How to hang things on a cement wall

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While Project Gallery describes several ways way to hang a picture from a concrete wall without drilling, you have to be more careful when hanging shelves on concrete walls, because they have to support a lot more weight. The most effective way to do it correctly is to drill a hole in the wall, insert a sleeve anchor and drive a screw into the sleeve to hold the shelving. You can do this if you’re using floating shelf brackets or you’re installing a shelf unit with a backing that you can attach to the wall.

Alternative methods include driving concrete nails and using powder-actuated fasteners. Using concrete nails, however, is messy and isn’t a suitable method for hanging shelves on cinder block walls (or brick ones). And, employing powder-actuated fasteners is dangerous and should only be done by experienced workers and using construction adhesive, which – if it works – makes the shelving unit virtually impossible to remove. Adhesive is most likely to work work when attaching shelving units with a backing, but you shouldn’t rely on it to hold floating shelves.

Different Shelf Hanging Systems

There are a number of different systems for hanging shelves, and wall anchors will work with all of them. One common shelf-hanging system, illustrated by This Old House, calls for the installation of vertical tracks with slots for brackets to support the shelving. You typically screw these tracks to the wall, and if the wall is concrete or masonry, that means you have to pre-drill holes. You can buy screws that you can drive directly into concrete, but they are difficult to use and often chip out the concrete rather than sinking into it.

Floating shelf hanging systems typically use hangers, floating shelf brackets or French cleats, and these also have to be screwed to the wall. The only case in which it might be safe to use construction adhesive is if you’re hanging a shelf unit that has a backing, which gives you plenty of surface area to spread the adhesive. Even these are better hung with screws, though, especially if you want to be able to remove the shelving without undertaking a major demolition project.

Attaching Shelving With Concrete Wall Anchors

Mark the Position of the Screws

Determine where to put the screws to hold the shelves. The procedure for doing this varies according to the hanging system. If you’re installing vertical tracks, set each track in place, plumb it with a level and draw the positions of the screw holes with a pencil. If you’re installing floating shelves, hold each shelf in position against the wall using a level to make sure it’s horizontal, draw a line under the shelf, then remove the shelf and mark the positions of the screw holes, using a tape measure to space them evenly.

When installing a shelf unit with a backing, drill holes through the backing, set the unit in place, level it and mark the positions of the holes on the wall.

Select Your Concrete Wall Anchors

Although they wouldn’t be suitable in drywall, plastic conical screw anchors are suitable for hanging shelves on concrete or masonry because there is no danger of the wall material chipping and releasing them. You can also use lead hollow wall anchors. Choose screw anchors approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches long with the same diameter as the screws you’re using.

Drill Holes for the Anchors

Drill into the concrete using a masonry bit with the same diameter as the anchor as measured at the screw opening. Keep a bowl of water nearby and dip the bit periodically to prevent it from overheating. Tap an anchor into each hole, using a hammer. Make sure the flange around the opening is flush with the wall.

Drive Screws to Fasten the Shelving

Set the shelving track or shelving hangers in place and drive a 1- to 1 1/2-inch screw into each screw anchor to secure the track or hanger. Secure the shelving to the track or hanger using whatever equipment is provided with the system you’re using.

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HardiePlank is a type of lap siding that contains cement fibers, making it extremely durable. It can be cut and drilled like wood, but you’ll need to use a masonry bit to drill this tough board. Lightweight items, such as a soilless hanging basket weighing less than one pound, can be attached anywhere on the siding. For heavier items, like hanging baskets containing soil and plants, you need to use a stud finder to make sure to attach it to a stud, or the weight will pull the screws out of the Hardie board, dropping your baskets to the ground.

Make baskets lighter by placing a 2- to 3-inch layer of styrofoam in the bottom, reducing the amount of soil needed. Choose lightweight plastic containers instead of heavier pottery.

Hang baskets at a height that will complement the plant types in them. For baskets with trailing plants, hang above eye level. Hang baskets with tall plants in the center and shorter plants near the edge at or below eye level.

Select where you want to hang your basket. Locate a stud behind the Hardie plank using a stud finder. Mark the stud location at the height you wish to install the bracket. James Hardie Building Products recommends keeping nails or screws at least 3/8 inch from the end of a plank.

Measure the diameter of the basket you intend to hang. Divide the diameter in two and add 3 inches to the result. Use a hanging basket bracket at least this long, so the basket will hang vertically and not against the siding.

Place the bracket on the Hardie plank at the marked location. Adjust it to the desired height. Mark the hole locations on the Hardie plank. Remove the bracket and set aside.

Don safety glasses, gloves and ear plugs.

Drill pilot holes, at each mark, one-quarter to one-half inch deep, to make it easier to insert screws and prevent cracking the siding.

Align the bracket holes with the pilot holes in the siding. Insert the screws and tighten securely using a drill with screwdriver bit attached.

How to hang things on a cement wall

How to hang things on a cement wall

If you had asked me what I thought would be challenging about living in Italy before we moved here, I would’ve said something like, “Getting too fat from eating a lot of pasta,” or “learning how to drive in what is essentially a daily commute of Mario Kart” (all things that turned out to be valid concerns). What I did not expect would be difficult, among many others thing (i.e. how to pee in a squatty potty or how to get mundane tasks done around the Italian nap schedule), was hanging shit on walls.

Italian homes, at least where we live in northern Italy, are made of concrete, not the soft, friendly sheetrock walls from back home. Initially, this doesn’t seem like an issue, until you go to hang a beautiful photograph of you and your husband on your honeymoon, go to drive a nail into the wall, and are met with the wall crumbling around your now bent-beyond-usability nail. This is what happens when you try to hang stuff up the American way into concrete walls — the wall literally just falls apart.

Because I have an aversion to white walls and Pinterest dreams of gallery walls on every bare surface, this was not going to do. Over the years, I’ve honed a few ways to hang things on these walls — everything from tiny calligraphy prints to giant maps to heavy shelves filled with books. And because this is a question I’m constantly asked from visitors of my home, who have met the faults of their concrete walls with disappointing results — well, I wanted to help y’all cure the white wall blues, too.

How to hang things on a cement wall

How to hang things on a cement wall

How to hang things on a cement wall

YOU’LL NEED:

for unframed things

for light things

  • very tiny nails or concrete nails
  • hammer

for heavy things

  • screw
  • anchor
  • drill (hammer drill works best)
  • masonry drill bits
  • screwdriver or screwdriver bit for drill
  • optional: wall spackle/putty & spackling knife, plus pliers if you mess up for the anchors

DO THIS

Washi tape tips: I like to buy decorative washi tape, but because concrete walls are textured and cold, it can sometimes take some trial and error to find some that will actually stick. Function over form is sometimes key here — find a brand you like and literally stick with it.

Tips for hanging light things: When I say tiny nails, I mean really tiny nails. The problem with pounding nails into the concrete walls is that they crumble away, but the tinier — and especially shorter — the nail is, the less likely you’ll have a problem since you hammer less. You can also find what we call “concrete nails” in the hardware store, which are plastic hooks with a tiny nail that you drive through it. The only downside I’ve found to this is that the hooks often aren’t very functional, and can’t really hang most picture frames up. The concrete nails can actually hold quite heavy things, but good luck finding a hook that will clip into the back of anything you own.

For heavy things, from mirrors to large canvases to shelves:

  1. For heavier objects, the anchor + screw method is your savior. Though hammer drills are best because they’re more powerful, any drill will do — however, you will need masonry drill bits to get the job done, and if you don’t have a hammer drill, a little bit of muscle.
  2. Once you’ve found the spot on the wall that you need to drill into, pick the correct bit, put it into your drill and begin drilling into the wall. This process may take some time — and if you see orange dust coming out of the wall, this is perfectly normal. You may also find that you have to drill through two layers, with a hard layer about halfway through your job. This is also normal.
  3. Drill the hole so it is large enough to comfortably insert your anchor — the anchor should be snug, but you shouldn’t have to hammer it in too hard, or it may collapse. It’s fine if you need to lightly hammer the anchor into position. If you hammer too hard and damage the anchor by crushing it, that’s fine — just pull it out with needle-nose pliers, make your hole slightly larger, and insert another anchor.
  4. If you accidentally drill your hole too large — don’t worry. This happens often with concrete, since it crumbles away so easily. You can use wall spackle around your anchor and put it into the wall that way — just make sure it dries before you insert the screw.
  5. Using a screwdriver or the screw bit on your drill, screw the screw into place in the anchor, leaving a bit coming out of the wall so you have a surface on which to hang your photo. If you are hanging a shelving bracket, place the bracket between the anchor and the screw and then drill the screw into place.
  6. If you want to remove the screw (or even a nail!) from the wall, unscrew the screw, remove the drill bit with needle-nose pliers, and fill the hole with wall spackle with a putty knife.
  7. Hang your artwork and step back in admiration!

How to hang things on a cement wall

Sarah Kelsey

Cement or adobe walls add an industrial-chic feel to homes. The only problem? It’s hard to hang anything—from pictures to art—from them. But fear not, there is a way to spare these kinds of walls from being bare. Just follow a few of these how-to steps:

How to hang things on a cement wallStep 1: Visit your local hardware store

The first thing anyone with cement walls should do is to visit their local hardware store. There, you can speak to design experts about the tools you’ll need for your art-hanging project. Drill bits, a drill, anchors, and screws are a must. You’ll also want a laser level.

Step 2: Weigh your art

The next step is to figure out how much your art weighs. The heavier it is, the larger the anchor you’ll need, and the more screws you’ll want to use to secure it in place.

Step 3: Wash away dirt

Before you start laying out your art, it’s important to wash any dirt or dust away from the wall’s surface (antibacterial wipes or basic soap and water will do the trick). Give the surface time to dry before you get down to business.

Step 4: Get measuring

Once your wall is dry, figure out where you want to hang the art. Measure it and ensure it will sit level on your wall. With a pencil, mark where you’ll want to drill your holes.

Step 5: Start drilling

Once you know where you want to place your screws, grab your drill, drill bits, and an anchor. Drill a hole into the wall; once the hole is finished, grab your anchor and hammer it into place. From there, grab your screw and drill it into place within the anchor. Repeat for as many holes as you need to hang your work of art.

Step 6: Clean up

Once you’ve drilled all of your holes, it’s important to clean up your mess (simply dusting or sweeping up the concrete will do).

Step 7: Hang your art

Voilá! You’re done! Hang your work of art and sit back and admire how chic it looks on your industrial-style walls.

Hanging stuff on a cement wall is simple with the right supplies. Brick hooks and Command Strips make the job as easy as hanging stuff on drywall. If you are hanging something that isn’t too heavy, Command Strips may work best. If you have something like a heavy mirror or piece of art, use brick hooks.

Also, how do you hang things on a concrete wall without drilling holes? Hardwall hangers are picture hooks intended specifically for difficult surfaces like concrete block and brick walls. The plastic hook attaches to the wall with small metal nails that pound into the wall surface with a hammer.

Also, how do you hang things on a concrete wall?

Method 1Applying Adhesive Hooks

  1. Choose adhesive hooks for objects up to 8 pounds (3.6 kg).
  2. Clean the wall with rubbing alcohol for a better hold.
  3. Make a small pencil mark where you want the center of your hook to be.
  4. Remove the liner from the adhesive strip and affix it to the back of the hook.

What kind of tape will stick to concrete walls?

Seam tape is used to put up vapor barriers on concrete walls. It is a tough tape designed for long-term adherence. Even if you are not using vapor barriers and are trying to attach objects to individual blocks instead of an entire wall, seam tape is still a good bet for strong adherence.

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  • How to Anchor Railings in Brick
  • How to Make a Staghorn Fern Hanger
  • How To Attach a Window Box Without Drilling Holes on a Vinyl Sided Townhouse?
  • How to Hang Heavy Plants From Eaves
  • How to Construct a Plywood Shed Door

HardiePlank is a type of lap siding that contains cement fibers, making it extremely durable. It can be cut and drilled like wood, but you’ll need to use a masonry bit to drill this tough board. Lightweight items, such as a soilless hanging basket weighing less than one pound, can be attached anywhere on the siding. For heavier items, like hanging baskets containing soil and plants, you need to use a stud finder to make sure to attach it to a stud, or the weight will pull the screws out of the Hardie board, dropping your baskets to the ground.

Make baskets lighter by placing a 2- to 3-inch layer of styrofoam in the bottom, reducing the amount of soil needed. Choose lightweight plastic containers instead of heavier pottery.

Hang baskets at a height that will complement the plant types in them. For baskets with trailing plants, hang above eye level. Hang baskets with tall plants in the center and shorter plants near the edge at or below eye level.

Select where you want to hang your basket. Locate a stud behind the Hardie plank using a stud finder. Mark the stud location at the height you wish to install the bracket. James Hardie Building Products recommends keeping nails or screws at least 3/8 inch from the end of a plank.

Measure the diameter of the basket you intend to hang. Divide the diameter in two and add 3 inches to the result. Use a hanging basket bracket at least this long, so the basket will hang vertically and not against the siding.

Place the bracket on the Hardie plank at the marked location. Adjust it to the desired height. Mark the hole locations on the Hardie plank. Remove the bracket and set aside.

Don safety glasses, gloves and ear plugs.

Drill pilot holes, at each mark, one-quarter to one-half inch deep, to make it easier to insert screws and prevent cracking the siding.

Align the bracket holes with the pilot holes in the siding. Insert the screws and tighten securely using a drill with screwdriver bit attached.

How to hang things on a cement wall

Classroom teachers across the country are often faced with decorating restrictions due to fire codes and school rules. For years, they have also tried to figure out how to hang stuff on cinder block walls in the classroom. That can present quite the challenge when a teacher is trying to create a welcoming and inspiring environment for their students complete with posters, signs, artwork and other displays. After all, it can be a little dreary to stare at blank cinder block walls day in and day out.

Fortunately, there are some great strategies for adhering posters, signs, banners, student artwork and other items to the walls in your classroom. The following cinder block walls decorating tips should work, individually or in combination, for just about any wall. Try them out and your classroom will be decorated in no time!

Tip #1: Hot Glue Gun

A low-temperature hot glue gun is a great tool for getting posters, banners, trimmers and other classroom decorations to stick to the cinder block walls. At the end of the year, the glue pulls off easily from the wall and does not do any damage.* Simply peel the glue back slowly from the wall when you want to take something down. A sturdy scraping tool, like a thin edge of a ruler, can help if the glue doesn’t come off easily.

Always use caution and only use the hot glue gun when students are gone for the day. Make sure to unplug it after you’re done using it too!

*If the paint on your classroom walls is old and flaking, there is a chance that the glue could peel some of the paint off when it is removed. Test in a small, inconspicuous spot before decorating the whole classroom!

Tip #2: Sticky or Blu Tack

Remember that blue, sticky putty that you saw fleetingly during teacher training? That was Sticky or Blu Tack. It is a reusable, synthetic rubber compound that can be stretched and manipulated to just the shape you need. While it traditionally comes in blue, the blue coloring can leave a bit of a residue (especially if you use a generic brand) so you may want to try the white depending on the color of your classroom.

The great thing about Sticky or Blu Tack is that it’s so easy to use. Even just a small dot of the putty is fairly strong, so a little goes a long way. If you use laminated classroom posters or signs, the putty will easily come off so you can rehang them in the future.

How to hang things on a cement wall

Tip #3: Stikki-Clips

Stikki-Clips were specially designed to adhere to any surface, so they’re perfect for decorating cinder block walls. They make switching out anchor charts, classroom posters and students’ work throughout the year a breeze. The unique adhesive is even good for painted surfaces, and the clips can be re-used again and again. Stock up on a few packs over the summer and you should be set for the whole school year.

Tip #4: Display Strips How to hang things on a cement wall

Self-sticking display strips like “Cling Thing Display Strips” are removable strips that adhere to walls, doors, metal, plastic, cinder block walls and more. They allow you to display posters, anchor charts, student work, alphabet and number lines and other classroom essentials with ease. Some of them can even regain their stickiness with a light spritz of water! At the end of the year, they peel off without damaging the paint or surface behind them.

What are your favorite tips for getting things to stick to your classroom’s cinder block walls?

By Brandi Jordan

This piece was originally published in 2018.

How to hang things on a cement wall

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You can hang almost any cabinet on cinder-block walls using concrete inserts. This is actually easier than hanging on stud walls, because you don’t need to locate and hit studs. However, without the wood of a stud to bite into and hold the bolts, the cabinets could pull right out of the wall. With a concrete insert, a malleable metal anchor, the cabinet holds to the wall securely and permanently.

Measure and select the location for the cabinet. Draw a line on the wall that indicates the bottom of the cabinet. Measure from the floor to the mark. Cut two, 2-by-4 props at the measurement using a miter saw.

Pick up the cabinet using the help of an assistant. Place the cabinet on the wall using the props and the assistant to hold it place. Trace around the cabinet while the assistant is holding it in place.

Drill four holes in the cabinet 1 inch from each corner diagonally. Drill all the way through the back of the cabinet penetrating into the cinder-block wall to a depth of 2 inches. Use a drill/driver and a 1/4-inch concrete drill bit. There will be a solid 1-by-4 rail at the top of the cabinet that you are drilling through. At the bottom, there is typically a 1/4-inch hardboard back that you drill through.

Pull out the props and lower the cabinet to the floor. Hammer one 5/16-by-2-inch concrete insert into each one of the holes in the cinder block. Use a hammer to tap them in flush with the wall.

Pick up the cabinet — use the assistant — and place the props under it. Align it with the tracing on the wall. Hold the cabinet against the wall using the assistant.

Place 1/4-by-3-inch lag bolts with washers in the holes at the top of the cabinet. Place 1/4-by-2-inch lag bolts with washers in the holes at the bottom of the cabinet. Drive the screws through the back of the cabinet, into the inserts using a 3/8-inch socket and ratchet. Drive them in tight and snug to secure the cabinet to the cinder block wall. Remove the props.

  • Place a piece of tape on the drill bit to indicate your depth when drilling the holes for the inserts. If you can’t hit the inserts with the lag bolts, bump the cabinet slightly from side to side until the holes line up with the inserts.
  • If the cabinet is over 24 inches in width, use three or more concrete inserts, spacing them every 18 inches.

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.