Metal Wall Anchors - for high strength
When you need superior strength, metal wall anchors might be the only logical choice. They do a job similar to plastic wall anchors, but they stand up to some of the most demanding applications.
Frugal living demands that we do things ourselves, and sooner or later you're going to need a metal anchor to attach something heavy to the wall.
Let's take a look two different types of wall anchors made of metal that are commonly used to mount things to a wall.
Metal anchors come in handy when plastic wall anchors just won't cut it.
If using plastic or metal anchors won't cut the mustard for you, then I have another alternative approach to mounting things to the wall. It's permanent, but it really works like a charm.
In the meantime, let's look at metal wall anchors to see how they work.
Drill a Hole and Mount an Anchor
This first type of metal anchor is a traditional design where you drill a hole the size of the shaft of the anchor and insert the devise and tap it into place.
The photo below shows how this wall anchor is designed. You'll notice a threaded rod running inside the anchor and the shaft has bent splits near the bottom. After installation inside the wall, the threaded rod is tightened with the screw head on the left, and this collapses the splits and spreads them out.
To use this wall anchor properly, the thickness of the wall must match the distance between the flange on the left and where the bent splits begin. This smooth part of the shaft won't distort when the screw is tightened, so that should be inside the wall.
Only the bent split part will deform into a mushroom shape as the screw is tightened, thus crushing the wall between the flange head and the mushroomed bent splits.
The photo right shows the flange head portion of metal wall anchors. Notice the small points that face downward. These are what holds the wall anchor from spinning while you tighten the threaded rod using the screw head.
Since there are different thicknesses of walls, these metal wall anchors come in a range of shaft lengths. Remember to match the length of the smooth part of the shaft with the wall thickness. It's okay to have the smooth shaft a little less deep (shorter) than you need it, but don't have it too deep (longer) than you need it.
A shaft that is too deep (longer) than the wall thickness will allow the anchor to mushroom without sufficient contact with the inside surface of the wall. This will provide a weak or loose fit that won't be nearly as strong.
Drivable Metal Wall Anchors
Here is a variation on a theme - a wall anchor designed to be driven into the wall with a hammer. The photo below right shows a metal anchor with a point and a tapered plastic sleeve. The point allows the fastener to be driven into a wall much like you might drive a nail.
To drive the anchor, you simply hit the top of the screw head threaded rod to drive the point of the fastener into the wall.
Notice the very short smooth shaft between the flange head and the bent splits in the fastener. This means it's designed for a very thin wall.
Caution, there is no need to be Tarzan when installing these things. Excessive force or a wide section of wall board that isn't well supported can result in a large hole or crack in the wall.
When in doubt, simply drill a hole as you would for the traditional metal wall anchors, or at least make a starter hole with an awl.
In the photo left, you can see the top of the flange head for the drivable metal anchor. Notice the fiber washer between the slotted screw top of the threaded rod and the flange.
The fiber washer provides a smooth interface between the head of the threaded rod and the flange so you can tighten it with ease.
All metal wall anchors have something similar so you're not fighting metal against metal when you tighten down on the threaded shaft.
Removing Metal Wall Anchors
It would be nice if the design of metal wall anchors simply allowed you to straighten out the mushroomed end of it for easy removal. It doesn't work that way. Once they're in, they're in to stay.
To remove them, you have to damage the wall by ripping them out or punching them through to the other side. So, be certain you know where you want them so you can save yourself some wall patching.
If the anchor is not longer needed, sometimes you can unscrew the threaded rod in the middle and patch/paint over the flange that remains on the surface. This is easier than trying to tear the thing out of the wall.
Done with Metal Wall Anchors, take me back to Do It Yourself