How to Hang Heavy Stuff in Hollow Ceilings

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The most secure way to hang a heavy object, such as a chandelier or suspended bed, is to screw the hanging objects into a ceiling beam. However, if you want to hang something in a location where tapping into the beam is not an option, you can still safely hang it in the hollow area. Using wall anchors allows you to support the weight of the object without pulling directly through the drywall in the ceiling.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Spring toggle wall anchors
  • Measure the distance between the hanging attachments, often a ring or just a mounting hole, on the item to be hung. If there is only one attachment, skip this step. Use the measurements to mark the ceiling where you want to hang the item. Place one mark for each hanging attachment, spacing them the same distance as they are on the item.

  • Drill a pilot hole into the ceiling at each mark. Pilot holes must be large enough to accept the expanding wings on the toggle bolt that unfold against the underside of the drywall.

  • Place the ceiling mount attachment where you want to hang the item. Line up the holes in the attachment with the pilot holes.

  • Remove the spring-loaded toggle from the screw end of a spring toggle wall anchor. Insert the end of screw through the holes on the ceiling mount attachment on your item. Twist the toggle back on the end of the screw. Repeat the process with a new spring-loaded toggle for each hole in the ceiling-mount attachment. Spring toggle wall anchors are screws or bolts with a spring-loaded toggle on them. The toggles look like a V-shaped pair of wings. The open end of the wings point towards the head of the screw.

  • Insert the end of the screw into the wall until the toggle is inside. Once inside, the toggle releases, fanning out on either side of the screw. The toggles expand to distribute the item’s weight evenly throughout the anchor instead of pulling on one spot. Twist the screw, with the ceiling mount attached, until the mount is secured tight to the ceiling. Choose spring toggles that are graded for the weight of the item to be hung and the weight of the ceiling's drywall. You can determine the weight of the object using a scale or by checking the manufacturer’s packaging for listed weight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never hang a heavy object over a bed or crib.
  • For safety reasons, if the ceiling’s drywall is brittle or damaged, do not hang anything from it. Have a building inspector check the structure before proceeding.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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