As our houses are built with drywall panels, it is inevitable for us to try to hang things on the wall.
While you can easily hang an object on the plaster walls without thinking much, drywall is not a great material to hang things without any support.
In this article, we are sharing with you some of the most frequently asked questions relating to the strength of drywall in holding objects when hanged. Keep reading!
How Strong is Drywall?
Drywall consists of gypsum and recycled paper and other additives. Layers of gypsum are laid on paper to dry. After that, another layer is added and covered with more papers to form a drywall panel.
Drywall is useful for the interior design of walls as well as the ceiling of residential and commercial buildings. However, it's much softer than plaster and takes lesser time to make. In some instances, fiberglass is added to make it strong along with drywall tapes and joint compounds.
Different types of drywall have varying thickness levels. A 5/8 inch drywall is the thickest, and due to its heat-resistant quality, it's mostly used in heating systems or garages. It can be hard trying to punch into such a type.
On the other hand, thin drywall measures 1/2 inch and is the standard type used in home constructions. The majority of builders are not a fan of the 1/4 inch drywall since it’s fragile and can easily break.
Drywall Strength Breakdown
The sturdiness of drywall depends on its ability to hold hangings such as pictures or fans. Also, it depends on how well it can withstand wear due to external factors such as water.
- Drywall is not so strong, especially if it gets water, which slowly wears it off. Thicker drywall of about ½ an inch and is stronger than the ¼ inch option.
- Ideally, there is no need to make it thicker than ½ inch. The reason being, it would make it too hard to put on the ceiling and will sag due to weight.
- Drywall is not strong enough to hold wall hangings or heavy objects like the television on their own. For this reason, drywall requires studs, which are usually about 16 inches to 24 inches apart, which lie behind it to make it steady.
- Studs are beams that offer support to the drywall and are aligned vertically for stability. Quite too often, wood studs are used to reinforce the strength of drywall. Punching such a wall is dangerous and requires the use of special equipment.
In a nutshell, you can't compare its strength with that of wood or concrete wall. It is fragile, however, it’s long-lasting when well taken care of as long.
- Avoid putting drywall in the bathroom as it can soak in water and deteriorate quality. Some people think of using waterproof drywall spackles on bathroom, but that won't protect the wall.
- Punching a rigid surface can break your hand and cause bone fracture. It's essential to know the structural component of your wall before attempting to break.
How much weight can a nail in drywall hold?
Nails can hold up to 20 pounds hanging. However, there’s no guarantee that it will stay there for long.
Although drywall is a durable material, it's fragile and will not hold different weights when using nails like the way concrete or plaster would. When used alone, a nail is not reliable to hold even a lightweight. For instance, even a small hanging will eventually fall. If you want to use a nail, it would be good to use a stud. However, it shouldn’t be directly on the drywall as it can destroy it and drop off the hanging.
The amount of weight a nail can hold on drywall will also depend on the weight of the hanging and where it's mounted on the drywall. For instance, if you use a thin nail on a hollow or empty space on drywall, it can't hold even the lightest hanging like a frame. However, in vertical drywall, a nail with the appropriate hardware can hold up to 100 pounds.
How much weight can drywall hold with anchors?
There are different varieties of anchors that are strong enough to hold weight. Before using any anchor, it's essential to understand its suitability and the type of screw to use. You can buy screws separately or with the package. When using anchors, you need to choose the appropriate hardware.
Anchors are rated depending on their holding power. Unfortunately, this information is not available due to manufacturers’ restrictions. But, in some instances, some manufacturers sneak this information on the manual or package.
Expansion anchors, also known as plugs, can support a weight of 5-20lbs on walls. However, they're not recommended for the ceiling. They are most popular on towel racks and are made of plastic. As you know, the disadvantage of plastic is that they are not very strong.
- Threaded anchors are thick and can hold a weight of 25-75 lbs. but are not suitable for ceiling. Unlike expansion anchors, you don’t need to use a pilot hole to drive them through. They are easy to install since you only need to drive it slowly into the drywall using a screw.
- Hollow wall anchors are also good for drywalls. If you'd like to hang a picture, drill a hole in the wall, then hammer the anchor in the hole and screw it to tighten. This type can hold 50 pounds of weight.
- Sleeve-type anchors and bolts can hold 25-50lbs. These can hold lightweight items of 10 ounces on ceilings such as a light or smoke alarm.
- Toggle or butterfly anchors have the best holding strength. They are made of metal and can support up to 100lbs of weight on walls. They are suitable for ceilings, but on walls, they can only hold 1/3 of the weight. Installation is tricky and requires some expertise. You'll need a pilot hole, and when attaching on the ceiling, you'll need a ceiling joist if the weight is more than fifteen pounds.
The bottom line is when shopping for an anchor, it's vital to think about the weight of your hanging. With this in mind, you can pick a choice that will suit your needs. Also, the holding power of the anchor should be more than the weight of your hanging.
How much weight can drywall hold without anchors?
Drywall can hold about 5 to 10 pounds, but it is not a guarantee that it can hold that weight for a long period. It can easily be damaged by weights that hang on it, which will cost you a lot when repairing or replacing.
- To avoid damaging the wall, you need to look for studs and nail on it. For you to estimate the stud's location, knock on the wall, and listen to the sound that comes out of it. If it is loud, then that is a hollow space, but if there's no noise, that's where the stud is.
- For safety concerns, electric cables are located where the studs are. Hence, pay attention not to drill them.
Can Drywall Screws Hold Weight?
Drywall screws can hold weight. However, there are some factors you need to consider before using screws such as type, quality, and length of the screw. In addition, you’d need to consider the exact location where you’ll put the screw for its stability.
A long screw is ideal since it doesn't easily come off because of the weight of the hanging. It would help if you drove it through a stud to avoid spoiling your beautiful wall.
If directly screwed on the drywall, it can only hold 10 pounds or less because it will eventually drop off with time.
Ensure the screw is tight enough, and it's not shaky.
How Much Weight Can Drywall Ceiling Hold?
A ceiling holding power is affected by the force of gravity. A standard ceiling of 2x4 can hold 15 to 20 pounds of weight directly on the drywall. A good illustration is a small flower pot with a growing plant or a small fan. Although these are light, you’ll still need some reinforcement.
For extra weight, you'll need to use toggles on the ceiling joist, horizontal beams where the ceiling is attached. You wouldn't want things falling off your ceiling, and hence a lighter weight is better for your safety.
- A (2x6) and (2x8) joists can support extra weight up to thirty pounds.
- For more than 50 pounds, you will need to double the ceiling joints so that they can hold a higher capacity of weight. You need to be careful when placing very heavy hangings due to gravitational pull.
- For more weight support, you can install 2x4 blocks in between the joists to boost the holding power.
How Much Weight Can drywall Hold Without a Stud
- Drywall alone can only hold 5-10 pounds. If you are not using studs, you only need to hang very light items on your wall. It prevents damage to your nicely primed drywall and protects your photo frame from dropping and breaking due to weight.
- Large adhesive strips are suitable if you want to stick a heavier picture of about 16 pounds on the drywall without studs. These strips are better when used on painted drywall.
How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold With a Nail
A nail driven on drywall can only hold less than 10 pounds. It only holds for a short period before loosening and dropping off. If used in a stud, it can hold 20 pounds.
You can use a stud finder to put the nail in the right place without knocking and damaging your drywall.
Since studs are vertically placed from the floor to the ceiling, they can accommodate more weight than drywall. You can hammer the nail at a certain angle for it to hold the items on the wall without sliding.
Nails are cheap and easy to drive through the drywall. However, you need to be extra careful and only hang lightweight pictures or decorations to avoid damaging your wall.
What Can You Use Drywall Screws For?
Drywall screws are used for fixing drywall to wooden or metal studs and driving drywall ceilings to joists. These are essential hardware that increases the holding power of anchors. They have different lengths, and before using them, you need to know the thickness of your drywall first.
For ½ inch drywall, which is the most common, you'll need to use a 1 1/4 inch or 1 5/8 inch of a drywall screw.
You can use screws in your sinks if hair and threads have clogged the drainage. Tie a thread on the drywall screw and push it inside the drain holes, then pull out. It will come out with hair or threads unclogging the sink.
You can also use it as a predrill to pave the way for other large screws since it is easier to use, especially on wood.
If you are a painter and want the picture to dry, you can drive slightly four drywall screws at each corner. Next, hold the painting to dry.
Drilling a tile is not an easy task because they slide. A drywall screw of 2 inches is good enough to use. Gently hit the tile with a hammer to put a hole. Then, continue drilling with the drill in its position.
You may find our guide on drywall pole sanders useful. Check it out!
How to Hang Heavy Objects on Drywall
If you do not have studs behind your drywall or you can't trace them, you can use anchors to hang heavy items on your wall. They hold strongly on the walls compared to screws.
- Drill a hole in the drywall that is almost the same size as the anchor.
- Hit the expansion anchor with a hammer to drive it into the hole until it is fully inside.
- Drive your screw into the anchor using the power drill. The anchor expands, which enables it to have a good grip on the wall.
Threaded drywall anchors are easy to install. Accordingly, they can hold 25 to 75 pounds of weight.
- Drill through the drywall without having to put pilot holes.
- After it's in the drywall, put the screw in it, which causes it to expand.
- The threads are large and push deep into the wall, making it hard for them to pull back when a heavy object is hanged.