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Hardware for Hanging Objects on Solid Surfaces

Martha Stewart Living, September 2006

This category includes brick, marble, and tile, as well as solid-wood paneling and doors. Precise drilling is essential because the hole must be the same width as (or slightly smaller than) the anchor; always use the proper bit for your surface. On masonry, try a hammer drill; it makes clean holes quickly.

Plastic Expansion Anchors
When to Use Them: Plastic hardware is appropriate for lightweight items, such as bathroom towel bars. The anchors come in assorted sizes; some have ribs or teeth for additional grip.

How They Work: As the mounting screw is tightened, outward pressure forces the anchor to conform to the sides of the hole for a supertight fit

Plastic Expansion Anchors
1. Make a small pilot hole using an awl (this prevents the drill bit from wobbling).

2. Drill a hole (use a carbide-tipped bit on tile) sized according to anchor packaging.

3. Insert anchor by tapping carefully with hammer until it is flush with wall.

4. Insert mounting hardware into anchor, and tighten.

Lead Expansion Anchors
When to Use Them: Weighty items, such as mirrors and light fixtures, mounted to masonry walls and ceilings call for a heavy-duty lead anchor. Avoid them on delicate decorative tile.

How They Work: The same principle applies as with plastic counterparts.

Lead Expansion Anchors How-To
1. Drill hole in wall with appropriate drill bit; tap in anchor.

2. Insert mounting hardware into hole, and tighten.