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DO-IT-YOURSELF : Nuts and Bolts (and Nails) of Hanging Things

March 26, 1994|From Associated Press

How you hang an object depends on how heavy it is and the kind of wall you're hanging it on.

Most interior walls are plaster or wallboard over wood or metal studs, or some type of masonry.

Hollow Walls: On the Stud

On a hollow wall, it's best to attach an object to a stud whenever possible.

* Use a common nail or a wood screw long enough to go through the fixture and wall and well into the stud. For a screw, first drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the screw's diameter.

* Secure a heavy object with a lag bolt--a heavy-duty screw with a square head. Drive it in with a wrench. Or use a hanger bolt--one end is threaded like a wood screw, the other accepts a nut.

* Use a sheet metal screw to fasten to a metal stud. Drill through the wall up to the stud. Dent the metal with a punch. Then drill a small pilot hole.

Hollow Walls: Between Studs

For a hollow wall between studs, the more fasteners used, the better. For all but the lightest loads, use at least two fasteners.

* To determine what length hollow-wall fastener to use, you need to find the wall's thickness. Drill a small hole, insert a six-penny common nail headfirst. Pull the nailhead against the inside of the wall. Mark the nail where it comes out of the wall. Then pull out the nail and measure the distance.

* Use plastic anchors only for very light loads.

* For medium loads, install hollow-wall anchors. Drill a hole the same size as an anchor, insert it and tighten the screw to flatten the end of the anchor against the inside of the wall. Then take out the screw and attach the object to the anchor.

* Toggle bolts will hold even more weight. Put a bolt through the fixture, screw the spring-loaded wings onto the bolt, then drill a hole and slip the wings through it. When the wings spring open, tighten the bolt to pull the open wings against the inside of the wall.

Masonry Walls

* Attach boards that will carry light loads with masonry nails or cut nails. Because these nails tend to split wood, first drill a hole in the board for each nail. To protect your eyes, wear safety goggles when fastening to masonry walls. Drive out masonry or other hardened nails with a hardened steel hammer or light sledge. They snap easily when not struck properly and can chip a cast-iron hammer, causing flying metal particles.

* To attach an object to a solid masonry wall, drill a pilot hole the length and diameter of the anchor. Use a carbide-tipped bit in a variable-speed, half-inch electric drill. Clean out the hole before tapping in the anchor.

* Use a plastic or fiber plug or a plastic anchor for a light load and a lead anchor for a heavier one. For heaviest loads, use an expansion shield.

* If a fastener is to carry a heavy load, don't install it in the mortar between masonry blocks.

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