Decorating your home is a large part of making a house, condo, apartment, or flat, personally yours. Hanging pictures on the walls is, of course, a common way to decorate the rooms in your home. When you are going to hang a picture on plaster walls, you might automatically reach for a hammer and a nail.
Don’t do it! If you hammer a nail into a plastered wall, you can’t help but produce cracks, and maybe even holes that are bigger than the nail. The reason for this is because a plastered wall is usually a coating of Plaster of Paris mixed with lime putty. The plaster mix is fairly durable to cover the walls with, but it easily crumbles, chips, and breaks off. This is especially true if it’s been on the wall for a while, and is dried out.
In the old days, houses were built with a wood molding around the perimeter of the room walls. This molding was known as a “picture rail”. It was customary to place hooks into the picture rail at different locations. Then, pictures were hung to the hooks by means of wire, string, et cetera. This way, there were no holes made in the plaster walls by driving nails into them.
Today, instead of reaching for a hammer and a nail, you should instead investigate the other types of picture hangers that are available at your local hardware. One type of hanger is made of a hard plastic material; it comes in different sizes. It has a heavy duty adhesive on its back that becomes sticky once it is moistened with water.
After the adhesive is allowed to set a couple of minutes, you then position the plastic hanger on the wall. Press the adhesive firmly against the wall, then let the hanger set undisturbed for a period of time. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the proper amount of time. Finally, without causing any damage to your wall, your plastic hanger is ready to hold your most cherished pictures.
Later on, if you decide to move the picture and the plastic hanger, you can easily pry it off of the wall by using a plastic putty knife. The paint underneath the adhesive will undoubtedly lift up too, but at least a small dab of new paint can cover that up easily.
Another type of picture hanger is basically designed the same way. However, with this hanger, the adhesive resembles putty. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the proper installation, but, basically, you position the hanger where you want it on your wall. Then, you pull the putty and it adheres the hanger to your wall. There are different sizes to accommodate different weights of pictures.
The above listed products are great for hanging most pictures, but if you are going to hang a very large, very heavy picture on a plaster wall, then you will finally need to reach for… a screwdriver and a screw. Number eight wood screws can work very well, as long as they are at least a couple inches long.
Make sure that you first locate a wood stud inside the wall near where you want to hang the picture. A small device called a “stud finder” can make this task pretty easy. Once you have located a stud, then, you will need to drill a hole for the screw. Use a low – speed, electric drill for this purpose.
And, insert a bit in the drill that is a little smaller than the diameter of the screw. Slowly drill just through the plaster, but not into the wood stud on the inside of the wall. You are only making a starter hole for the screw. Then, place the screw in the hole and use a screwdriver to drive it into the wood.
In order to test the holding power of the screw, you can grab it with a pair of pliers and pull on it. If the screw feels like it is firmly in place, then it is properly installed. With the wood screw being driven into the wood stud, it should be able to hold a lot of weight.