If you want to decorate your walls, you need to know how to hang objects on plaster walls. The objective is to streamline the decorating process while minimising the risk of damage.
If you're like most people, you've picked up a hammer and a nail and wondered if you'd be able to hang anything on the plaster walls.
OK, so you've decided to buy an older residence. We're willing to bet that you didn't give the walls much thought at any point during the buying or renting process.
The good news is that you can use plaster walls to hang objects, and in some cases, they may even be better to drywall. Because a screw driven into the wood lath behind the plaster may support weights of up to 25 pounds.
The practical tools we use to hang items on the wall are designed for drywall, but our wall is plaster. Finding a stud in plaster walls and the appropriate fasteners to use are two completely different animals.
It's not safe to hang anything heavy on a plaster wall without first securing it to the studs or another supporting structure. A magnetic stud finder is the most precise method for locating the studs or supports behind a wall.
It's recommended that you always use a stud when hanging something heavy on the wall, but this may be easier said than done, especially if your studs aren't uniformly spaced or your wall isn't made of standard drywall.
We have compiled comprehensive guides on how to safely hang heavy items on different wall types so that you may put your worries to rest.
Techniques for Safely Mounting Heavier Objects to a Wall
Avoid putting yourself in danger by slamming a large object against the wall. If anything, heavy like a television, painting, or bookcase fell on your house, it may cause serious structural damage and injury to you and your family.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, plaster was the standard material for interior walls. The three parts of drywall are the layer studs, the plaster layer, and the lath layer. After the lath was secured to the studs, the plaster could be placed.
Nail-hammering into a plaster wall is an exercise in nerves. After all, your wall could be severely damaged by flaking or chipping plaster. It is not required to confront your anxieties. Plaster walls can safely have artwork hung on them.
It's possible to make out each individual layer of plaster on the opposite side of the wall. The wall is composed of studs, which are used to secure wooden lath, and plaster, which is the hardened goo seen piercing the lath.
Whenever there were plaster walls in a house, a picture rail was installed. Here, a more vertical piece of moulding is screwed into place between the studs in the wall.
Wires, secured to the picture rail with a hook, hold the artwork in place. This would allow for installation without damaging the walls. It is possible to use or install a picture rail.
When mounting light items in plaster, a single screw or nail will do the trick. If you need to move a lot of weight, regular tools won't cut it.
The Difference Between Plaster and Drywall: What Is It, Really?
In terms of fastening things to walls, for example, there are some significant differences between the two.
- Standard drywall thickness is only 1/2", but the thickness of typical plaster ranges from 3/4" to 1".
- Plaster is a far sturdier material than drywall.
- Plaster differs from drywall in that it is more easily damaged.
- Plaster is supported by a layer of lath while drywall has nothing but air between it and the wall.
Because of this, decorating the two requires a variety of unique fasteners and methods of fastening.
Before attempting any method of hanging, you must first determine the type of wall you are working with
You probably started off like everyone else and pinned posters of your favourite bands and sports teams to your bedroom wall. As you got older, you probably upgraded to fancier wall decor, including framed photos, light kits, or even shelves put together with random nails.
No one should have to worry about damaging an expensive painting, television, or other heavy object by accidently dropping a hammer and nail.
The age and location of your home will determine the materials used to construct its walls. Masonry, drywall, and plaster are the most often used building materials for walls, however you can also find yourself with hollow-core doors and paper-thin wood panelling.
How you hang something depends on the type of wall you have and the weight of the item you want to hang.
Follow these steps to figure out what kind of wall material you have:
When I look at my house's walls, what exactly am I looking at?
Close inspection reveals little to differentiate drywall from plaster. Using only a hidden location and a pushpin, you can tell them apart. When a pushpin is easily inserted into a wall, you know it's drywall.
It's probably plaster if it's hard to drive a pushpin into the wall.
You may safely assume that if your home was built or renovated in the last fifty years, you have some form of wallboard.
Masonry is the practice of constructing buildings with natural materials like bricks or stone.
While brick or stone walls are probably there, you might actually be dealing with brick or brick veneer.
To sum up, two courses of brick are used in load-bearing walls. Brick veneer walls often have a thickness of only one brick and serve no structural purpose.
Is it true that my walls are hollow and shaped like a circle?
Prefabricated concrete slabs are what are meant when the term "hollow-core walls" is used.
Painted concrete walls are so tough that you can't even poke a hole in them with a pushpin.
Prepare your wall decor now! Great! Have us securely hang your heavier objects so you can kick back in your newfound space.
Putting Pictures in Gypsum Walls
You might be surprised to find out exactly how much lath was really behind that wall. Because of its strength, lath is commonly used to hang pictures and other decorative items on walls.
Lath isn't as sturdy as a stud, but it can hold light loads like curtain rods, pictures, and other ornaments.
Using a picture hanging system, such as the complete click rail cable hanging kit, is the best method for hanging artwork on plaster. The pictures are hung from wires that are fastened to the rail and held in place by hooks; all that needs to be done is build a rail along the wall.
The clickable and slidable connectors on the rail make it simple to adjust your wall art. Displaying artwork in the living room or smaller images in the office provides an atmosphere reminiscent of a museum.
First, decide where you'd like to hang it.
Adjusting the monitor's height and angle, even by a centimetre, is a huge help.
Plaster walls will be difficult to work with, but you know that a picture hung over a wall repair is a quick and simple solution to cover it up.
If you think you can keep it a secret, that's even better. Mark the desired location on the wall with such a pencil once you've made your decision.
Three, drive the screw into the bricks
When hanging artwork on the wall, screws might be used instead of nails.
If the screw is snug enough, the nail will sit in the drilled hole, and the nail will serve as a rest for the screw as it grips the wood.
The Lath Must Be Found
Make a little opening in the wall and look for wood.
Drilling will be difficult even if wood is struck, but the moment the drill makes contact with air, it will leap forwards and slam into the wall. Lightweight items should be hung from the wooden studs rather than the plaster.
You may now go to the following chapter because you have located some reliable wood. If you couldn't fit through the gaps in the lath, you had to squeeze through them.
It is suggested that you beat the wood before trying again with the drill positioned 1/2 in. higher or lower.
The Question of Picture Rail
Perhaps some of the lucky people have picture rail in their homes. Crown moulding is much larger than the thin strip you have at the top of your wall. It's a handy tool that helps you save time and ensures the security of your walls.
Mirrors, paintings, and other wall hangings can be hung from picture rails without damaging the wall's plaster. Here's how it works out in practise:
Mounted on the wall at a great height, the picture rail is secured to the studs for maximum support. The standard height for picture rail varies by region and builder, although it is often between half a foot and a foot and a half (inches) below the ceiling.
Long wires or cords were used to suspend the artwork from the picture rail using small hooks. You can tilt the pictures down or up, or shift them left or right, by adjusting the length of the picture wire.
Picture rail is great for hanging light decorations, but it shouldn't be used to hang anything too heavy. In the end, it's simply plain old wood moulding. If you're worried it's going to fall over, secure it to the wall better.
Lightweight objects can be displayed on the plaster walls
Hammer that nail into the wall hurriedly.
In order to secure the anchor deeper into the wall, use the pilot hole as a guide. Keep in mind that the screw has to go through the lath it came with.
A hanger, bracket, or anchor can be added to make it usable.
Finding the Lath is the First Order of Business.
Find the sweet spot for your hangar and mark it down. After that, you need to drill a tiny hole to see if there is any wood behind the wall.
If you happen to hit wood, that's fantastic news. If that doesn't work, try moving it an additional half an inch in either direction.
Identifying Studs in a Drywall Construction
Find a stud if you need to hang something heavy; wood is the best material for screws. Some stud finders are not suitable for use on plaster walls because they cannot differentiate between wood lathe and wood studs.
The most advanced stud finder on the market that can detect wood, deep wood, metal, and electrical current may still miss something.
- Take the time to familiarise yourself with the location of the power outlets. Outlet and switch boxes are often mounted on both sides of a stud. Turn off the switch, take off the top, and check for wood with a screwdriver inside the box.
- Sound a resounding tap on the wall. If at all possible, stick to the basics. Strike a blow against the wall and see what happens. Whenever you knock on a wall that does not have a stud in it, you will hear a hollow sound. When you make contact with a stud, you will hear a satisfying thunk. The thunks should be recorded. Measure the space between them to determine if you have located the studs.
- Use a magnet to locate the studs. Scott explains that the plan is successful because the wood lath is fastened to the studs using nails. Our recent bathroom remodel discovered that we had plastered over stone instead of lath, so I haven't tried this technique.
- Use a metal detector; this is similar to the magnet method, but it may give you false positives if the device is sensitive enough to pick up on things like old wiring, cast-iron pipes, and other concealed objects.
Fixing Heavier Objects to Drywall
The studs can make it difficult to hang large objects. Drywall nails are usually only covered by a thin layer of joint compound and paint, making it easy to locate the studs. Find the studs that keep the nails in place with relative ease using a magnet.
The plastic covers the nails that secure the lath toward the studs when the walls are plastered.
Both a magnetic and an electric stud finder will have a hard time locating these nails once they've been driven into the plaster so deeply.
Yet, we still have other ways of finding studs behind sheetrock and plaster.
You must first locate the studs
Finding studs behind plaster is impossible using a stud finder, but there are alternative options. Studs are often spaced 16 inches or 24 inches apart. There are studs in the wall at each corner and at all openings such as doors, windows, and electrical plugs.
Assuming you have located the stud, continuing another 16 inches in that direction would take you to yet another stud.
If everything goes well, you won't need to retest this location; from here on out, just keep moving outward in 16-inch increments until you're hanging your object right where you need it to be.
Drilling into the wall to check for studs is the next step. You may take a step forward to increase the area you're looking in. Remember that even the smallest holes can be painted over, so there's no need to fret too much over drilling them.
If you still can't locate the stud after using a 24-inch tape measure, you can try again with a smaller tape.
Finally, a powerful magnet can be suspended from a thread and pressed against a wall to execute the magnet. If you've tried using magnetic stud locators on plaster walls with varying degrees of success, you might find that it's still worth continuing to try.
Here's Step 2: Put the screw through the stud
To install a hanger or bracket, find a stud and drill a pilot hole into it.
No-Nail Picture Hanging on a Plaster Wall
Pictures that weigh less than two pounds can be hung with double-sided tape. Before starting, make sure the walls are thoroughly clean and dry. Once the tape has been placed, the frame should be pressed hard against the wall to achieve a good bond.
Double-sided tape is useful in some situations, but it often leaves ugly markings on walls after being removed.
A stud can be found by drilling a pilot hole, and then the stud's own screw can be used to secure the hanger or bracket in place.
If in Doubt, Get Expert Help
Do not attempt to hang heavy items without professional help, even if you are handy around the house and have no trouble hanging even the heaviest of objects on your own.
Asking close friends and family for recommendations or performing a fast search on Yelp are both easy ways to find a reliable expert to help you out.
Then you should get a company with a solid reputation and sometime in the industry under its belt.
Presuming the heavy object is a television, Puls can help.
Your TV will be installed securely on any wall material, the cables will be neatly hidden, and all your devices will be linked correctly if you choose our skilled installation crew.
We can only use drywall installation tools because of our plaster walls. A screw in the wood lath behind the plaster may sustain 25 pounds. Without studs, plaster walls cannot hold heavy goods.
Age and geography dictate your home's wall materials. Masonry, drywall, and plaster make up most walls.
Wall material and load limit your hanging possibilities.
The plaster and wallboard look similar up close. Pushpins can distinguish them. Plaster walls are hard to work with, but hanging a painting can fix them.
Heavy wall art and decorations can harm picture rail, but lightweight ones are fine.
Crown mouldings dwarf the skinny strip at the top of your wall. It saves time and provides you confidence in your home's security. To hang something heavy, find a stud. Screws work best in wood.
Joint compound and paint cover drywall nails thinly. After driving these nails, magnetic and electric stud finders won't find them.
A stud finder won't find studs behind drywall or plaster, but there are other options. 16-inch and 24-inch stud distances are typical. Even little wall holes can be painted over, so don't worry about making them.
A pilot hole will disclose a stud, and the stud's screw can secure the hanger or bracket. When removed from walls, double-sided tape produces ugly residue.
- To decorate your walls, you must know how to hang objects on plaster walls.
- Like most people, you've picked up a hammer and a nail and wondered if you could hang anything on the plaster walls.
- The practical tools we use to hang items on the wall are designed for drywall, but our wall is plaster.
- Finding a stud in plaster walls and the appropriate fasteners are two completely different animals.
- It's only safe to hang anything heavy on a plaster wall after securing it to the studs or another supporting structure.
- Nail-hammering into a plaster wall is an exercise in nerves.
- It's possible to make out each layer of plaster on the opposite side of the wall.
- A picture rail was installed whenever there were plaster walls in a house.
- It is possible to use or install a picture rail.
- Before attempting any method of hanging, you must first determine the type of wall you are working with.
- The age and location of your home will determine the materials used to construct its walls.
- Close inspection reveals little to differentiate drywall from plaster.
- When a pushpin is easily inserted into a wall, you know it's drywall.
- It's probably plaster if it's hard to drive a pushpin into the wall.
- While brick or stone walls are probably there, you might be dealing with brick or brick veneer.
- Because of its strength, lath is commonly used to hang pictures and other decorative items on walls.
- Using a picture hanging system, such as the complete click rail cable hanging kit, is the best method for hanging artwork on plaster.
- The clickable and slidable connectors on the rail make it simple to adjust your wall art.
- First, decide where you'd like to hang it.
- Plaster walls will be difficult to work with, but you know that a picture hung over wall repairs is a quick and simple solution to cover it up.
- When hanging artwork on the wall, screws might be used instead of nails.
- Make a little opening in the wall and look for wood.
- Lightweight items should be hung from wooden studs rather than plaster.
- Perhaps some of the lucky people have picture rail in their homes.
- Crown moulding is much larger than the thin strip at the top of your wall.
- Mirrors, paintings, and other wall hangings can be hung from picture rails without damaging the wall's plaster.
- After that, you need to drill a tiny hole to see if there is any wood behind the wall.
- Find a stud if you need to hang something heavy; wood is the best material for screws.
- Take the time to familiarise yourself with the location of the power outlets.
- Sound a resounding tap on the wall.
- Measure the space between them to determine if you have located the studs.
- Use a magnet to locate the studs.
- Scott explains that the plan is successful because the wood lath is fastened to the studs using nails.
- Yet, we still have other ways of finding studs behind sheetrock and plaster.
- Finding studs behind plaster is impossible using a stud finder, but there are alternative options.
- Studs are often spaced 16 inches or 24 inches apart.
- Assuming you have located the stud, continuing another 16 inches in that direction would take you to yet another stud.
- Find a stud and drill a pilot hole to install a hanger or bracket.
- Pictures that weigh less than two pounds can be hung with double-sided tape.
- Before starting, make sure the walls are thoroughly clean and dry.
- Sticky hooks A stud can be found by drilling a pilot hole, and then the stud's screw can be used to secure the hanger or bracket.
- Only attempt to hang heavy items with professional help, even if you are handy around the house and have no trouble hanging even the heaviest of objects on your own.
Frequently Asked Questions About Plaster Wall
Hanging heavy frames on the wall can be tricky and, with all the options available, downright confusing, even more so if you live in an old house with plaster walls. One foolproof method to hang heavy picture frames or mirrors is to use a molly bolt.
Place a piece of tape over the mark that you made. This will help to keep the wall from crumbling when you need to drive in your screw. With your drill, drill a pilot hole in the wall at this mark. This helps guide the screw into the plaster. Because the plaster is thick and hard, it will be difficult to drive in a nail without cracking the wall.
Metal toggle bolts can support heavy loads (25 pounds to 50 pounds) in drywall, plaster and hollow-core concrete block. Plastic versions hold medium loads (10 pounds to 25 pounds) in drywall and plaster.
You may wonder, how far apart are studs in my home? They're always spaced 16 or 24 inches on-centre (measured from centre to centre) along the wall and run between the floor and ceiling. Drywall or lath (for plaster walls) attaches to the edge of the studs.
The wall surface must have a consistent density level and be less dense than the wood stud to function properly. Stud finders, however, will not always return accurate results with lath and plaster walls because of the very inconsistent method by which they are constructed.