Thursday, July 4, 2013

Installing Hollow Wall Anchors With Common Tools

I recently had to install a new TV antenna point for my Grandmother and I felt the wall was too thin and weak to screw the wall plate to.  The easiest thing to do was just use some hollow wall anchors.

Hollow Wall Anchor Installation
Wall Anchor Before Tightening
They're easy to use.  The anchor is inserted into a hole in the wall large enough for its body and then expanded until the bendable metal tabs force the fitting against the sheeting and lock it into place.

Hollow Wall Anchor Installation
Wall Anchor After Tightening
Installing the fittings can be done a couple of different ways.  If you're going to be using a lot of them, go out and spend $30 on the correct tool for the job.  It's kind of like a pop rivet gun, except it pulls on the head of the screw to expand the tabs in the wall.  I only needed to use a couple of anchors so I decided to try a different (cheaper) method.

Insert the anchor and screw into the hole and lightly tap it into place with a hammer to push the locking teeth into the wall sheeting.

Hollow Wall Anchor Installation
Wall Anchor In Position
The metal tabs on the back can then be expanded by tightening the screw.  There is a slight problem though, tightening the screw takes quite a lot of torque, and if you're not careful the anchor may just spin around without tightening the screw.  To prevent this, a second screwdriver is wedged against the locking teeth on the front of the fitting.

Hollow Wall Anchor Installation
Using Screwdrivers to Tighten the Wall Anchor
With the second screwdriver against the locking teeth the screw can be tightened until the anchor is locked into place.  At this point you can remove the screw and securely attach whatever you want to the wall.  This method does require you to put a bit of force onto the screwdrivers which can be a bad idea.  Whenever forcing something with a screwdriver make sure your other hand is positioned so it wont get stabbed if the tool slips.  Be careful.

Job done.  My Grandmother has now made the switch to digital TV and is getting a good signal via a neat antenna point on the wall.  Installing anchors this way is really easy once you get the hang of it, but I'd only recommend it for the occasional fitting, for bigger jobs, get the right tool.  Besides, I'll take any reason to get a new tool (toy).

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