DIY: How to Hang Drapery Rods in Plaster

Hanging drapery rods in plaster can be a little tricky because of the composition of plaster walls. Plaster is a hard surface with a composition similar to concrete or plaster of Paris. This top finish is applied over a system of wood or metal lathing. Older plaster can be brittle and will crumble. Consider the weight of the draperies installed to determine the type of anchor or fastener used. Unless the drapery rod installed is very lightweight, pre-drilling and anchors are the best solution.

  1. Lightweight Drapery Rods

    • Drill a hole into the plaster wall that is slightly smaller in diameter than the screws you will use to mount the drapery rod bracket. Use a hand screwdriver in lieu of a motorized drill driver to drive the screw into the plaster. Do not over tighten or the screw may pull out of the wall. If the screw pulls out do not despair; usually a plastic anchor installed in the screw hole will solve the problem.

    Medium Weight Drapery Rods

    • Plastic anchors should be used for medium-weight rods. Pre-drill holes that have been marked on the plaster wall to match the holes in the drapery rod bracket. Drill the hole slightly smaller than the plastic anchor you will use. Gently tap the anchor into the hole with a hammer and use the screws that are included with the anchors to install the bracket. Do not over tighten or the anchor may pull out of the wall. Tighten just enough for the anchor to expand and to pull the drapery rod bracket snug to the plaster wall.

    Heavy Weight Drapery Rods

    • For heavy rods toggle bolts will be needed to hold it in place. Use the drill bit size recommended on the package of toggle bolts to drill pre-marked holes in the plaster wall. Insert the bolts through the drapery rod bracket, and then screw on the winged nut of the bolt. Screw the nut up the shaft of the bolt several turns. Hold the winged nut folded to the shaft of the bolt and insert through the drilled hole. The winged nut will open on the backside of the wall increasing the amount of area to support the weight of the drapery rod. If the drapery rod brackets are removed, the winged nuts will drop down into the wall necessitating a new winged nut when re-installing.

    Tips and Advice

    • Always use a drill when installing drapery rod brackets, and do not hammer aggressively on plaster walls. The hammering will cause the lathing that the plaster is adhered to vibrate and could cause the plaster to crumble and loosen from the lathing. Avoid the use of drill drivers, as it is hard to avoid over tightening when using this type of tool.

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