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how do I hang a shelf on a plaster and mesh wall?


nursecarrie's Avatar
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08-04-08, 10:56 PM   #1  
how do I hang a shelf on a plaster and mesh wall?

I want to hang a shelf in my kitchen but the walls are made of plaster and metal mesh. I originally discovered this when I drilled a small screw into the wall and the wall crumbled around it. Do I use the toggle bolts like you would with a regular plaster and lath wall? And won't the wall crumble when I put the toggle bolt in it since the hole will be much larger? Any help would be appreciated!

 
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08-05-08, 08:59 AM   #2  
It is not unheard of for a house to have metal lath and plaster but it's pretty rare. Did you maybe find the mesh in an angle?
Over gypsum lath the angles (and corners of openings like windows and doors) were reinforced with a strip of metal lath.
I've seen a lot of plaster over wood lath done this way as well.

Either way the toggle should hold.
A better way is to find a stud. There are several ways to find a stud. Electrical boxes are usually mounted on studs sometimes you can take off a cover plate and on one side or the other see the stud. Other studs are 16" or multiples of 16" left and right of the one you find.


How much of the plaster crumbled when you drilled the hole?

Can you describe the mesh?

How thick is the plaster?

How old is the house?

What part of the country are you in?

If you tell us these things we can have a bit more insight into how to do this.

 
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08-05-08, 02:12 PM   #3  
Yes the mesh was found in an angle, it's silver made up of little diamond shapes. The hole that crumbled is about an inch in diameter. This is an apartment (on Long Island, NY), I just moved in recently, I'm not sure how old the building is. And I'm not sure how thick the plaster is because this wall connects to another apartment. The other thing is that there are no electrical boxes on this wall. The only thing attached to this wall is a cabinet, should I assume that the cabinet is probably mounted to a stud?

 
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08-05-08, 04:27 PM   #4  
That is a safe but not absolute assumption. This could be a plaster wall build with steel studs or what were at the time called trusstuds or of channel irons with base clips at the top and bottom. If this is what you have it's a bit harder so let's try to find out if you have wood studs.

Look inside the cabinet and see if you can see anyplace where there are screws or nails holding it to the wall. If they are 16" apart then most likely they are on a stud. Then you can measure left or right in 16" increments from one of the fasteners and probably find a stud. You can use a small masonry bit to drill a hole to see if you hit a stud. If you go about an inch or 1 1/4" and then the drill goes in the rest of the way with no resistance then you missed the stud. If it feels a little different it's probably because masonry bits don't drill well into wood and you must have hit a stud.

If you do this behind the shelf then even if you miss the stud the hole will be hidden.

 
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08-08-08, 03:06 PM   #5  
Ok I measured the screws holding the cabinet to the wall and they are all unevenly spaced, anywhere between 4 to 6 1/2 " apart.

 
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08-08-08, 05:17 PM   #6  
Are they roughly level with each other? If so then there must be some blocking there to screw to. Can you use the same arrangement?

There is another way to find a stud. It isn't pretty but it works. Get a small masonry bit. The smallest you can find. They make them as small as 1/8" Start drilling holes about where you want the shelf. Maybe the shelf can hide the holes you drill.
Drill a hole about every inch until you hit a stud. You will know you hit a stud if it's a wood stud. Then mark that hole and measure 16" left or right and do the same process. You should hit it with the second or third hole. Maybe the first if you are lucky. You still need to find the center of the stud for accurate measuring for the rest of the studs.

Now about all those holes. Use a little joint compound and fill them in and sand lightly and paint.

The maintenance person at your apartment complex might be able to help you too.

 
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08-13-08, 10:42 PM   #7  
i found the studs!! thank you so much for your help!!

 
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