How much weight can drywall hold?

How much weight can drywall hold?

Johann a TV mounting Technician and Editor
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Last Updated on June 12, 2022 by Johann Holsinger

Do you hang a lot of stuffs on your drywall?

Shelves, pictures, and other forms of wall decorations can add a lot of style to any room, and if you have drywall, this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your art and room decor. However, decorating that drywall is going to take some planning on your side though.

Exactly how much weight drywall can hold will all depend on how, where, and how heavy the object is that you want to be mounted.

Putting only a thin nail in drywall to hang even the lightest picture frame is not going to work, but if you use the right techniques and hardware, your drywall could hold as much as 100 pounds. 

What is drywall made from?

Drywall is made of gypsum, additives such as mica, paper, resin, and clay.

When installing drywall, breaking or sanding the substance will generate silica and gypsum dust, which can irritate your lungs without a dust mask.

So it’s important that you wear protective equipment such as safety glasses, dust masks, and gloves when working with drywall.

An empty room with drywall partitions

How much weight can a drywall hold when you screw it? Into a timber wall behind?

As durable and versatile as plasterboard is, drywall is pretty brittle and isn’t able to hold much weight on screws or nails alone compared to having to fix in wood or metal framing.

There is no need to take a risk when thinking about how much weight can a nail in drywall can hold? Nails tend to slip off on drywall alone, you need to find solid fixing and hammer into solid timber framing.

Gently tapping a nail or screw in drywall alone can only hold a couple of pounds at the most, and even then, this alone is not going to be reliable or strong for our satisfaction at least.

Putting a light picture frame on a nail in drywall may hold for a little bit, but eventually, either the drywall will crumble causing the nail to drop or the nail will just slip out of the hole. 

Fixing types and their capacity

Instead of hanging your wall decor just anywhere on drywall, you should aim for the area where solid timber can be found behind the wall linings – this is also known as wall studs.

If you’re not familiar with wall studs, those are the vertical boards behind your walls. Studs are usually placed anywhere from 16 to 24 inches apart from each other and can be found directly behind your drywall.

You should be able to find the studs by using a stud finder.

If you don’t have a stud finder on hand, you can locatesolid timber by tapping on the wall in a horizontal line.

When you hear a solid tap instead of the usual hollow sound, this means you have located a place with solid wood, indicating a stud, dwang, or nog location.

The amount of weight a stud is able to hold will all depend on what you’re using to hang the decor.

For example, a 1 ½ inch nail placed in the drywall at a 45-degree upward angle can hold up to 20 pounds, which is enough for a small to a medium picture frame or a small lightweight planter.

But If you’re looking to hang a nightlight, or a larger photo frame, a nail in a stud will be more suitable.

Anchors and fixings for drywall

What affects a drywall’s capacity to hold weight alone?

Here’s what to expect on how much weight can drywall hold without a stud

The hardware

How much weight can drywall hold without anchors?

While many people use nails, which can allow you to hold a small picture frame, some choose to use screws.  Screws give you more holding power. In fact, some larger screws are capable of holding up to 100 pounds, as long as you are able to find a stud. 

The thickness of the drywall

Drywall is installed in a variety of different thicknesses. Drywall that is super thin isn’t going to support as much weight as drywall that is thicker.

The thickest drywall is 5/8 inches and can have water, bracing, sound-insulating, and heat-resistant qualities depending on the type of plasterboard chosen or specified by a designer.

If you have drywall with a wide thickness level, you will find it harder to lift with heavier sheets.

On another note, the thinnest drywall is only a quarter of an inch thick and is fragile. A level up would be drywall that is half an inch, which can be found in some residential or commercial buildings.

The object’s weight

Ideally, you want to make sure that the object’s weight is not heavier than the drywall’s capacity, with or without stud fixing points.

Metal fixings for drywall

Fixing types and their capacity

  1. Expansion Anchors. These are plugs that are capable of supporting up to 20 pounds of weight. However, many qualified builders do not recommend using these types of anchors on drywall ceilings due to their low weight holding capacity. Threaded anchors are otherwise and are commonly used on plastic towel holders. More below.
  2. Hollow Wall Anchors. If you need to hang some pictures on your drywall, all that’s needed to do is drill a small hole in the wall and gently hammer an anchor into the hole to tighten it. Hollow wall anchors are capable of holding up to 50 pounds.
  3. Sleeve-Type Anchors. How much weight can a toggle bolt hold in drywall? These types of anchors are similar to hollow wall anchors and are capable of holding up to 50 pounds of weight. You can use this option to hang lightweight decor from your ceiling.
  4. Threaded Anchors. These are thick drywall ceiling anchors that can hold weight anywhere from 25 to 75 pounds of weight, but like expansion anchors, dont use them in drywall ceilings. Threaded anchors need a pilot hole first to slide these anchors through. In order to drive threaded plastic anchors into a wall, you won’t need any special tools, all you have to do is gently drive the fixing type with a screwdriver into the wall: Give them a good old screw!

Why is drywall a favorite material?

Drywall is used by many throughout the world, but why? Here are some reasons why drywall is a favorite wall material:

  • Easy to work with.
  • Easy to repair when damaged.
  • More fire-resistant than plywood with
  • The addition of using specific fire-rated gib for fire resistance.
  • Has good sound insulation.
  • Can be used to add bracing to walls with dense screw patterns in the corners.
  • It is fun to paint and decorate.

Installed drywall half full

What is the strongest fixing type to attach to something heavy on drywall?

The strongest fixing type to attach something heavy to drywall would be a threaded anchor. A threaded anchor can hold up to 50 pounds.

So, if you want to hang a heavy picture, mirror, or something large on your wall, in the hollow section between studs you can use a threaded anchor. 

How a toggle bolt looks like from the back of the drywall

What can hang on drywall using only a drywall anchor?

Threaded drywall anchors are secure and stable as long as you properly install the thread and you don’t exceed the drywall anchors’ weight limit, which should be on the packaging.

Use drywall anchors for the following tasks: 

Art

Expansion anchors can be used to hang pictures on the wall.

Hand art for hanging

 

Decorative shelving

Anchors that are capable of supporting moderate weight can be used to hang decorative shelves.

Decorative shelving of pots and jars

Coat hooks

It’s okay to use drywall anchors to secure coat hooks to the wall.

Hanging coats with hooks

Fixed TV mounts

You can mount a bracket that holds a 30-pound television on drywall, without needing to drill the bracket into a stud.

Before you use the anchor, check the weight limit to make sure the hardware is capable of holding what you need.

Fixing Tv mounts on the drywall

Tips to make drywall hold heavy objects

  • Read the Packaging Instructions – When you buy the hardware to hang objects, art, or brackets on drywall make sure to read the packaging instructions.
  • In the packaging instructions, you will see how much the hardware is able to hold. For example, some anchor bolts can hold up to 50 pounds of weight, while others can hold up to 25 pounds.
  • Make a Template – To hang something perfectly, you can make a template of the item using butcher paper. From there, cut the item shape out and tape the object onto the wall exactly where you would like to decorate an area. You can then mark where the holes should be.

Marking tools needed for installing drywalls

When to add extra timber behind drywall for support?

Do you really want to use the max weight drywall can hold? Don’t fix to timber. When you come to a point where you feel your drywall needs additional paneling because the material alone is not going to hold what you need, then it’s time to install a timber panel or mounting plate over the top of the drywall.

This is easier and doesn’t require opening up your wall framing.

Instead of installing a new timber stud inside the wall, installing a mounting plate over the top of the drywall, we find is a much easier solution.

You can cut a piece of plywood and apply a decorative stain color on the surface or paint it dark black.

How to mount anything on drywall between wall studs?

If you want to hang a shelf or a full motion tv mount where there are no timber or metal fixing points behind the wall where you want to position the TV.

You can make a mounting plate using plywood or MDF to cover the wall over top of the drywall as I often do to fix this issue.

This mounting plate can be fixed where fixing points can be found.

This will add solid fixing where you need strength for holding weights through the use of a plywood sheet, I find this very easy to do.

For a heavier mounting job or a more streamlined appearance, you can also use a steel mounting plate, by sanding it with an orbital sander and painting it matt black.

A few more tips about drywall

Drywall is one of the best and cheapest materials you can use in your home for a wall covering, which is why drywall is one of the highest recommended wall materials in most home theaters and living rooms.

Drywall can be beautifully decorated, even with the correct mounting techniques and hardware, you could mount your television, racks, and a mirror how you like.

The max weight drywall can hold will all depend on the hardware specs and the DIY techniques you used. 

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Johann Holsinger portrait

Hi, my name is Johann Holsinger, here at mountyourbox.com I share all of the tips and tricks I have professionally learned to help you set up your ultimate home entertainment system.