Hanging a picture on the wall seems like a simple job, but the reality can often be very different. Depending on the kind of wall you have, you will need to use a different fixing to make sure your picture doesn’t come crashing to the ground. This article looks at the most common wall types and describes the best way to make a fixing into each.
The most common type of wall in modern houses is a stud wall, where plasterboard overlays a timber frame. When attaching any fitting to a stud wall, it is best to screw directly into one of the studs for the strongest fixing. However, finding where the studs are is not always that easy. If you have a stud finder, then that is by far the easiest way to be sure you are in the right place. Unfortunately, most people don’t own one, so for these people, you can find the approximate position of the timber by tapping on the wall and listening to the sound. You will notice a hollow sound when you are in between the studs, and a firmer sound when you are on top of timber.
However, what do you do if you want the picture in a particular place that isn’t near a stud? While the attachment will never be as firm, you can use fittings such as toggle bolts, or hollow wall anchors. Hollow wall anchors are easier to fit as they screw straight into the plasterboard, although they are weaker than toggle bolts, so are not suitable for hanging heavier items. Toggle bolts can be fiddly to attach but will provide a much stronger join.
Some houses have internal brick walls, or you may just be wanting to hang something outside. Either way, fixing to brick is relatively straight forward. To do so, you will need a plastic wall plug (also called a rawlplug) and a masonry drill bit of the same size. Drill the hole (making sure it is deep enough to contain the screw), tap in the rawlplug with a hammer, and screw the hook into the plug.
Timber board is the easiest of any wall type to fix to, as you are attaching straight on to wood. Use a screw, wall hook, or drive in a nail and you should get a firm hold. Just make sure that the fitting isn’t too close to a join in the timber, or you might damage the wood, and end up with a loose fitting to boot.
There is one alternative that will work on any wall type, and that is to use adhesive hooks. They aren’t as reliable as getting a physical fitting into the wall but have the benefit of being easy to fit anywhere and don’t cause any damage. If you are hanging something that isn’t too heavy, they can be a good quick option, but the glue can weaken over time, so you should only really consider them if you can’t get a proper fixing anywhere. To fit an adhesive hook, you just need to clean the surface to remove any oil and dirt, peel off the backing, and stick it on.
Whatever your wall type, there is always a way to fix a hook. You just need to make sure that your fixing is strong enough to hold whatever you are hanging. If you are unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and go for too firm a fixing rather than too weak. That way you can be confident that whatever you are hanging will stay firmly on the wall.