What Would Bob Do? Hanging a Heavy Mirror
Bob Vila answers a reader's question about how to hang a heavy mirror. To submit a question of your own, visit the Forum!
What would be the best way to hang a 40-pound framed mirror? Should I find the studs in the wall or use a picture hook without finding the stud?
Your mirror is too heavy for picture hooks, but for a wall surface made of drywall or plaster, a wall anchor would likely do the trick. A variety of anchors are available these days, each with a slightly different design; all are more reliable than the old-fashioned ribbed plastic plugs. In your case, I would recommend a winged anchor, such as the Pop-Toggle from Hillman, in part because its screw may be withdrawn and reinserted any number of times. That flexibility comes in handy if you have not determined precisely where to position the mirror. Besides winged anchors, other options include self-drilling screw anchors, molly bolts, and strap toggles. First check to see how each one is rated for the type of wall material on which you’re planning to hang your mirror.
Related: 5 Favorite Picture Hanging Tricks
The only downside of relying on studs is that you cannot control their location; they are seldom located on the part of the wall where you want to hang an item. But if you get lucky and there happens to be a stud in the position where you would like to hang a mirror, then use a 2½-inch wood screw for a wall with ½-inch drywall. For plaster walls, use a 3-inch screw in order to be certain that at least two inches of the screw threads bite into the stud.
I am trying to hang a 75-pound mirror on a brick wall. I have 100-pound gauge wire (doubled), heavy-duty hooks, and masonry nails, but I’m still afraid it’s going to fall. Do the masonry nails go into the brick or the mortar? Is there a safe way to do this?
If you want to hang a heavy mirror on a brick wall, it’s a little more work. But in comparison to drywall or plaster, a brick wall is able to carry a much heavier load. As above, you have a variety of wall anchors from which to choose. Newer polyethylene expansion anchors, like the Poly-Set (from Red Head), twist as you drive them in; the result is superior holding power. Remember that you will need a masonry drill bit of the diameter specificied by the anchor manufacturer.
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