Plasterboard fixings may not be a term familiar to you. But if you are planning to attach heavy things to a plasterboard wall you will need to know how to choose and use anchors that work. Although you might get some expansion from a plasterboard plug you might expect to work as an anchor, it will fail. To hold securely, your anchor not only must expand, as a plug might do, it must expand behind the interior surface of your plasterboard.
There are anchors, referred to as fixings, designed to expand behind the inside surface of your plasterboard where it will hold securely. You should know how to identify and use these fixings if you are going to anchor heavy things, such as mirrors, to your walls.
Step 1 - Locate Your Wall Studs
Fixings will only work in the portion of a drywall sheet where there is no wall stud behind the sheet. A drywall fixing depends on its expansion to anchor your mirror. Even if you were to drill a hole in your stud that is large enough to accommodate your fixing, the fixing would be unable to expand and therefore would fail to hold a heavy mirror.
Before attempting to drill a hole for your fixing, before attempting to drive the fixing through your plasterboard, use a stud finder to locate wall studs. Mark these stud locations with a small piece of masking tape you will later be able to remove.
Step 2 - Locate and Mark Your Anchor Spot
Before anchoring your fixing to the wall, mark the spot where you'll want your mirror hung. If you change your mind about where you want it hung, or if you make a mistake in marking, you won't be able to move the fixing later without making a hole in the wall that you'll have to patch and repaint.
Measure carefully where you want your fixing. If you want more than one decorative mirror or painting in a grouping, for example, you'll probably need to use a carpenter's level. Place a small piece of masking tape on the wall where you'll want your fixing hole drilled. Use a pencil to mark the exact point on the tape.
Step 3 - Pre-drill Your Fixing Hole
The fixing with a flat tip will require a pre-drilled hole for the fixing to fit into. You cannot usually drive one of these flat-tip fixings into a plasterboard wall without creating a hole that will be too large for the fixing to become securely anchored. Drill a hole big enough to insert your fixing.
Step 4 - Secure Your Fixing to Your Wall
Insert your fixing into the drilled hole. Use a Phillips screwdriver or a drill with variable speed and a screwdriver bit, to begin expanding the fixing. If you use a drill turn the bit slowly clockwise until you feel it tighten. This will mean the anchor bolt fixing has expanded as far as it can and will hold your mirror securely. You can then back the fixing screw out far enough to hang your mirror on it.