More to Drywall than Meets the Eye
the hang of it
was afraid you were going to ask me that,” said Mike Frentz, when
the question came around to, exactly what is drywall? Mike and his
brother John agreed that drywall is a sandwich with an exterior of two
really thick paper boards, almost like mutant cardboard, holding in
this … stuff … on the inside.
can flake right off in your hand,” John said of the interior fill.
“But the outside is pretty durable.”
became popular due to its ease of use. Putting up plaster walls is a
several-step procedure, plus it takes lots of drying time to complete.
Drywall has the advantage of speed
–– it can be easily cut, put up and seamed (applying joint
compound where two pieces of drywall meet, to help the result look
seamless when painted) in less than half the time of plaster.
the difference between the two helps customers understand why hanging
something on a wall made of plaster is different than drywall. The
first thing to do is dispel a myth –– that drywall isn’t sturdy.
says customers usually overlook normal picture hooks when they’re
looking for something to use to hang a picture or shelf– “they
always think they need this miracle hanger.”
Mike took two Elite (a brand he favors) picture hooks that were rated
to hold 75 pounds each, pounded them into the wall of an addition on
his home made of drywall, stretched some picture wire between them,
and then stood on them.
weighs 150 pounds. Everything held just fine.
key with all of them is that the nail goes in at an angle, and
that’s what gives it its strength.” The simplest type is a picture
hook with a nail. Then there’s a product called E-Z Hangers, which
features a nail with a washer permanently affixed to it for added
strength. “Those are good for things like plaques,” Mike says.
Elite, Mike’s favorite, is made of a heavier metal with a solid
steel hardened pin, rather than a nail, which has an extremely sharp
point. “These are so sharp you can actually push them right into
drywall. I have. And when it’s time to take it out, if you’re
moving or painting, I’ve pulled it out with my fingertips. You
don’t even need a hammer,” Mike added.
and Sons also sells mounting tape, such as the type made by 3M, but
it’s made to hang light things. “The picture hangers we were
talking about can carry anywhere from 5 to 75 pounds each. The tape is
alright, but I wouldn’t put more than 2 pounds of weight on it.”
something on drywall that weighs more than 75 pounds effectively moves
you out of the picture hanger category and gives you two options: Use
something like a Molly Anchor or a toggle and a Molly Hook (pictured
at right), or find the stud behind the wall and use that as your
Molly Anchor/Hook combination is made to drive through the wall, where
the spanners will expand as you tighten down the screw. Then, rather
than placing the weight of the object on the screw, you place it on
the hanger, which gives extra support.
the ultimate way to do it is just to find the stud” and drive into
that, Mike says. Years ago, the tool used for this featured a
free-floating magnet. You moved the tool along the wall and when you
dragged it over a nail, the magnet indicated the nail’s location
thus the stud.
But that was just the trouble – the nails were in a stud, all
right, but not necessarily in the center of it.
stud sensor is a sonar device. Frentz and Sons carries two versions.
The first uses sonar to measure the depth of the wall. “As you move
it along the wall and it comes across something with greater depth,
you know you’ve hit a stud,” Mike says. The thing to do then is
find both edges of the stud; from there, it’s easy to ascertain
where the center of the stud is, which is where you want to drive the
second type is a much more versatile model called a Videoscanner that
detects not only studs, but reinforcing rods, joists, pipes and
conduit that could carry electrical wiring.
is more expensive, but it’s good to know where these things are,
too,” Mike adds.