YOU Magazine - January 2021 - Different Types of Wall Anchors
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Paul and Sarah Scheper     Paul and Sarah Scheper
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January 2021

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Different Types of Wall Anchors

Different Types of Wall Anchors

Walk into any home improvement store and head over to the drywall section, and you might become overwhelmed by all the different types of anchors available. You don't want to just select the cheapest option and hope that it will hold your new mirror or expensive artwork on the wall. So how do you know which ones will work for your next DIY project?

First, it's important to know exactly what drywall anchors are and how they can help. A drywall anchor grips the drywall more effectively than a screw and helps you hang something on the wall. Although you might be able to hang something lightweight such as a calendar on the wall with just a nail, heavier items need something sturdier.

The wallboard is usually only 1/2-inch thick and is created with gypsum and paper, both of which are soft materials. It makes for sturdy walls, but you can easily accrue dents in it. Also, its thinness can become a problem when you want to hang heavier pieces. The anchor allows you to insert screws into the wall without causing the soft drywall to crumble around it.

There are different types of drywall anchors available, and their practicality depends on the weight of whatever you're hanging:

Plastic expansion anchors: Made to hold a screw, these anchors expand inside the wall when you drive the screw into them. They're often packaged with the screw inside so you don't need to worry about finding one that fits. You must drill the hole first with these anchors, which work best for lightweight items weighing less than 15 pounds.

Self-drilling anchors: These anchors look like small screws, and you can screw them into the wall directly. Use these anchors to hang curtain rods and small decorative shelves that weigh no more than 50 pounds.

Steel hollow-wall anchors: Also known as molly bolts, these anchors resemble a bolt wrapped in a pointy metal jacket. When you drive the anchors into the wall, they expand and create anchors inside the drywall. You can use these anchors for towel bars, coat hooks, and other items that weigh up to 100 pounds.

Toggle bolts: Similar to molly bolts, toggle bolts are metal and have anchors that will spread out when inserted into the wall. These are the strongest wall anchors available and can hold upwards of 300 to 350 pounds.


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