How to Install Hollow Wall Anchors

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Hollow wall anchors are used to support objects hung on the wall. The wall, though, may not be strong enough to support such things as mirrors, pictures, paintings and wall sculptures. A hollow wall anchor creates a support within the wall so you can hang these types of objects. Though there are many different kinds of wall anchors, they fall into three basic categories: plastic expansion anchors, threaded drywall anchors and sleeve type anchors.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Screw
  • Hammer
  • Hollow wall anchor

Plastic Expansion Anchor

Use plastic expansion anchors for objects weighing less than 30 pounds.

Drill a hole slightly larger in diameter than the plastic expansion anchor.

Tap the anchor into the hole with a hammer. The rim of the expansion anchor should be almost flush with the wall.

Screw a screw into the anchor, leaving a minimum of length to allow for hanging your object. The anchor will expand, gripping the interior of the wall. This creates the anchor. Hang the object using the now-anchored screw.

Threaded Drywall Anchor

Use threaded drywall anchors for objects such as open shelving. Though slightly stronger than plastic expansion joints, they will not hold more weight. They are, however, more stable.

Use an awl to punch a small hole in the drywall for the anchor.

Insert the threaded drywall anchor into the hole. Use a screwdriver to drive the anchor into the wall until the top of the anchor is flush with the wall. The pointed end of the anchor then spreads, allowing the screw to be inserted.

Insert the screw into the anchor and hang the object.

Sleeve Type Wall Anchor

Use a sleeve type wall anchor for more demanding installations, such as heavy mirrors, lighting or wall hung bookshelves. These anchors are sometimes referred to as toggle bolts or molly bolts. Sleeve type anchors have a screw within the sleeve that activates the toggle.

Drill a hole in the wall the diameter of the anchor sleeve. Insert the anchor into the hole. On the back of the faceplate of the anchor are two pins. These should be fully inserted into the wall.

Use a screwdriver to loosen the screw from the sleeve type anchor. Once the screw is loosened, the toggles on the end of the anchor will open and grip the backside of the wall. These “wings” provide the anchor. The anchor, though, is protruding from the wall.

Screw the screw back into the anchor, leaving enough length to hang your object of choice. The toggles or “wings” remain open.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sleeve type hollow wall anchors can be difficult to remove. You may need to push them into the wall and patch over the area.

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