How to hang something heavy on the wall

Last updated: January 1

Hanging that heavy picture or mirror on the wall may seem a daunting task. But if you're willing to take on the challenge, you'll find much of what you need to know right here.

If your walls are made of plaster or drywall, one option is to affix the object to a spot on the wall directly into what's called a stud. According to Family Handyman, studs are boards that are framing elements to support walls. They can also help support the weight of heavy objects

Make sure to check for studs in the walls prior to hanging something. BobVila.com suggests these three strategies for finding a stud:

  1. Knock on the wall. When a stud is behind that spot, the sound will be a more solid thump.
  2. Check for nails along your baseboard. They're typically placed on the stud line.
  3. Use a stud finder, which you can buy at your local hardware store.

Place your item over a stud using a 3-inch wood screw on a plaster wall and a 2½-inch wood screw on drywall, BobVila.com recommends.

Unlike drywall screws, wood screws are not threaded all the way to the top, so they are a better option for drilling into wood, according to Family Handyman. You'll need to use your drill with a multipurpose drill bit to create a pilot hole that will allow you to insert a screw or nail. Then use the drill to affix the wood screw.

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Hanging heavy objects on plaster without a stud

Use a toggle bolt or anchor to hang the piece on areas with no studs, This Old House says. The weight of the piece , and the thickness of the wall, will dictate the toggle size. The typical metal toggle bolt can hold 25 to 50 pounds on plaster, according This Old House. A plastic one can hold 10 to 25 pounds.

Install a toggle bolt by using two pieces of painter's tape to create an X over the spot you want to hang the object, BobVila.com recommends. Drill a hole in that spot and fold the bolt's wings into the sides while the bolt is inserted into the wall. Then, just use your fingers to tighten the bolt and secure with a screwdriver.

Hanging something heavy on brick/Masonry

Use a wall anchor to hang your picture or mirror on a brick wall. BobVila.com recommends a polyethylene expansion anchor. To install, use a masonry drill bit to drill a hole into the mortar where you want a hook to go. Then insert the anchor into the hole and screw the hook into the anchor.

A brick wall can typically carry a heavier load than plaster or drywall. The maximum load the anchor can hold will depend on the anchor's material, size and style, Family Handyman says.

Is your wall ornament insured?

A homeowners policy helps cover your belongings, including wall art or flatscreen TVs. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends creating a home inventory of all your personal belongings, so that it's accounted for by your policy.

You may need to add a scheduled endorsement on your policy to help cover expensive works of fine art. Scheduling increases coverage limits for higher-value items. Reach out to your insurer if you're not sure what warrants an endorsement on your policy.