Why Won’t Your Drywall Anchors Hold? 3 Solutions

Drywall anchors are a handy way to secure objects to walls, but sometimes they don’t hold the weight you want them to. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to hang a picture or shelf, and the anchor slips out of the wall, sending your stuff crashing down.

Oversized holes are the number one reason your drywall anchors won’t hold. If the hole is too big, the anchor doesn’t have the chance to grip the back of the drywall panel. Instead, it will spin freely inside the provided hole. You can avoid this by using a larger anchor than the drill bit. 

This article will explore the top three reasons your drywall anchors aren’t holding, plus solutions for each problem.

Why Won't Your Drywall Anchors Hold

1. The Hole Was Not Drilled Correctly

You can blame the poor drywall anchors all you want, but if the holes weren’t drilled correctly, your anchors will never fit perfectly. Most people don’t realize that there is a certain way to drill the hole for the drywall anchor. 

The hole should be a little smaller than the anchor because this will ensure that it fits perfectly. 

If the gap is too big, the drywall anchor will have nothing to bite into.

You also want to be stable when you are drilling the hole. This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people try to hold the drill in one hand and the drywall in the other. 

The best way to drill a hole for a drywall anchor is to use a cordless drill and secure the drywall before installing the anchors. This will ensure a straighter hole and make it easier to get the drywall anchor in place.

How To Fix

I have used wood filler, Wet-N-Fix drywall anchor repair, joint compound, spackle, and other materials to try and fill the oversized hole with limited success. 

The Wet-N-Fix solution had the best results but was still not perfect. The best way to fix this problem is to patch the old hole with a piece of drywall and start over with a new one. Be sure to drill the hole the correct size this time.

However, a new hole is not always an option. If you are trying to avoid patching the spot, you can try a few other things. One is to use a bigger drywall anchor. This will give the anchor more surface area to grip the back of the drywall. Your screw should also be long enough to reach the stud. 

Another option is to use a wall plug instead of a drywall anchor. Wall plugs are made of a harder material and have more holding power than drywall anchors. They are also easier to install because you don’t have to worry about the hole size. Just drill a hole big enough for the wall plug to fit and hammer it in place.

Alternatively, you can use a self-drilling anchor like the Qualihome Drywall Anchor (available on Amazon.com). The product doesn’t require a pre-drilled hole, reducing the risk of having oversized holes. It’s also heavy-duty and easy to install.

2. Too Much Weight on the Anchor

Just because a drywall anchor is rated to hold a certain amount of weight doesn’t mean it will actually hold that much weight. The problem is that people don’t take into account the type of drywall they are using. 

There are different types of drywall, and they all have different breaking strengths. The most popular size of drywall is a half-inch (1.27 cm) thick, but people also use the 5/8-inch (1.6 cm). The thicker it is, the more weight it can hold.

Another factor to consider is the type of object you are hanging on the wall. If you hang a heavy picture frame, the weight will be distributed evenly over the entire frame. However, if you are hanging an asymmetrical shelf, the weight might not be so evenly distributed. This can cause the drywall anchor to pull out of the wall.

How To Fix

The best way to fix this problem is to use a sturdier drywall anchor. There are various types of drywall anchors – some stronger than others. You could always ask for assistance at a DIY store if you don’t know which one is suitable for your needs. They should be able to recommend the best anchor for your project.

As a general rule, you should never hang anything on your wall that weighs more than the drywall anchor is rated to hold. If you do, there is a good chance the anchor will pull out of the wall, and the object will come crashing down.

While it’s tempting to maximize the capacity indicated on the drywall anchor’s label, you may want to hang an object a few tens or hundreds of grams lighter.

3. You Got the Anchor Material Wrong

There are different types of drywall anchors. The most common type is made from plastic, but metal and concrete anchors are also available. When choosing a suitable anchor for your project, you should select one that can provide sufficient support. 

For example, if you are hanging a heavy mirror on your wall, you would select an anchor that offers more support than one that is suitable for lightweight objects, like plastic picture frames. 

The same goes for the kind of drywall you are using. You can’t use a concrete anchor on drywalls because the plaster will crack. Make sure you know what type of wall you have and what kind of anchor is required.

How To Fix

The best way to fix this problem is to use the correct type of drywall anchor for your project. 

For example, the plastic anchors I got for my curtains were too small, and the weight of the curtains pulled them right out of the drywall. I had to go back to the store and get metal anchors, which worked perfectly. Sometimes it’s a trial and error process, but it’s worth it to do it right the first time.

If you are unsure which type of anchor to use, ask a salesperson at your local hardware store. They should be able to recommend a couple of options you can use on your project.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold Without a Stud?

Drywall can hold anywhere between 10 and 20 lbs (4.5 and 9.0 kg) without the help of a stud, but it really depends on how you install the anchor. If you don’t install the drywall anchor properly, it will eventually pull out of the wall, and your object will come crashing down.

However, these weights are only for objects that are evenly distributed. If you hang a glass mirror or a picture frame, most of the weight will be concentrated in the middle. This can cause sagging and eventually give way.

Bearing more weight than intended can also cause the drywall anchors to break. Check out my article on the common reasons behind drywall anchor breakage, where I’ve discussed this mishap in more detail, along with potential fixes. [Why Do Drywall Anchors Break? 4 Common Reasons] 

I like to use studs whenever possible because they provide a more secure connection. But there are times when you can’t use a stud because it’s not in the right location. In these cases, you will need to use a drywall anchor.

Types of Drywall Anchors

There are three main types of drywall anchors: plastic, metal, and concrete. Each type of anchor is designed for a specific weight and material. And it’s super important to use the right anchor for your project.

For example, if you are hanging a heavy mirror on your wall, you will need to use a different type of anchor than just putting up a wall clock. The same goes for the type of drywall you are using. You can’t use a concrete anchor on plaster walls because it just won’t stick as intended.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold Without Anchors?

Even the heaviest drywall is only rated to support around 10 pounds (4.5 kg) without additional reinforcement. The most important thing to know about drywall is that it is not structural. That means it can’t support more than a few pounds on its own.

For example, if you’re hanging a mirror weighing 12 pounds (5.4 kg), you need to use drywall anchors and studs to ensure its safety.

Unfortunately, even the best drywall anchors can fail if they’re not installed correctly or if the weight they’re supporting is too much for them. If your wall-mounted objects keep falling, it might be because you’re not using the right type of anchor for the job.

To find studs, you can use a stud finder or just knock on the wall until you hear a solid sound. Then use a measuring tape to mark out where the stud is located.

Final Thoughts

Drywall anchors are a great way to hang things on your walls without damaging the drywall or putting too much stress on the structure. However, it’s important to choose the right type of anchor for the job and to install them correctly.

If you’re having trouble with your drywall anchors, try one of the solutions above. With a little bit of trial and error, you should be able to find an anchor that will hold up your mirror, picture frame, or piece of art securely.

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