Hands On with Amy Devers: Hanging Up
Here we go, the first episode of Amy Devers to the rescue (online), since we realized a column in the magazine wasn’t enough. Annnnd… we’re off!
Hi Amy! My boyfriend and I just moved into a very old building in Brooklyn, New York. The walls are made of drywall and concrete and we’re finding it impossible to hang anything up. Any ideas?
Congrats on the new (old) digs! Of course you guys need to get your stuff up on the walls, it’s part of making the space your own.
For lightweight art and picture hanging in drywall, I’m a fan of nail-in picture hooks, or the 3M Command series picture hangers (if you don’t want to put even tiny holes in your walls.) Wall-dog fasteners (they’re like a screw + anchor in one) are great for light- to medium-duty anchoring, no pre-drilling necessary. For heavier duty installations in drywall, the key is to tie into the studs behind the drywall, as well as to distribute the weight evenly across the piece. French cleat and Z-Bar systems can help with this.
The trick for hanging in concrete is pre-drilling the hole for the anchor with a masonry bit and a hammer drill (or the hammer drill setting on your cordless drill/driver). For light to medium-duty situations you can use Wall-dogs (pre-drill 3/16” hole) or Tapcons. The latter are concrete screws, frequently sold with the appropriate drill bit and driver bit right in the package. Plan to have about 1” – 1 ½” bite into the concrete.
For gallery style installation of multiple pictures and artwork in either drywall or concrete, sans random holes all over the place, consider a picture rail system. This gives you the added benefit of being to switch out or rearrange on a whim.
Hope this helps!