/ A guide to drilling holes in walls and mounting things? tv/etc

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elliot.baker - on 11 Aug 2017
So... new house... no DIY knowledge but eager....

Most walls sound hollow and not like they would be comfortable with a 50" plasma hanging off them on an extending arm, or even a towel rail for that matter.

Other than years of experience or trial and error, is there some go to guide regarding what I can mount to where?

I've read some walls have studs behind them, but I've also read about things like plaster wall plug things...


I basically want to mount a ~25kg 50" plasma and a towel rail and numerous pictures and moderately weighty mirrors but I don't know what I can hang anywhere, what I need special rawl plugs etc. for and what I need something more hefty for (and what is out of the question?)

Thanks for any help/knowledge that can be disseminated!
elsewhere on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:
Stud/pipe/ac detector such as...
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072DRZXWJ?psc=1

Attach stuff to studs if you can.

I'd be interesting in knowing what the pros use on plasterboard.

PS don't drill vertically or horizontally in line with electric fittings.
Post edited at 13:16
TMM on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

> So... new house... no DIY knowledge but eager....



> Thanks for any help/knowledge that can be disseminated!

Sounds like you are over specifying your bathroom.

Keep mirrors and towel rails to bathroom areas and move your 50" plasma to the living room.
Cheese Monkey - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

A brick wall will happily hang a telly. Exterior walls probably concrete or brick. Interior walls depends on the house, could be stud. Will definitely sound hollow. But if you mount things off the studs using a stud finder that will be fine. Plaster board plugs are for light weight things only really, although I have heard that radiators can be hung off them! I wouldnt personally.
elliot.baker - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

The telly wall is an exterior wall but it still sounds hollow in some places and less hollow in others (but the solid sounding places don't line up with where the tv needs to be!)
Fraser on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

Screw an over-sized, ply fixing 'plate' to the studs, paint it to match the walls then fix the tv to the ply. Sorted.
Ferret on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:
If it is an external wall, the plasterboard inner skin may be attached to it using thin wooden studs leaving a narrow (2 or 3cm) gap... or it may attached via 'dot and dab' where the plasterboard is stuck on to blockwork using big dollops of plaster. If internal new house it's almost certainly just a wooden frame made of 2 by 4" timber with plasterboard on each face.

You might possibly get away with drilling straight through the plasterboard into the block behind (if block). You can then (with a certain amount of care) put a suitable sized raw plug a turn or two onto the end of a long screw and use the screw to guide the rawplug through the hole in the plaster and into the blockwork. You can make the hole in the plaster a bit bigger to facilitate. Once the plug is in the blockwork try to remove the screw, leaving plug in place. Then mount the backplate of the TV bracket onto the plasterboard, putting fixing screws through the backplate and through the plasterboard and into the blockwork. A bit finniky but possible. If you carefully tighten all the screws you should get the backplate snug to plasterboard and well bedded into the plugs. The trick is to get it tight enough that screws are well bedded in the plugs and weight well distributed but not so tight that you crush the plasterboard. The risk if screws and plugs not long enough/not well enough bedded is that it sags as you are not really getting it as tight as if you were genuinely cranking fixes tight onto a hard surface. Only you can judge if you got enough fittings in well enough or not.

There may be suitable frame fixings of correct length to do the job easier than the above method but they will still rely on getting tensions right and not crushing the plasterboard.

Best fix creates mess and that involves cutting a section of board out, putting battons where you need them (if space allows) re-fitting board over top and skimming again.

I'd use a thin long drill bit and drill a few holes to figure out how deep the cavity is etc and if you find the bit goes in roughly 20mm and produces powder that's your plasterboard, then appears to hit a void that indicates cavity then grinds on stone that's your block. You can then try a masonry bit and test drill again into the block to make sure it's all as you expect and take it from there. If you only find a very small cavity or cavity varies from none to a few mm that probably indicates dot and dab and above method likely more successful as the gaps are smaller so scope for sagging/pull out less.

As somebody else suggested, don't drill vertically above or horizontally beside any power points/light fittings on that wall as cables should always run in straight lines up, down or sideways from any electrical point.

If making a mess putting batons in place you can extract extra value for the messy job by trying to thread power/aerial etc... any cables required into the wall if you don't want to see them/hide them in externally fixed trunking. Personally, I hate exposed cables....

Oh and for towel rails/mirrors etc unless very heavy, on plasterboard you would probably be OK with toggle fittings - these have spring loaded things that fold together, push through hole in plasterboard and then open wide on other side. Assorted sizes and strengths ranging from plastic types to springloaded metal. The only issue with these is you invariably end up trying to use them places where they just refuse top go in or open properly due to just being on edge of a joist you didn't know about, or fouling on insulation or one of the other hundred things that always go wrong with best laid plans.... Not uncommon to fit things using assorted fittings depending on what happens in each hole you drill, what you find!
Post edited at 13:53
Ferret on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

Pictures and most mirrors unless massive just use the brass things with 2 nails. Nails are angled down so weight pulls them into wall, and pictures hang flush so barely any outward pull on them.
arch - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

http://www.gripitfixings.co.uk/gripit-plasterboard-fixing/

These are supposed to be good. Never used them though, so can't comment.
Toerag - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:
Our local builders merchant now sells these which will theoretically do the job. I've not tried them.
http://www.gripitfixings.co.uk/

In addition to Ferret's post, you can tell if you have dot and dab if the 'solid' sounding areas are surrounded by hollow ones. Battens will give long vertical sections that sound hollow with 'solid' verticals in between. You may also see nail positions (or find them with a metal detector). The problems with dry-lined walls like this is there's often little space behind the plasterboard for toggle-type fixings, especially with dot'n'dab. In terms of using frame fixings into the wall behind, be aware that you'll potentially have to cut down the plastic 'plug' to compensate for the fact that the screw won't go all the way to the end if the gap and plasterboard distance is substantial.
edit: Looks like Arch and I have great minds!
Post edited at 14:45
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maxticate - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

To hang radiators on dot and dab plasterboard over brick I over drilled the holes 15mm. Measured the distance from the solid wall behind to the front side of the plasterboard then cut a piece of 15mm copper tube to match that length and inserted it.
The copper tube is dead easy to cut to exact depth required using a rotary cutter like this.

https://www.toolstation.com/shop/p82905?table=no

Then I drilled the hole in the solid substrate and used a rawlplug as normal. I could crank down on the mounting bracket to fix it knowing that I wasn't going to crush or break the plasterboard surface because all the strain goes into the copper pipe standoffs.

The same method would easily work for a tv bracket.
elliot.baker - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

Great thanks for all the solid advice people. I will let you know how it all goes!
rocksol - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:
Check Hilti fixings catalogue on line for definitive advice
Ridge - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

This sort of thing:

https://www.electricals247.co.uk/100x-plasterboard-cavity-fixing-anchor-speed-plug-driva-c-w-fixing-...

Is available fairly cheaply from most electrical shops. Will easily hold a light fitting where there are no battens to screw into, and will hold fairly hefty mirrors etc on a horizontal plasterboard wall.
elliott92 - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

actually you can hang a hell of a lot off of plasterboard fixings. as a carpenter who mainly gets involved with loft conversions and full house refurbs, nearly every client of mine asks me to hang stuff on walls for them when i finish. when it comes to mounting tv's.. studwork is put up at 400 mm centres (if its old you may find the studs set at 16"). find a tv bracket that is at least 400 mm long (for a 50 inch 25 k tv your bracket is likely to be 600 or 700 mm + long). dont go wasting money on a stud finder.. tap the wall until you hear a solid point, then gently tap a braddle through and make sure youre hitting something solid after 15 mm depth. if your braddle goes into nothing then move along until you hit the stud, once youve found one stud you can measure off of that to find the next ones (and check with the braddle). dont worry about the very small holes you make.. these will be hidden behind the tv bracket. as long as you have atleast 1 fixing of the tv bracket into a stud the rest can go on plasterboard plugs (buy the heavy duty ones from screwfix).

the first few times you use plasterboard fixings you will think theyre not man enough, but they are. for instance, i fit a lot of kitchens and when the walls are studwork i quite happily hang all of the wall units up on plasterboard fixings.. although in these cases i use an extremely heavy duty dry wall plug that "wings" onto the back of the plasterboard.

yes you can certainly put any towel rails or rads up on the standard heavy duty plasterboard plugs. same things apply for mirror and pictures, although i find it a lot easier to hang lightweight pictures/paintings off of little picture hanging hooks that are just nailed directly into your wall.

if you want your towel rail to go onto a bathroom wall that is tiled then buy some tile drill bits. screwfix do a cheap set of 3 sizes for about a tenna (yes, screwfix is going to become your new best friend). when drilling tiles, try and stay away from the edges and start off on a low speed with gentle pressure. if the wall behind the tiles is ply lined then you can fix straight into this.

spend a few quid and get yourself a decent branded drill if youre going to do diy. cheap, shit drills are, well, cheap and shit and wont last you 5 minutes.

when fixing with any type of plug make sure you use the correct gauge (thickness) screw. red plugs are good from 3 to 4.5mm. brown plugs from 5 to 6 mm. if your using anything thicker than a gauge 6 then youre using the wrong fixing. the pack of plasterboard plugs you by state the drill diameter needed and the gauge screws it will take.

if theres anything specific you need to know feel free to give me a bell on 07581876491 and ill try and help.

elliott
Pursued by a bear - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

One small tip, if you end up fixing things to plasterboard; use a tool to set the anchors properly. I was put onto this by someone posting about it here many moons ago; I'd never heard of them before. Even so, it confused me on first use as the tool I had didn't come with instructions. I figured it out in the end though. I've included a link (to an unavailable product - there'll be plenty similar on sale though) because in the comments is a review by me about how I eventually got it to work. My puzzlement, and eventual understanding, may save you some trouble.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BC585HM/ref=pdp_new_dp_review

T.

Big Ger - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to elliot.baker:

I have a similar, but different, dilemma.

I need to wall mount a 55 inch plasma, however our walls are 3 foot thick granite block construction.

Shouldn't have any problem with the weight, but the bloody drilling may be a nightmare.
Lusk - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

give me two weeks rent free, before you move in, and I'll be down with me Hilti to satisfy all your hole needs.
Big Ger - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to Lusk:

Deal!!
Lusk - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

There are slight extras,
A bucket full of fresh langoustine and lobster waiting on the doorstep every morning.
As for the free pasties down the pub ...
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Toerag - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

>however our walls are 3 foot thick granite block construction.

as in concrete blocks made with granite chippings, or dressed blocks of solid granite, or two 'skins' of lumps of random granite with the middle full of rubble?
Concrete blocks - no problem, unless you hit a joint and the mortar's got gaps in it.
Dressed stone - As before, but don't drill near mortar lines if you can help it. Use a proper SDS hammer drill (Bosch GBH equivalent). As described above, plugs will take a range of screws. If you try to use the biggest screw possible in a plug in a snug granite hole there can be so much resistance you won't be able to screw it in all the way.
Random stone - this is a real pain because the joints are all over the place, and even worse, the 'sides' of the stones are often not perpendicular to the face of the wall. What happens is your drill goes in a mortar joint then comes up against an oblique angle of granite. It will invariably refuse to bite into the stone and will skate off alongside it resulting in an enlarged hole which goes in at an angle. So, as long as you hit the middle of a bit of stone you're fine. Trying to drill right through a wall like this is a total nightmare because the odds of 'skating off' are increased and the chances of binding the bit are high. Add to that the fact that invariably the rubble in the wall will fall down and block the hole as soon as you withdraw the bit and you can see why diamond drilling is about the only sensible option in many cases. Random granite is often the by-product of quarrying 'dressing granite' and the stone is often weaker than dressed granite but you'll still need a proper drill.

Big Ger - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to Toerag:


> as in concrete blocks made with granite chippings, or dressed blocks of solid granite, or two 'skins' of lumps of random granite with the middle full of rubble?

> Random stone - this is a real pain because the joints are all over the place, and even worse, the 'sides' of the stones are often not perpendicular to the face of the wall. What happens is your drill goes in a mortar joint then comes up against an oblique angle of granite. It will invariably refuse to bite into the stone and will skate off alongside it resulting in an enlarged hole which goes in at an angle. So, as long as you hit the middle of a bit of stone you're fine. Trying to drill right through a wall like this is a total nightmare because the odds of 'skating off' are increased and the chances of binding the bit are high. Add to that the fact that invariably the rubble in the wall will fall down and block the hole as soon as you withdraw the bit and you can see why diamond drilling is about the only sensible option in many cases. Random granite is often the by-product of quarrying 'dressing granite' and the stone is often weaker than dressed granite but you'll still need a proper drill.

That's our option I'm afraid, but many thanks for the sound advice.

L andrewpt - on 22:58 Mon
In reply to elliot.baker:

Hi Elliot.
Ive done the diy thing for years. Plasterboard fixings are mostly useless. Then came 'Gripits'marketed by screwfix. They are a quantum leap ahead of all the other plastic plugs and toggle fixings. Plus you can take them out and reuse shen you change the room around.
All the load bearing specs are detailed.
For massive weights. Either make sure you get a couple of screws into the woden frame that supports the plaster board. Locators are dodgy just push your smallest screwdriver through.
If not possible fix a batten with ample fixings. A vertical batten gives better support as it wont try and twist off like a horizontal one would.
Good luck and be careful of wiring & water routes. Just make it bomb proof.
PS if your walls are that awfull cinder toffee stuff BIG SCREWS and backup with adhesive in the hole before you push your MASSIVE rawl plug in. Leave it overnight to go off before you screw into it.
Cheers
Andy
krikoman - on 10:36 Tue
In reply to elliot.baker:

If used these before and they are great when there's enough room behind, but there's been an odd time when the space to insert it is too shallow (at least that's what she said), in which case they are a complete faff.

http://www.screwfix.com/p/rawlplug-hollow-wall-anchors-m5-x-37mm-20-pack/99201?kpid=99201&ds_rl=...

jkarran - on 11:20 Tue
In reply to elliot.baker:

If your plaster sounds a bit hollow in some places but not others on an exterior wall it may just be old and the bond with the brick failed. Make sure any wallplugs go right into the brick rather than being 3/4 installed in loose plaster with only a few mm actually pushed into solid brick. If so using a hammer drill on it will probably loosen more and if it's not papered it may crack.

Plasterboard in good condition with the right fittings properly installed will bear a lot of weight especially so where the load is basically aligned with the surface, not perpendicular to it (like a fixed flatscreen tv bracket but not one with a long arm). Best bet is still to pick up the studs where you can.

My towel rail is solidly attached to plasterboard but as I have access to both sides I didn't need special fittings, just some big washers on the back side.
jk

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