Can you reuse wall anchors?

In this short report we will discuss the topic “can you reuse wall anchors?” We will also discuss the materials used to make wall anchors and how each type of anchor is unique in providing the required strength. We will also discuss the type of reusable drywall anchor and how it can be used for multiple applications.

What materials are used for making wall anchors?

Anchor is a material that is fastened to the wall and used to hang light things such as frames, cloths, mirrors or heavy things such as TV, holders in the bathroom etc. However, the type of anchor that needs to be installed depends on the type of wall. If there is a mismatch then either the anchor will slowly come off the wall or it may damage the wall with the weight of the load on the anchor. 

Hence choosing the right type of anchor for the wall is very important for its proper working. Now to choose the type of anchor we should consider the two common types of walls and they are 1) very hard surface mostly made of concrete and 2) soft hollow surface that is used to make doors, walls and ceilings.

All types of anchors can be categorized into two groups.

  • Expansion anchor
  • Hollow wall anchor

Expansion anchor walls are mostly made of plastics and are available in a number of sizes and shapes. These types of screws have winged ends that expand when a screw is inserted. This expansion happens inside the wall thus keeping the anchor tight in place. 

Large screw can be placed in a large plastic anchor for high holding capacity. These expansion type anchors are stronger on concrete surfaces, however, in some cases when pulled out, these plastics may break. In such cases for more strong anchors lead materials are used.

Hollow wall anchors also expand when a crew is inserted in it. However this screw is threaded through a slotted metal sleeve which expands outward and collapses against the wall. They are also known as Molly bolts and are used to carry medium weighted objects with a maximum holding capacity of 50 pounds.

Photo Courtesy: iStock. Type of expansion anchor with screw.

Can anchors damage your wall?

Drywall anchors work well with the right type of screw for the right type of anchor. It is safe to use if the load placed is within the limit of its load bearing capacity. Toggle bolts can support upto 50 pound weight whereas hollow wall anchors have a higher weight bearing limit of 100 pounds. 

Plaster and drywall have a limited weight carrying capacity and too much weight at a single point will damage the wall with the material on it. In cases when you are not able to remove the wall anchor, the best thing to do is just push it into the wall and cover the wall with plaster. This way you will not damage the wall while pulling it out. 

There are other ways where you can keep a flat object such as scale around the hole while pulling out the wall anchor from a drywall. This way the plaster will not break and come out.

Photo Courtesy: iStock. Molly Bolt

Can you reuse wall anchors?

Most of the drywall anchors are for single use as a hole needs to be drilled for its installation. Some plastic drywall anchors can be reused but with proper removal from its first installation. Using a plier pull back the anchor straight out and if there is no tear you can reuse it. 

However, with multiple reinstallations these wall anchors eventually lose their grip and so there is a limit in the number of times it can be used. In some cases it is better to keep the wall anchor installed without attempting to remove it. It may create more damage than its repurpose. 

A perfectly fitted wall anchor will stay for a longer time without any damage. There are certain drywall anchors that are designed for multiple applications. These reusable anchors are made of sturdier plastic than the traditional single use plastic wall anchors.

The reusable type of wall anchors are designed to hinge on when drilled into the hole which allow its reuse without much wear and tear. With their ease in use and reuse, these wall anchors are also expensive.

What is the best way to dispose of wall anchors?

Old plastic wall anchors are recyclable and can be discarded in recycling bins. However, being small they will be likely to be missed, hence, if you have a bunch of it that needs to be discarded then it is better to separately take them to the recycling center where it can be disposed of properly. Before disposing of any plastic wall anchor remove all the screws and discard them separately. 

Conclusion

In this short report we have discussed the question “can you reuse wall anchors?” and have highlighted some of the types of wall anchors and the materials used to make wall anchors. We have further discussed the ways by which these can be disposed of or recycled to make the better use of wall anchors.

Frequently asked question (FAQs): Can you reuse wall anchors?

Can you reuse a plastic wall anchor?

Plastic materials are not as sturdy as metals and tend to deform under pressure. So when a plastic anchor is pressed into the wall it stretches and changes its shape and hence it cannot be reused again. Once it is removed, the stretching of the plastic weakens the anchor and it becomes difficult to tap the screw into a new hole.

However, there are other options available where you can look for reusable anchors. Some supply stores sell these types of anchors, but make sure you read the label where it says reusable anchor as some labels mention removable which does not necessarily means reusable. 

These types of anchors are made of sturdy plastic materials and they cost a little more than the plastic anchors made from traditional plastic material.

How do you remove wall anchors without damaging them?

It’s a little tricky to remove the wall anchor but it is a simple procedure. Plastic wall anchors have wings at the end that tend to expand out once you insert the screw. However, when the screw is removed these wings tend to move in closer. So it will then be easy to remove the wall anchor. This is little different in metal wall anchors where you have to apply a different procedure.

First thing that you have to do is place the screw into the wall anchor but just enough to get the required friction between wall anchor and screw. If you place the screw deep into the wall anchor then it will be difficult to remove it because the wings will be expanded within the wall. Once it is placed properly, you have just pulled it out and you will be done with your job. 

Can you take a screw out of a wall anchor?

Some wall anchors tend to become loose after their repeated use. When this happens, the wall anchor also starts rotating with the screw while you try to remove the screw. This way it will be difficult to remove the screw so what you can do is use a plier to hold the wall anchor firmly on the wall while you back the screw off.

What is the strongest drywall anchor?

Traditional metal toggle bolt is the strongest bunch of wall anchors that can take a load of 100 pounds. However, they are not the easiest to install as the hole needs to be of perfect size for the toggle wall anchor to enter. The thing that makes this wall anchor the strongest is the wings that after inserting flares outward to form a strong perpendicular brace at the back of the drywall. 

This helps the wall anchor to stay sturdy and strong as in the process the whole thickness of the wall itself will support the load.

Should the screw be longer than the anchor?

For efficient working of the wall anchor, the screw should match the anchor. If the screw is too big it will bind the anchor and if it is too small, the wings at the end of the anchor will not expand enough to keep the anchor in position. The best choice will be to use a drywall anchor that is one size bigger than the screw. This way it will stabilize the screw and wall anchor.

Can we recycle wall anchors?

Plastic wall anchors can be recycled in some areas. Check with your local recycling centers that can take plastic anchors along with other plastic materials. Metal anchors can also be recycled with other metal scrapes which is an efficient way to dispose of these anchors when not in use.

References

https://www.thespruce.com/wall-anchor-types-uses-application-hollow-wall-anchor-3898923
https://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/inffastener/infanchor/infanchor.html
https://www.hunker.com/13413616/how-to-use-plastic-wall-anchors

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