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How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold?

When trying to figure out how much weight drywall can hold, you’ll need to account for a few different factors. One of the biggest is whether or not you’re using anchors or other hanging hardware.

In addition to this, the location you drive your hardware into the wall will also determine how much weight can be held. It’s important to keep these in mind when putting up picture frames and other decorations on your wall.

How much weight can drywall hold with anchors?

If you use the right type of wall anchors and drive them into studs, each of the drywall anchors could hold over 50 pounds!

When putting up picture frames and other items on your wall, it’s best to drive your hanging hardware into a stud. Studs are located behind your drywall and are 16” to 24” from one another. However, if you don’t have a stud to use, you’ll want to make sure you use an anchor to hold up your decorations.

Neglecting to use anchors when you don’t have a stud to use will eventually cause whatever you’re hanging to fall, especially if you have members in your household who constantly slam doors. The drywall alone is just not strong enough to hold any kind of frame for an extended period of time.

To properly put an anchor in your wall:

  1. Equip yourself with a drill and create a small hole in the drywall where you want the first anchor. You can also use a screwdriver to make this hole. It’s also important to make sure that the drill bit is smaller in diameter than the anchor you’re about to enter.
  2. Take your anchor and insert it until it’s flush with the wall. If it doesn’t go right in, use a hammer to pound it in.
  3. Grab your screw and screw it into the anchor. You’ll want to make sure that you leave about ¼ of the screw sticking out of the anchor.
  4. Now you can hang your picture frame or anything else you choose on the screw. Some picture frames require two screws, and if that’s the case, just repeat the process for the second anchor.

Besides screw-in anchors, there are several other kinds of hardware you can use to hold up your memorabilia.

For instance, expanding plastic sleeves are a good option. This hardware can hold anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds and are typically used to hang picture frames, bulletin boards, and light mirrors. Hangers and nails are another good choice. These are also a reliable option and can hold up to 20 pounds.

Some of the other options available to you include:

Tap-in expandable anchors: These are for hanging items less than 10 pounds.

Toggle Bolts: This hardware is used for really heavy loads. They’re harder to install than the other options but super reliable.

Honky Hooks: These are hooked-shaped hardware that work best for paintings and mirrors. These come in different sizes and the larger the size, the more weight it can hold.

Adhesive Strips: These are the easiest to use. You simply stick them to the wall. These strips come in a variety of sizes. The larger the size, the more weight the strip can hold.

Threaded Toggle: These are like toggle bolts but a lot sturdier and easier to use. This hardware is also used for heavy items.

Molly Bolts: Molly bits can hold medium loads but usually cannot be removed once they’re inserted.

Picture Hangers: These are inserted by nailing them into the wall and come in a wide array of sizes. These hangers are great for hanging heavy items.

How much weight can drywall hold without anchors?

This can be 5 to 10 pounds, but keep in mind that the drywall is an extremely brittle material and, it is not strong enough to hold the weight for a longer period of time.

If you don’t have any anchors to use or other hardware to use, then you’ll want to make sure you find a stud to drill your screws into. Like mentioned above, studs are vertical beams that sit behind your drywall. To find the studs, there are three main ways you can do this.

  1. Knock on the wall to find the studs. If you hear a hollow sound, then you’re not on a stud. When you do find a stud, the knocking will have more of a solid sound.
  2. Locate the electrical outlet and go directly up the wall to where you want your screws to go in. Electrical outlets are always located on studs.
  3. Use an electrical stud finder. These can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Once you find you’re the stud, you can insert your hardware and then hand your decorations. Always remember that neglecting to use either anchors or studs will cause your heavy frames, shelves, and paintings to eventually fall off the wall.

Mike Bailey