How To Use And Install Drywall Anchors: Tips From The Pros

VD September 09 2021

In modern houses, home décor is very important, especially as we spend more time indoors. People use several items to enhance the beauty of their homes which include paintings, photo frames, and other wall hangings. To correctly hang such decoration pieces without seeing them falling and getting damaged, you’d need drywall anchors. 

So, if you are here because you want to learn how to use drywall anchors and confidently hang various expensive pieces for décor reasons, then we’ll fill you in on the installation process. 

Drywall Anchor Options to Choose From

The selection of a suitable drywall anchor depends upon the weight of the thing you want to hang on the wall. So, even though there are many types of drywall anchors, we’ll discuss some of the most common ones here as a majority of people use them. The list includes:  

  • A plastic sleeve anchor (suitable for items that weigh less than 10 lbs) 
  • Self-drilling threaded drywall anchors (best for décor pieces that weigh from 10 lbs to 25 lbs) 
  • Molly bolts, toggle bolts, snap toggle (for 25 to 50 lbs items) 
  • Screw penetrated in a stud, snap toggle, toggle bolts (for items weighing more than 50 lbs) 

You can find many drywall anchors for items that are 100 lbs or exceeding in weight, but you have to ensure the correct installation and carefully check its durability before hanging something costly. Now, let’s find out how to use drywall anchors.

Fixing a Plastic Sleeve Anchor

  • Use a pencil to place a dot on the wall where you plan on hanging an item. 
  • Drill a tiny hole at the dot by using a suitable tool. The pilot hole should be smaller in size than the breadth of the anchor. 
  • Place the anchor into the hole and hammer it down until it finally fixes on the wall. 
  • Use a screwdriver or a drill for setting the screw. 

Fitting a Self-Drilling Threaded Anchor: 

  • Place a mark where you want to drill a hole. 
  • Use a hammer to lightly pound on the anchor till it gets into the wall and you reach the threads. 
  • With a screwdriver tool, screw the anchor inside the wall till the top of the anchor attaches with the drywall. 
  • Use a drill or a screwdriver to adjust the depth of the screw as per your need. 

Installing Molly Bolts 

There are three types of molly bolts. 

  1. Pointed bolts. These bolts do not require making a hole and can directly be installed into the wall by hammering them down.
  2. Un-pointed bolts. Follow the same steps as other bolts. In short, you drill a tiny hole into the drywall to install them.
  3. Barbed head bolts. Barbed heads bite into the drywall and prevent the spinning of the anchor within the hole.

Installation Method

  • Draw a point with a pencil or pen at your preferable spot on the wall. 
  • Drill a pilot hole if you require one. The packaging can let you know about the right size of the hole.  
  • Insert the anchor within the hole and fasten the bolt into the sleeve of the molly anchor that would cause it to spread out and clutch the inside of the drywall. 
  • After the molly bolt is fastened, pull the screw out of the sleeve and use the top of the screw to hang your item. 

Fixing Toggle Bolts on Drywall 

Toggle bolts are the best at tolerating a considerable amount of weight and can support weighty items. Some things that you should know about toggle bolts include the size of a hole that should be larger than the anchor, the bracket covers the large hole, drywalls that aren’t very durable might not be able to carry the weight of the item. 

Installation Method: 

  • Pinpoint the hanging spot with a pencil. 
  • Drill a large hole into the wall. The hold should be large enough so that the toggle bolt while being bent can slide inside the drywall. You can look over the instructions on the package to find out the correct size for making a hole. 
  • Place the bolt into the bracket for attaching it to the wall. Push the toggle onto the bolt, putting the edges in front of the screw head. 
  • Compress the toggle closed and drive both the bolt and the toggle into the wall. After the toggle gets through the other side, it’ll expand and clutch the drywall. 
  • Fasten the bolt till it gets close-fitted. 

Fitting Snap toggles 

With a bit more steps but far convenient to install than other drywall anchor bolts like molly bolts and regular toggles, snap toggles are a great option to opt for hanging expensive items. 

Installation Method: 

  • Drill a right-sized hole into the drywall after marking the point. 
  • Slip in the metal channel of the snap toggle through the hole. 
  • Clench the straps together and tug with one hand till the metal channel attaches behind the drywall. 
  • Use a ratchet to screw the cap with the straps by using your other hand till the collar of the cap is fixed with the wall. 
  • Use your thumb to push the straps on the wall side to side, adjusting the straps level with the rim of the cap. 
  • Put your item up. Insert the bolt and fasten it till it’s tightly fitted. 

What to do if you end up drilling an incorrect hole? 

You must carefully drill a hole, ensuring your aim is at a straight angle. The size is always recommended on the packing of anchors that you can use for making specific measurements. Anyhow, if by mistake you drill a bigger hole in the wall, then you can: 

  • Use a bigger-sized drywall anchor 
  • While using a threaded anchor, if the bolt seems to be petite in size, then grab a large one
  • In case of a regular toggle bolt, go for the washer. 

What size to opt for when drilling a pilot hole? 

Drywall anchors are the best when it comes to letting you know the exact size you need to drill a hole. Flip toggle and snap toggle bolt anchors generally require a 1/2 –inch drill bit. For the drywall anchors that can attach directly, you can skip drilling holes. 

What should be the depth for drilling pilot holes? 

You only require the depth that allows the anchor to pass through the drywall but, if you have to make a hole into a wood stud, then you would need to drill a deep enough hole that can pass through it. Go for an additional 1/8-inch depth to ensure that the depth of the hole fits the drywall anchor size by this measurement.

Few Facts about Drywall Anchors

If you are here to learn how to use drywall anchors, then you might as well know a few facts about drywall anchors that can increase your knowledge about them. 

  • Drywall anchors are not suitable for mounting a 65 inches TV to the wall because of their size and weight. You better use wall studs to support such heavy items. 
  • Knowing the thickness of your drywall helps you in choosing the right size and length of a drywall anchor. 
  • You can use a drill bit guide to avoid any confusion and mistakes while drilling a pilot hole for entering the anchor into the drywall. 

We hope this guide gives you an idea about how to use drywall anchors safely. Follow the steps carefully, and you can install drywall anchors like a pro.