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How Much Weight Can A Nail In Drywall Hold?


Weight capacity of a nail in drywall.

It can be tricky to hang items from nails in drywall since it is unable to bear as much weight as brick walls, plaster walls, and wood structures can. However, if the only option is to hang the nail directly into drywall, it is important to know exactly how much weight the nail can hold.

A nail is drywall is only able to hold a few pounds at most and should not exceed 10 pounds of weight. To can significantly increase the weight capacity by using drywall anchors or nailing into a stud.

Although it is difficult for nails in drywall to hold large amounts of weight by themselves, there are many ways to increase the weight that the nail is able to hold.

It is highly recommended to utilize wall studs, anchors, and mounts to increase the amount of weight the nail can hold and prevent the nail from coming out of the brittle drywall.

What Can I Do To Increase The Weight A Nail Can Hold In Drywall?

Obviously, it is more effective to drive a nail into a wall stud than into hollow drywall. Wall studs offer more support, resulting in a higher amount of weight that the nail is able to hold. To find the wall studs, you can use a stud finder; a tool that uses magnetic technology to find screws in the drywall that indicate a sturdier section of the wall. 

If you do not have a stud finder, you can find the studs manually by horizontally tapping on the wall until it feels and sounds solid instead of hollow. A quick trick to find a stud in the wall even faster is to locate an electrical outlet and vertically move upward since electrical outlets are always placed on studs.

When hanging a nail on a stud instead of directly into drywall, the nail can hold significantly more weight. Nails that are driven into studs are able to hold anywhere between 20 and 40 pounds depending on the angle of the nail and how far into the wall the nail is.

What Hardware Can I Use?

During the nail installation process, you might need to use a drill. For driving nails into studs, a power drill will be more helpful because it will be able to force the nail deeper into the stud, which ultimately provides more support for higher amounts of weight.

Drywall anchors and toggle bolts are hardware products that are designed to enhance the amount of weight a nail can hold in drywall. Anchor types and sizes vary, but the packaging of the specific product you choose will be able to tell you it’s weight capacity.

Drywall anchors and toggle bolts can actually be placed directly onto drywall, so you do not need to go through the process of finding studs if you opt to go this route. These installation products can be found online or at any hardware store.

There are several other ways to ensure that nails in drywall can hold more weight. Simply swapping out a screw in place of a nail is a simple way to increase the amount of weight capacity.

For best results and to reach the highest amount of weight possible, use a drywall anchor in conjunction with a screw, and you will able to mount heavy objects that are guaranteed to have support.

Some reliable options for hardware are:

  • French cleats
  • Horizontal wood bracings
  • Specialty hooks
  • Levels
  • Honky hooks
  • Adhesive strips
  • Threaded toggles 
  • Molly bolts
  • Picture hangers 

These can help to create more support that enable drywall to hold large amounts of weight. 

What Can I Hang On Nails And Screws In Drywall?

Truthfully, you are able to hang almost anything on a nail or a screw that has been properly mounted into drywall. The options are nearly endless when it comes to the types of things you can hang on your walls after nails and screws have been secured.

Interior décor like plants, pictures, mirrors, lights, art pieces, fans, and fabrics are all things that can be hung on a nail or screw that has been installed into drywall. 

There are also more functional items that can be hung on a nail or screw to benefit your daily life, like organizational shelving units, mountable cabinets, key holders, or coat racks.

While hanging these sorts of items, you should take into consideration what the total weight of the item is going to be. For example, if you are going to mount a 10-pound shelf, chances are it is going to be more than 10 pounds once the shelf is full. 

You should plan ahead what you are going to put on the shelf. This will play a factor in deciding what type of hardware you need to support the total amount of weight that needs to be supported.

What About Drywall Ceilings?

Drywall ceilings should be treated the same way as drywall everywhere else in your home. In fact, the ceiling should be treated with even more care when it comes to hanging objects from nails and screws because a caved-in and flaking ceiling is worse than a crumbling piece of drywall.

However, it is possible to install nails and screws into your ceiling for the installation of items like hanging plants or perhaps a canopy over your bed.

Instead of studs, ceilings have joists. Joists are vertical reinforcement boards inside of the ceiling that should be used for hanging nails and screws. Stud finders will help you find ceiling joists in drywall ceilings, the same way they help you find studs in drywall walls.

It is not a good idea to hang a nail or screw directly from the ceiling without first finding the joist. If you are unfamiliar with the structure of your home or live in an apartment unit, it is ideal to first consult a professional about hanging something from the ceiling to ensure that your ceiling is able to support the weight.

When hanging objects from the ceiling, it is necessary to use strong, durable hardware like the aforementioned anchors and toggle bolts.

You should over-estimate the weight capacity of the product you are using. For example, if you are hanging a five-pound plant from the ceiling, you might want to opt for equipment that supports up to 10 or 15 pounds to ensure safety and prevent the ceiling from breaking, falling, or caving in.

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to hanging weighted objects on drywall. Remember to use a stud finder and proper hardware if necessary. No matter what you choose to hang, you should continuously check on it to ensure that it is not moving or coming loose over time.

Related Reading:

How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold? More Than What You Think

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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