Hanging mirror on lath and plaster wall


Old 07-18-08, 01:55 PM
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Hanging mirror on lath and plaster wall

I need to hang a 30 pound mirror on a lath and plaster wall in a 1935 house in Oregon. Is it likely that hollow wall anchors can support it? Is the wall thickness probably about one inch?
One problem with using wall anchors is that the screw heads are too big to fit in the holes on the back of the mirror!
Maybe I should screw a board into the studs to mount to instead... if so, is 1/4" plywood adequate, using 2 screws on each end?
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Old 07-18-08, 05:10 PM
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In a house this old the lath are probably wood lath.
Any chance that the holes in the mirror are on 16" or 32" or 48" centers?
If so can you position the mirror to mount it with the screws in studs?

How many mounting holes are there? Two or three?

Can you file or grind the screw heads a little smaller so they fit?
Can you find screws with smaller heads?

If you screwed into the meat of the wood lath it would probably hold. Problem with this is even if you hit the lath, the odds of which are pretty good, you don't know if you are in the middle of the lath or the edges. Including the lath the wall is about an inch thick. For heavy loads I like mollys made for plaster. They will grip the back of the lath and give you a good hold.
Use two bits to make your holes
Use a masonry bit until you hit lath then use a wood bit. If you don't care if you mess up the bit one wood bit will work. You will need to sharpen it after you are finished with this project.

Can you make the mounting holes on the mirror larger?
Old 07-18-08, 05:12 PM
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It would help if you described every detail about the mirror regarding the dimensions each way, if there is a frame or not, and the part about holes already in the mirror (where?, how many?). Presumably, because you talk about it's weight as an issue, I presume the plan was to suspend it from the wall without having it rest on say the top of a long vanity backsplash.

What we do (in some rentals) with heavy mirrors with no frame, where it is not going to rest on a long vanity backsplash, is to first screw a 1 x 4 to the wall, then set the mirror on the top edge. Then often we put hooks into the 1 x 4, to hang towels, hairdryers, clothes from, etc. You could also use a fancier moulding that resembles 'top cap' where the top of the moulding is thicker and then (if viewed from the side) it sort of curves "s" shape, and then the bottom edge is not as thick as the top edge.
Old 07-18-08, 07:19 PM
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Thanks much for the help.
The mirror has a rectangular wood frame, 30x70 inches, with 2 mounting holes 26" apart for hanging vertically. The holes are within steel inserts, so filing either the holes or the screw head are possibilities. The screwheads for anchors made for 1" thick walls tend to have big heads.
Ideally we would like to hang the mirror without setting on anything below it.
Old 07-19-08, 01:25 PM
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But aren't there another set of holes for the bottom?

-IF- there are only the two holes, obviously just 2 would be carrying all the weight. Could you use toggle bolts with flat heads, instead of screws? You'd think you could. They have to be long you know, to allow for the closing up when fed in, then the opening up behind all the wall material (like 1/4 or 5/16ths x 4 inches, for example). Then not only would you have the bolt of it go through the lath for some support, but you'd have that squeezing effect that would reduce the chance it can tear downward under it's weight. But this thing is not THAT heavy.

Drill TEST holes so you can feel that you have gone through the lath and not between the gaps (whether you use screws OR toggles), if you have the old wood strip lath. And since the mirror will cover a big area, test where the mirror will cover, and also test to find the gaps between the lath so you can get closer to center of the lath when you drill the holes you will keep.

Otherwise, if you have some fibrous backboard the plaster is skimmed over, the toggle will just suck into it - not as strong. And then you may want to get at least one screw into a stud and then toggle the other hole.

If you have no bottom holes, why not drill one more at the bottom, to go into a stud? Or 2 to match the top, and almost no matter how you anchor -4-, those should carry the weight no problem.

None of this is really rocket science.

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