Maintenance and DIY tips for your home: hanging pictures
Although the NHBRC is not responsible for maintenance, we suggest that you consider the following tips:
Very light items can be fixed on all kinds of wall finishes by using appropriate adhesives according to the manufacturer’s instructions. But be careful. The adhesion normally has to be the paint or paper that covers the walls, and the bond can be no stronger than the adhesion of the paper or paint to the wall.
Pictures (if not too large) and other small items can be hung on all types of walls using steel picture hooks.
All walls may look solid enough, but before attempting to fix heavy items to them, it is important to find out how they are built.
Ask your home builder or try to find out yourself by tapping a wall to see if it sounds hollow.
If it does and your home is of masonry construction, the wall is likely to be dry-lined with plasterboard or masonry. It is possible that the walls dividing rooms may be timberframed partitions with plasterboard on vertical timber studs. Making several trial holes through the plasterboard with a bradawl (a tool with a blade similar to that of a straight screwdriver and a handle made from wood or plastic) or very small drill bit will reveal the position of the timber frame, or whether there is a masonry wall close behind. Otherwise, walls will be of plastered masonry.
If in doubt, use a battery timber-stud detector. Some models can also detect electric cables and pipe work. These are available at DIY stores. In timber frame homes, all walls will normally be partitions of plasterboard on timber studs.
Always remember: very heavy pictures and mirrors should not be hung on picture hooks.