5 Tips for Removing Hollow Wall Anchors

What You'll Need
Screwdriver (if removable anchor)
Hammer (if push through anchor)
2 inch putty knife
Utility knife
Drywall compound

The most convenient way to hang décor is to use hollow wall anchors. They are relatively easy to install and are a good choice when there is no stud. However, what should you do when you want to remove them? Sometimes, redecorating or remodeling is necessary. With just a few simple materials and guidelines anyone can remove these anchors.

Step 1: Identify the Type of Anchor

There are two kinds of wall anchors, removable and push through. To successfully remove the anchor, you must identify which type was used. Simply look at the anchor before removing it. If it has a center screw, it is a removable anchor.

Step 2: Remove Center Screw

First, use the drill to remove the center screw from the anchor. Then, insert the screwdriver into the hole as far as possible. Twist and pull at the same time to remove the anchor from the wall.

Step 3: Apply Compound

Clean the wall of any dust or debris that is left behind from the removal of the screw. Then, using your 2-inch putty knife, apply compound over the hole and allow it to air dry completely for 1 to 2 hours.  Once dry, apply a second coat of compound if needed and let it dry overnight to ensure it is completely dry.

Step 4: Paint

Using sandpaper, sand over the compound until completely smooth and even with the wall, you may need to use progressively finer grained sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish.  Next, paint or cover the wall however you desire. .

Step 5: Push through Wall Anchor

If it is not a removable anchor then check for a push through wall anchor. A push through wall anchor is sometimes used because they are more durable. Instead of pulling the entire piece out of the wall, a push through wall anchor will remain in the wall. The wing or support on the back of these fasteners will fall into the wall. Removing this type is no harder than a removable anchor.

Step 6: Remove Center Part

Remove the center part of the anchor with a drill. Next with a hammer gently tap on the metal or plastic sleeves of the anchor. Be careful to only tap long enough to make a dent in the wall not a hole.  If by accident the whole anchor falls and creates a hole, simply cut a piece of mesh tape to cover the hole.

Step 7: Fill it

Using the same process that is outlined above, fill the hole with the compound, using your 2 inch putty knife. Apply a second coat if necessary.

Step 8:  Sand it

Once it has dried, use sandpaper to ensure a completely smooth surface.  Again, it may be necessary to use progressively finer grades of sandpaper to achieve the smoothness that you are looking for. Paint or decorate as desired. Once done, sweep and clean up any mess that may has been made.

Helpful Tips

  • Know what type of anchor is being removed.
  • If painting over the patch job with existing color, be sure to match shades exactly.