Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

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curious george
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Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by curious george »

I noticed that over time the anchor screws that I put in get a little loose.
I used some fairly heavy duty ones for curtains. The curtains are fairly heavy.
I noticed a little bit of loosening over time and have replaced a few and others I have tightened.
I imagine that over the years, they will likely get loose but couldn’t find anything about this topic.
Anyone have experience or knowledge to share?
I have limited knowledge and would consider myself a novice in this area
Thanks
sport
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by sport »

Most likely the screws loosen because of the repeated opening and closing of the heavy curtains. The drywall cannot take the repeated strain.
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MP123
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by MP123 »

Yes, they tend to loosen up over time. Some of that is due to them wearing on the sheetrock if they get wiggled around.

The type with a toggle bolt at the end is much superior to the type that has an expanding plastic sleeve in my experience.

With heavy drapes you'd probably be better off sinking screws into the wood header above the window rather than trying to hang them from just the sheetrock, it's not great at holding a load like that.
HomeStretch
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by HomeStretch »

Yes, the drywall anchors may loosen with use over time. When possible, screws or nails in a stud or block of wood is a better choice.

When remodeling, I have blocks of wood installed as nailers in certain wall cavities be able to mount toilet paper holders, curtain rods, etc. more securely.
HomeStretch
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by HomeStretch »

Yes, the drywall anchors may loosen with use over time. When possible, screws or nails in a stud or wood block is a better choice.

When remodeling, I have blocks of wood installed as nailers in certain wall cavities be able to mount toilet paper holders, curtain rods, etc. more securely.
Big Dog
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by Big Dog »

MP123 wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:21 am Yes, they tend to loosen up over time. Some of that is due to them wearing on the sheetrock if they get wiggled around.

The type with a toggle bolt at the end is much superior to the type that has an expanding plastic sleeve in my experience.

With heavy drapes you'd probably be better off sinking screws into the wood header above the window rather than trying to hang them from just the sheetrock, it's not great at holding a load like that.
Agree. For heavy items on the wall, toggle/molly bolts are much better than plastic screw anchors. Of course, sinking a screw into a stud is best.
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curious george
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by curious george »

So for some I just tighten and they seem to hold fine after that. Is that ok ?
For some where I have some doubt or I can’t just tighten, I replaced with a much larger toggle type bolt and it covers the oLd hole just fine and seems to hold.
crefwatch
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by crefwatch »

"Anchors" is a generic term. We don't know if your wall is gypsum board, double gypsum board, plaster on gypsum lath, plaster on wire lath, plaster on wood lath, masonite paneling on masonry, or whatever ... .... . Your question is reasonable, but our answers aren't that meaningful without direct inspection.

So many houses have gypsum board wallboard that it is the most likely guess.

It makes a difference whether you are tightening the loosened fasteners more or less than one quarter turn. If you're turning them a lot, we have to consider that the anchor may be crushing the gypsum board and will eventually break through. It takes experience and judgement to wiggle a loose wall anchor and make an educated guess about what is happening inside the wall.

I have many anchors that have never loosened, in 22 years in the same house. The fact that they are loosening is a bad sign.
terran
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by terran »

The metal kind that open up inside the wall like this will work better than the plastic kind that either open up inside the wall, or just use friction against the drywall.

The very best option is to find a stud to go straight into. There will be studs directly at the edge of the window. If you need to go further out I've found a powerful magnet a good way to find the screws attaching the drywall to the stud -- if you find a number of them in a vertical line then chances are you've found the center of stud. Each stud will be 1-1/2 inches wide, so that's your margin of error. If you find a stud, then chances are you'll find another either 16 or 24 inches away.
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curious george
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by curious george »

I think we have standard gypsum drywall 1/2 thick.
I will keep a close eye on them and replace them with the toggle bolts as needed.
I try to use a stud when possible but don’t always find one at the right location. I mistakenly thought that these anchors are rated for more than enough weight and give me the ability to attach anywhere. The anchors are rated for a lot of weigh. Now I understand that perhaps I should reconfigure the install to make it work using a stud as that is much better than using anchors.
Still learning - thanks
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David Jay
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by David Jay »

curious george wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pmI mistakenly thought that these anchors are rated for more than enough weight and give me the ability to attach anywhere. The anchors are rated for a lot of weight.
The published ratings are “static” - like for hanging a painting where there is no motion. Curtains being opened and closed creates movement which over time “wears” the drywall hole larger, greatly reducing the load carrying ability of the anchors.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

curious george wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pm I think we have standard gypsum drywall 1/2 thick.
I will keep a close eye on them and replace them with the toggle bolts as needed.
I try to use a stud when possible but don’t always find one at the right location. I mistakenly thought that these anchors are rated for more than enough weight and give me the ability to attach anywhere. The anchors are rated for a lot of weigh. Now I understand that perhaps I should reconfigure the install to make it work using a stud as that is much better than using anchors.
Still learning - thanks
When I hung the curtains in our current house, I put a 4" wide board across the top of the windows extending a few inches beyond the sides of the window. The board was very well secured to the wall via the window header, and provided a great surface to attach the curtain rod hardware. When we went to blinds a decade later, no attachment was loose.

By using a board across the top of the window, securely attached to the header, you aren't at the mercy of where the wall studs are at all.

Good luck!

Broken Man 1999
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dbr
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by dbr »

As others have pointed out dry wall anchors are not really anchors for much of anything, certainly not heavy drapes. Find a way to secure such objects to studs, frames, or sometimes to a supporting board that is secured to real structure. If you have to do it use toggle bolts and not the little plastic adapters.

I can quote years of experience on that.
sschoe2
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by sschoe2 »

Yea those plastic anchor always eventually fail. Molly/toggle or stud if possible. I had a shelf supported by them above my washing machine give out and spill bleach on my clothes. :annoyed
phxjcc
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by phxjcc »

David Jay wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:01 pm
curious george wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pmI mistakenly thought that these anchors are rated for more than enough weight and give me the ability to attach anywhere. The anchors are rated for a lot of weight.
The published ratings are “static” - like for hanging a painting where there is no motion. Curtains being opened and closed creates movement which over time “wears” the drywall hole larger, greatly reducing the load carrying ability of the anchors.
(sigh)
Physics.

T = f * r * sin(theta)
Theta in this case is 90 degrees
Therefore...
T = f * r * 1

It does not take much f with an r of 7 feet to max out the plastic anchor rating.

Also, ALWAYS use spring washers then flat washers with anchors, this reduces/spreads material vibrations which reduces material damage.
investingdad
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by investingdad »

Toggle bolts are the better choice for a lot of applications. They do require a slightly larger hole and more back side clearance.
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curious george
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by curious george »

Any suggestions on what to do for already installed ones? I replaced a few that looked loose by using larger toggle bolts.
I was planning on keeping an eye on them and replacing as needed. Does this seem reasonable?
dbr
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by dbr »

curious george wrote: Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:32 am Any suggestions on what to do for already installed ones? I replaced a few that looked loose by using larger toggle bolts.
I was planning on keeping an eye on them and replacing as needed. Does this seem reasonable?
I would take the whole thing down and start over.

You can pound the fittings into the wall and patch and repaint the holes.

After that I would start by seeing if something can be designed that attaches any significant load to studs or to window frames where fittings can be screwed securely into solid wood. If toggle bolts are the only solution, you can still extract or pound in the fittings and then fit toggle bolts to everything. Until the entire construction is solid you will only continue to stress and loosen everything else. But remember that sheet rock is a covering and not a structural material designed to support loads. You'll probably notice, for example, that electrical outlets and switch boxes are set up to attach to studs and the attached wiring is secured to studs.
BuddyJet
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by BuddyJet »

curious george wrote: Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:32 am Any suggestions on what to do for already installed ones? I replaced a few that looked loose by using larger toggle bolts.
I was planning on keeping an eye on them and replacing as needed. Does this seem reasonable?
My suggestion would be to replace all the plastic anchors with Moly bolts so you can use or enlarge the existing holes. For me, it is easier to replace in one pass rather than constantly watch and deal with multiple passes. Also, the more secure every anchor is, the lower the risk of vibration damage.
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leftcoaster
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by leftcoaster »

Find a stud and screw through to that. You dint need a stud finder. Just knock one finger on the wall. It will sound hollow until you are on a stud. Electrical outlets are nailed to one side of a stud. You may also see drywall screw sometimes. Those are in studs.

If you must go somewhere in between studs, see if you can attach a piece of trim to the studs and then screw your item where it needs to go.
Silverado
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by Silverado »

leftcoaster wrote: Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:52 pm You may also see drywall screw sometimes. Those are in studs.
Yeah, not always....either our house isn’t square, we have some really warped studs or some worker had a bad day...

(I agree in general, just venting)
Big Dog
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by Big Dog »

David Jay wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:01 pm
curious george wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pmI mistakenly thought that these anchors are rated for more than enough weight and give me the ability to attach anywhere. The anchors are rated for a lot of weight.
The published ratings are “static” - like for hanging a painting where there is no motion. Curtains being opened and closed creates movement which over time “wears” the drywall hole larger, greatly reducing the load carrying ability of the anchors.
Exactly. They maybe fine for that distributed weight, but they ain't meant to hold moving items, such as curtains that open and close.
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curious george
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by curious george »

Thanks for the replies.
Is there a rule of thumb about length screws to use with 1/2 inch drywall? Should I use 1.5 inches ? 2 inches or 2.5 inches ?
2.5 inches seems like it may be too much. Anyway suggestions about weight loads and length of screws ?
BuddyJet
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by BuddyJet »

curious george wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:40 am Thanks for the replies.
Is there a rule of thumb about length screws to use with 1/2 inch drywall? Should I use 1.5 inches ? 2 inches or 2.5 inches ?
2.5 inches seems like it may be too much. Anyway suggestions about weight loads and length of screws ?
If you are using an normal plastic anchor in drywall rather than screwing into a stud, screw length is irrelevant. However, longer screws can allow the anchor to provide more support behind the drywall.
For example, longer screws allow a longer toggle which provides more support and wiggle resistance. Same for Moly bolts.

On the other side, anchors with longer screws usually also have thicker screws that may not fit through the bracket holes.
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willthrill81
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by willthrill81 »

I agree that toggle screws are better when the screw will be subjected to repeated movement and strain.

Another very good and easier, though somewhat pricier, option are self-drilling drywall anchors like those shown below. They are very sturdy, much more so than those that require pre-drilling and being tapped in.

Image
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curious george
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by curious george »

Sorry - I wasn’t clear - when drilling into a stud, how deep does one need to go to achieve a secure hold ? I was looking for a rough rule of thumb - using 1/2 drywall and studs
When does one use a 1.5 inch screw vs 2 1.75 vs inch vs longer ?
Does it make a difference for the curtains ?

Thanks
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willthrill81
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by willthrill81 »

curious george wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:53 pm Sorry - I wasn’t clear - when drilling into a stud, how deep does one need to go to achieve a secure hold ? I was looking for a rough rule of thumb - using 1/2 drywall and studs
When does one use a 1.5 inch screw vs 2 1.75 vs inch vs longer ?
Does it make a difference for the curtains ?

Thanks
If you're screwing 1.5" into a stud, it shouldn't move much. If you have drywall on top of that, add another .5" to the needed screw length (e.g. minimum 2" screw).

One kid yanking on a curtain can put a lot of strain on the screws. Don't skimp on length.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
Reamus294
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by Reamus294 »

This guy did some testing of drywall anchors.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHb-Tcv ... rojectFarm

I've enjoyed some of his other videos too.
skierrex
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by skierrex »

Family Handyman also reviewed some.

One of them held 180 pounds!

https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/ ... ht-tested/
dbr
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by dbr »

Remember the OP to this whole thread was not about failure at load but rather about loosening, which many sheet rock anchors are prone to. Load tests don't investigate whether or not anchors loosen under repeated pulling, twisting, jerking and so on.

My thought is that the toggle bolt type anchors are less prone to working loose than are fittings inserted, pounded, screwed, or expanded into holes in sheet rock because plaster fractures under impacts and torque and the fitting loosens.

It is still true that screws and nails into wood are well known to be durable fastenings. In the extreme one would use bolts through wood structure, but not usually possible after things are covered over.
GrowthSeeker
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by GrowthSeeker »

So many different kinds of anchors. And not all dry wall is the same, for one thing thickness varies.
In general the bigger the anchor the more holding power. But the other rule of thumb is: an anchor with a large flange on the far side of the drywall is much stronger than an anchor that is just screwed or pounded in which depends on the friction fit between the anchor and the hole.

For heavy loads, one of the best is the Snaptoggle by Toggler
https://toggler.com/products/snaptoggle ... l-channels
Very very strong; the down side: you have to drill a significantly larger hole.


My favorite anchor which does not require as large a hole as the Snaptoggle is the
Hillman DuoPower. Drill a hole, push or tap in the anchor; drive in a screw. The mechanism of this anchor changes shape in different ways depending on where the resistance is. If you pop through drywall, it expands just past the drywall. If you happen to drill into a stud, that's OK too, it just slightly expands along the length however much it can.

With all these there are different sizes; different drill hole sizes; different screws; different amounts of load they can support.

Note: if you have an old house, you might have lath and plaster walls rather than drywall. That's a different ball game. I have used the Hillman DuoPower on lath and plaster for hanging pictures; but if you need the anchor to bear a lot of weight, I'd go with the SnapToggle. Typical screw in drywall anchors won't work well in lath and plaster unless you're lucky or it's only holding a light weight. The plaster in a lath and plaster wall is different: over time, CO2 interacts with this plaster essentially turning it into limestone. Drywall has a percentage of gypsum (calcium sulfate) which is softer.
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Trader Joe
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by Trader Joe »

"Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???"

Yes they do.
6bquick
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by 6bquick »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:48 am
curious george wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:01 pm I think we have standard gypsum drywall 1/2 thick.
I will keep a close eye on them and replace them with the toggle bolts as needed.
I try to use a stud when possible but don’t always find one at the right location. I mistakenly thought that these anchors are rated for more than enough weight and give me the ability to attach anywhere. The anchors are rated for a lot of weigh. Now I understand that perhaps I should reconfigure the install to make it work using a stud as that is much better than using anchors.
Still learning - thanks
When I hung the curtains in our current house, I put a 4" wide board across the top of the windows extending a few inches beyond the sides of the window. The board was very well secured to the wall via the window header, and provided a great surface to attach the curtain rod hardware. When we went to blinds a decade later, no attachment was loose.

By using a board across the top of the window, securely attached to the header, you aren't at the mercy of where the wall studs are at all.

Good luck!

Broken Man 1999
+1.
this also works for other things. I sanded and stained two 1x6's, approx. 3.5ft in length and then screwed them (with BIG wood screws) into the studs over a sheetrock wall in our laundry room. then I attached the coat-hanger type hooks that DW wanted in that room to said board. I've personally hung from those hooks and they're still on the wall.

another nice thing about this approach is you can really be thorough (read: cavalier) about pilot holes to find the studs bc you're gonna cover them with the other wood anyway.
investingdad
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Re: Anchors screws - over time do they get loose ???

Post by investingdad »

Also consider that if you use a toggle bolt, you can slip a large diameter washer on the screw and really spread the static load nicely.
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