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Fixing to Hollow or Stud Walls

Stud / Partition / Hollow Walls

Walls constructed of timber studwork covered with plasterboard require different fixing techniques from those used for solid walls. You cannot use standard wall plugs as these simply won't hold firm in the plasterboard and will quickly work loose when any pressure is applied.

Simple coat hook to be fitted to the stud wall

In this example we will be fitting a simple coat hook to a plasterboard stud partition wall.

1. Always check with a detector that there are no pipes or cables hidden in the wall beneath the area to be drilled. When drilling always wear suitable safety goggles.

Fixing into Timber Studs

Gently tapping wall to identify timbers behind

2. If at all possible, locate the timbers within the wall and line up your fixing points with these. To locate them, gently tap the surface until you hear a muffled sound indicating the presence of solid timber behind. If you work your way across the wall where you want to make the fixings, you should be able to fairly accurately identify the position of the upright timber studs.

Marking the position of stud timbers

3. Mark the points at which the wall sounds solid.

Small diameter drill bit

4. Take a small diameter drill bit and drill through the plasterboard at these points. If after drilling through the plasterboard, the drill is biting into solid wood, you have correctly identified one of the timbers.

Driving the screw into the timber stud

5. The screws for fixing the item may then simply be inserted through the batten or item you are fixing then driven through the plasterboard and into the wood providing a very secure fixing.

Fixing into Plasterboard

6. If alignment with the timber studs is not practical, special hollow wall fixings will be required. Ordinary wall plugs will not do since they rely on a sideways force within the wall. Remember that you are relying only on the strength of plasterboard to carry the load, so heavy items cannot be fixed in this way.

Types of Hollow Wall Plugs

7. There are many different hollow wall fixings available so you will need to check out their suitability for your particular situation.

Drill wall for the hollow wall plugs

8. Drill a hole of the size specified and insert the plug in the plasterboard. The exact way this is done varies so follow the manufacturer's details.

Lugs pull back against the plasterboard

9. Some have metal or plastic lugs which open out on the other side of the plasterboard spreading the load and providing improved strength. The bottom wall plug in the picture shows how it looks before tightening. The screw in the top plug has been tightened and you can see how the plug is now gripping the surface.

Deep threaded metal hollow wall plugs

10. Others have a deep screw thread which cuts into the board. This deep thread provides the spread of load.

Choosing the right screws for plugs

11. As with all plugs, the size of screw will be specified, as will the acceptable thickness of the item to be fixed. There may also be information as to the maximum load acceptable on each plug. Follow these carefully to ensure a good fixing.

Align the screw with the wall plug

12. Insert the screw though the item to be fixed and line up with the centre of the plug.

13. Tighten slowly to the point where a solid fixing is obtained. Do not over tighten.

Coat hook fixed to the stud wall

14. Hang up your coat or jacket

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