Have you just moved into a new home and can’t wait to decorate your walls? So you have all your tools ready and framed pictures that are ready to hang. But before you start putting nails on the drywall, you’ll need to think about whether it can actually hold the weight of your wall art, pictures, mirrors and other decoration items.
So how much weight can drywall hold? Well, this depends on where and how the weight is mounted on the wall. A typical drywall can hold up to 1.6 pounds per square foot, and thicker drywall can hold up to 2 pounds per square foot without any extra support.
Having said that, if you use the right technique and hardware, your drywall may be able to hold as much as 100 pounds!
Drywall comes in different thicknesses. Thinner drywall won’t support as much weight as thicker drywall, but there are some factors that you should consider before hanging your items from the walls.
Drywall is made of recycled paper, additives, and gypsum. Several layers of gypsum are pressed together to dry before further paper layers are added to form a panel.
Drywall has gained popularity in interior design and is used for covering the walls as well as ceilings in both commercial and residential buildings. This plaster alternative is much softer and takes less time to make. Some types of drywall consist of fiberglass and joint compounds to make them even stronger.
As mentioned earlier, drywall comes in varying thickness levels. The thickest drywall is 5/8 inches with heat-resistant qualities. A drywall with this thickness level is hard to punch holes into and is mostly used in garages.
The thinnest drywall, on the other hand, is a quarter of an inch, but it is fragile and can break after nailing into it. The next thickness level is half an inch and is most commonly used in new residential buildings.
Weight Capacity of Nails on Drywall
The strongest nails can hold up to 20 pounds of weight, but there is no guarantee of how long the nails will stay in the drywall. After all, drywall is quite fragile and won’t hold different weights like plaster or concrete.
If you’re only using a nail to hang your item, it won’t be reliable as a long-term solution. In fact, even the smallest wall hanging can eventually fall. It is, therefore, best to use a stud to accompany your nail. In vertical drywall, a stud-supported nail can hold up to 100 pounds!
Weight Capacity of Different Anchor Types on Drywall
Anchors come in a variety of different types that are strong enough to hold weight. But before using an anchor, you must understand the type of screw to use and the anchor’s suitability. Drywall anchors are designed to hold objects of a certain weight, so you need to know the weight of your object before selecting the right anchor.
If, for example, you’re hanging a shelf to hold items, you must also add the weight of those items before choosing the best type of anchor for the drywall. Here are the most common types of anchors, including their weight holding capacity:
Expansion anchors: these plugs can support between 5 and 20 pounds of weight on walls. However, they’re not recommended for use on drywall ceilings because of their low weight holding capacity and are popularly used on plastic towel racks.
Threaded anchors: these thick anchors can hold between 25 and 75 pounds of weight, but again, they are not suitable for drywall ceilings. Unlike expansion anchors that require a pilot hole to drive these anchors through, you won’t need to use any other tool to install the anchors; simply drive it slowly into the wall using a screw.
Hollow wall anchors: if you like hanging pictures on your drywall, simply drill a hole in the drywall and hammer the anchor in the hole to tighten it. This type of anchor can hold up to 50 pounds of weight.
Sleeve-type anchors: similar to hollow wall anchors, the sleeve-type can also hole up to 50 pounds of weight as well as lightweight items on ceilings.
Weight Capacity of Drywall Ceiling
The force of gravity affects a drywall ceiling’s holding power. A standard drywall ceiling can hold up to 20 pounds of direct weight. A good example is a small hanging plant or ceiling fan. But you will still need to use some reinforcement before hanging such items.
If you use joists to support the extra weight, you can hang up to 30 pounds on the drywall ceiling. For 50 pounds or higher weight capacity, you must double the ceiling joists.
Can I Hang Heavy Objects on Drywall?
Larger and heavier items require evenly spaced hangers. For example, a 2-foot wide mirror weighing 80 pounds will require three self-drilling screws at one foot apart in order to hold the heavy object. Alternatively, you can use one toggle bolt on each end of the mirror. Follow these steps to hang your heavy item on the drywall:
Step 1. Drill a hole almost the same size as the threaded or expansion anchor. Threaded anchors are the easiest types of anchors to install on drywall, and they can hold up to 70 pounds of weight.
Step 2. Hit the threaded anchor with a hammer to drive it into the hole.
Step 3. To drive the screw into the anchor, you’ll need a power drill.
Step 4. After the anchor is in the wall, put the screw in it. The heavy object will stay on the drywall without ever falling off.
Drywall might look fragile, but it is capable of holding almost anything you want – as long as you use the right anchor. When hanging oversized items, it’s best to use 4 threaded anchors at evenly spaced intervals. Simply place one anchor at each end of the heavy item. This will ensure the sturdiest hanging on the drywall.