in until it’s sitting flush.

Self-drilling anchors

Self-drilling anchors make the process easier by eliminating the need for a drill. A self-drilling anchor looks like a large plastic screw with a metal screw that comes with it.

To insert a self-drilling anchor, simply poke the tip of the anchor into the drywall and use a screwdriver to tighten it until flush. Then take the screw that came with the anchor and screw it in until flush.

Toggle bolts

A toggle bolt is the most sturdy type of drywall anchor and should be used for anything that needs to hold more than 100 pounds. These anchors are ideal for large shelving units in the pantry or laundry room.

As implied in the name, a toggle bolt is not a screw, so it doesn’t have a sharp point. You’ll need to pre-drill a hole the size of the bolt before inserting it. Make sure the folding “toggle” is closed, and then insert it through the hole in the wall. As you turn the screw, the toggle will expand to get a grip on the back of the wall.

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