Using wall plugs is the perfect way to ensure the safety of your wall when installing cabinets, hanging art or lighting fixtures, or preparing to install a television mount. They will also keep heavy items from falling and injuring you or someone in your home. Wall plugs are well worth the short time it will take you to install them.
Wall plugs, also called anchors, are compatible with wood screws. However, it is vital to match the gauge of your wood screw to the gauge of the wall plug you’re using.
Choosing the correct wall plug and installing it safely is of the utmost importance when working on a project. This article will give you step-by-step instructions for wall plug installation and teach you how to pick from the various options available.
How To Use Wood Screws in Wall Plugs
Any good project begins at the hardware store. Hence, be careful when picking your wall plugs, and always abide by the listed weight limits. Wall plugs are also specific to the type of surface you’ll be drilling into, from masonry to drywall.
Once you’ve confirmed that the plug you’re using is suitable for the kind of wall you’re working with, it’s time to install it.
Perform a Safety Check
The first step to installing a wall plug with a wood screw is to check the wall for wiring, plumbing fixtures, and damage. Avoid drilling near wall sockets, and check the direction of the wiring – head to the basement if you have one.
Since electrical wiring runs parallel to studs, using a stud finder is also a good idea. Luckily, you can purchase one at a low price if you don’t already have one. This eOutil Stud Finder from Amazon.com is quite inexpensive and helps you locate metal, wood, or joist hidden within your house floors, walls, or even the ceiling. It also works on multiple wall surfaces including painted walls, acoustic ceiling, or wallpaper wood flooring.
Select the Appropriate Wall Plug
The type of wall plug or anchor you will need depends on the project and the kind of wall. A plasterboard wall plug is recommended for hollow drywall because it has wings that expand to hold the plug in place. If you plan to hang something heavy, use a larger plug.
When you’re at the hardware store selecting your wall plugs, remember that the larger the plug, the heavier the load it can bear.
At this point, it is a good idea to check that your wood screws and drill bit are the correct size to fit into the wall plug. Being confident of this before you start working will keep you from making an extra trip to the store mid-way through your project.
There are numerous options available when it comes to wall plugs, but the most common are colored plastic ones. For extra-heavy projects, metal wall plugs are also available.
Install the Wall Plug
Once you’ve got the correct bit size on your drill, you will need to drill a pilot hole. The easiest way to do this is to measure the anchor alongside your drill bit and mark its length on the bit with a piece of tape. Measuring beforehand will ensure your pilot hole is the proper depth for your wall plug. Use the tape as a guide as you carefully drill the pilot hole into the wall.
With the pilot hole done, you can easily use your fingers to push the wall plug into the hole. Finish by drilling the plug the rest of the way into the hole. You might also consider using a hammer to lightly tap the plug so it is secure in the wall.
Insert the Wood Screw
Finally, you’re ready to finish by inserting the wood screw. This is how to go about it:
- Line up the screw and slowly push the tip into the opening of the wall plug.
- With the corresponding drill bit, drill the screw into the wall plug.
And that’s it. You’ve safely and successfully installed a wall plug with a wood screw.
Taking the time to do this will ensure that your walls remain fully intact and keep the items you’re hanging from falling or breaking.
Can You Install a Wall Plug or Drywall Anchor Without a Drill?
You can still install a wall plug if you don’t have an electric drill. Using a screwdriver is just as effective as using a drill if you don’t have access to power tools. Nonetheless, it’s just as essential to match the shape and gauge of your screwdriver to the gauge of your wall plug as it is with a drill. So make sure to measure before you start working.
To make a pilot hole for a wall plug with a screwdriver, do the following:
- Use the tip of the screwdriver to create a shallow hole in the drywall.
- Use your screwdriver to manually screw the wall plug into the hole you just made.
The short video below will give you more detailed step-by-step instructions on how to install a wall plug with a screwdriver:
Either a screwdriver or electric drill is needed to install a wall plug properly. Since wall plugs are threaded, they will need to be screwed into the wall to function correctly. Trying to do so with your bare fingers only will result in inadequate installation, and whatever you choose to hang from that wall will be far from secure.
How To Choose the Right Wall Plug
The type of wall plug you will need for your project depends on the type of wall and the weight of what you’re hanging. Using the wrong size wall plug can end disastrously for you, your wall, and the items you’ve hung or installed. On the other hand, with the right size wall plug, wood screws can hold a TV and even heavier objects. [Are Wood Screws Strong Enough To Hold a TV?]
The best practice with any project involving hanging something on a wall is to underestimate your wall plugs’ weight limit. Use multiple wall plugs to properly distribute the weight and avoid overloading the wall plugs. The weight capacity should be listed on the package of your wall plugs, but next is an easy guide to follow.
When To Use Drywall Sleeve Wall Plugs or Anchors
For projects under 20 pounds (9.07 kg), you can opt for the cheaper drywall sleeve anchor. This variety involves the same installation process I laid out in the previous section, with a smaller load-bearing capacity. Use drywall sleeve anchors for the following items:
- Light picture frames
- Small shelves
- Holiday decorations
- Other lightweight items
When To Use Drywall Threaded Corkscrew Anchors
A larger and more sophisticated wall plug will be necessary for more heavy-duty projects. Larger and heavy-load-bearing wall plugs are available in plastic and metal, and the installation is just as simple. Drywall-threaded corkscrew anchors are perfect for TV mounts and heavy wall art.
When To Use Toggle Anchors
Toggle anchors or wall plugs are spring-loaded devices that more efficiently grip the wall once inserted. They are meant for extra-heavy projects like cabinet installation, so you should go with a toggle anchor if your project involves more weight.
The installation is a little different this time round, so I’ve included the basic steps below :
- Drill a pilot hole with the appropriate drill bit.
- Insert the nut into the pilot hole.
- Tighten the screw while holding the nut with your free hand.
- The wings will open on their own and keep the anchor secure under hefty pressure.
How To Choose the Right Wood Screw for Your Wall Plugs
The gauge of your wall plug directly correlates with the size of the wood screws you’ll need. Some wall plugs are conveniently sold with the appropriate wood screws included, so you can choose one of these options if they fit your budget. Many of these all-inclusive options are sold in kits with various sizes and weight-bearing capacities, so you’ll be well stocked with various sizes of wall plugs.
If you’re only purchasing one size that doesn’t come with corresponding screws, the wall plug’s packaging should include a guide or chart with the wood plugs’ weight limit and gauge size. The gauge is typically listed in millimeters. This measurement tells you the gauge your wood screws need to be as well as the size drill bit or screwdriver you’ll need for the project.
Remember, proper installation of wall plugs or anchors will save you time, money, and a great deal of hassle on your next project.
Wood screws can be used in wall plugs and are the standard for installation. However, acquiring the correct gauge screws and drill bit is crucial. Make your next project easier by:
- Using suitable wood screws – never using screws that are too large/small for your wall plugs.
- Choosing wall plugs with an appropriate weight capacity for whatever you plan to hang, and always following the listed weight capacity.
- Installing wall plugs correctly with a correctly-sized drill or screwdriver.
Use wall plugs correctly and your walls won’t crack from too much weight. You’ll also guarantee the safety of your wall hangings.