How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold with or Without Studs?

Drywall is one of the most versatile building materials in your home. It can be used for interior walls, exterior walls, ceilings, and roofs. But how much weight can it hold?

The answer to that question will depend on a variety of factors such as the type of drywall being used and which material you are hanging from the drywall.

The thickness and quality of the drywall also make a difference in its ability to withstand the weight.

Generally speaking though, standard 1/2 inch thick sheets should be able to handle up to 100 pounds before they start showing signs of damage or give out completely.

In this blog post, we’ll share with you all the details on the weight holding capacity of drywall. Keep reading!

how much weight can drywall hold without studs

Factors Behind Varying Load Capacity of Drywall

Before we dive into the direct answers, it’s necessary to break down the factors that contribute to the weight capacity of drywall-

Stud vs Hollow Drywall

Drywall is done with studs or joists (vertical supports) that run perpendicular to the wall.

If you are hanging something on hollow drywall, its capacity will be a lot lesser than hanging something on the stud. It’s because studs are wooden structures standing still with much more strength than that of drywall sheets.

using right anchors on hollow drywall to hold weight
Source: quora.com

Nail, Screws, and Drywall Anchors

The type of anchors, nails, or screws used in hanging the materials can also affect weight capacity.

If you are hanging something heavy on the wall, you’ll require stronger screws while a lightweight photo frame like object can be hanged by almost any type of nail or screws.

Drywall Sheet Thickness

Drywall sheets come in various thicknesses. You’ll find sheets coming with 1/4″ to 5/8″ thickness and as usual, the thicker the sheet, the more weight capacity it will have.

So, thinner sheets won’t be able to hold many objects that you may be able to hang on a thick 5/8″ thick sheet.

Drywall Sheet Size

The size of drywall sheets differs as well. The common sizes for drywall sheets are 4 feet by 8 feet and 4 feet by 12 or 16 feet. If you are hanging anything on the wall, you’ll want a drywall sheet that’s connected with more studs so that it can evenly distribute the weight.

So, a bigger size drywall sheet has a slight edge over the smaller size sheets when it comes to holding weight.

Drywall Sheet Quality

The quality of drywall sheets is also important when it comes to determining weight capacity. Drywall sheets come with different densities or thicknesses, which means that not all drywalls are created equal.

Softer sheets will be able to hold less than harder ones because they tend to bend easier and crease much more easily.

How Much Weight Can Drywall Hold?

As you have already seen there are differences in weight holding capacity depending on the size, type, quality, thickness, and other factors of drywall.

If you are putting a nail or screw on the hollow drywall, you may be able to hang up to 10 pounds of weight by using molly bolts. That also can’t be guaranteed.

But if you are using a nail on a stud, you’ll be able to hang up to 100 pounds of weight on the drywall. That also, if the nail and the drywall anchor are strong enough to hold that much weight.

Drywall Anchor Type Plays a Crucial Role in Load Capacity

The weight capacity of an anchor is typically determined by its materials and type.

There are various types of drywall anchors that can be used to secure things on drywall. They each have their own weight capacity and some may work better in certain scenarios than others.

For example, when using a toggle bolt you’ll want to use it on top of a stud because this will allow for more load capacity and less chance for crushing.

You can also use the anchor on drywall without a stud, but you’ll only be able to hang up to 10 pounds of weight. However, if there is no stud in that area, then it may be better than nothing and will save time for other work elsewhere.

So, here is a table to demonstrate how much weight can drywall hold with anchors-

Anchor TypeCapacity
Plastic AnchorsUp to 10 Lbs.
Steel Threaded AnchorsUp to 50 Lbs.
Molly BoltsUp to 50 Lbs.
Expansion AnchorUp to 25 Lbs.
Toggle BoltsUp to 50 Lbs.

How much weight can drywall hold without anchors?

You can hang around 5 to 10 pounds of weight on drywall without using anchors. However, it is not recommended to do so as drywall may weaken over time and crack around the nail before dropping the hanging material.

different types of drywall anchors can hold different weight
Source: quora.com

Type of Hanging Device is Important for Holding Heavy Item

You’ll find many types of hanging devices for using on drywall, each of those having a different weight capacity. Check this table to find out if you can hang heavy objects on drywall-

Toggle Bolt Drywall Anchor

Toggle bolts are one of the most popular methods for attaching objects to drywall since they’re so easy to install and offer a secure hold on your project. Plus, they can hold up to 25 pounds of weight with ease.

Toggle bolts have a little toggle on them that flips up and down, which is connected to the anchor bolt that screws into both sides of the drywall. To install, you’ll need a drill with a Phillips head attachment (or something similar), some pliers, and enough toggle bolts for your project.

The first thing to do is find the place on your drywall where you want the toggle bolts. You can use a stud finding device if needed, but for most projects, it’s just easier to take measurements and make sure they’ll fit in between two studs or into an existing hole.

Expansion Anchors

These are used to hold up drywall. They are typically installed at every wall stud or joist, but they can also be strategically placed where the load is most concentrated if weight distribution needs to be balanced more evenly.

Because of their depth, you’ll easily be able to hang up to 25 pounds on an expansion anchor that’s placed on studs.

Threaded Anchors

These offer a durable, secure, and easy way to mount things on drywall.

The weight limits for threaded anchors are based on the type of anchor used in your application.

Because of the extra friction you get with these anchors, they can hold up to 50 pounds of weight when placed on studs.

Adhesive Backed Hanger

It is a type of drywall hanger that is usually used for hanging lightweight objects. They are often attached to the sheet with glue or other adhesive and they can be nailed in place on both sides, for achieving more strength.

The typical weight-bearing capacity of an Adhesive Backed Hanger depends not only on its dimensions but also on how it is glued onto the sheet of drywall and where it is located.

These hangers differ a lot in quality and can hold from 5 pounds to a whopping 50 pounds. You need to check the capacity on the product label to find out the exact number.

How To Hang a Heavy Object on Drywall?

Here are all the steps to follow to hang something on drywall-

Find the Appropriate Location

Hang the object on a level surface and measure from where it will be mounted to the desired location. This distance is known as “drop” or “overhang” and should be at least an inch in most cases, especially for heavier objects such as artwork.

Determine which type of mount you’ll need

For lightweight objects such as photos, mirrors, and picture frames use a hanging wire or command strips. Command strips are best for items you want to be able to remove easily. A hanging wire is relatively easy to install but less forgiving on weight capacities than other mounting types.

For heavier objects such as a framed mirror or an organizer, use molly bolts, threaded anchors, and other high-strength hanging options.

Find the Studs

Use a stud finder to mark where any wall studs are found before you start hanging your items on drywall so they don’t break under weight stress in the future.

Install Anchors and Screws

Use a drill bit to make pilot holes for your drywall anchors, toggle bolts, or heavy duty screws so they don’t break through the wall or drywall.

Install anchors, toggle bolts, and heavy duty screws according to the instructions on the packet/box.

Make sure you have the right type of anchors or bolts for the thickness of drywall you are using in order to avoid accidents caused by items falling off walls.

Straighten the Object and Hang it

Use a level to hang the object by measuring from the center of each nail or screw to ensure it hangs straight. Check that all objects being hung are level before tightening the screws or nails.

Check and tighten any loose items every six months to avoid accidents caused by weight stress on too heavy objects that could fall onto someone below.

Is it Safe to Hang Something on Drywall?

Yes, it can be safe to hang something on drywall, but you must make sure that the weight is not too heavy.

If you have a hanging object with less than 100 pounds of weight and are using drywall sheeting made from gypsum or calcium sulfate (the most common formulation), then there’s no need to worry. However, you must ensure that all other factors we have talked about above have met.

Can I Mount a TV on Drywall without Studs?

Drywall without studs can hold a TV but that’s not recommended. In general circumstances, you should utilize the studs to mount the TV against the drywall so that there remains no risk of fall.

It may not always be possible to mount the TV on studs. In such cases, find high-strength molly bolts or threaded expansion bolts to fasten the mounting bracket on drywall. Then, mount the TV on drywall so that it remains solidly in place.

Alternatives to Mounting a TV on Drywall:

The best way to mount your television while avoiding drywall is with the use of an articulating arm and mounting bracket, which provides you the flexibility in positioning that wall-mounted televisions need without damaging it or requiring additional materials like studs. They are also considerably less expensive than drywall mounts.

Drywall Mounts for Mounting TV:

If you want to mount your television onto the wall of a room with weight-bearing walls then it may be possible for you to use one of these products, but they can also easily crack or break if too much stress is applied.

Which drywall anchors hold the most weight?

Drywall anchors come in many shapes and sizes. If you are looking for an anchor to hold up a heavy object, it is best to use toggle bolts rather than wall plugs or screws because they will be able to support more weight.

Conclusion

The drywall weight capacity is usually determined by how strong the anchor and screw are as well as what type it is (e.g., toggle bolt vs. molly bolt).

Hanging heavy items can be tricky because there are some different types of anchors and each has their own weight limits so they vary depending on whether or not you want to use a clip-type system, a ring hanger, or something else.

We recommend using at least three sheetrock anchors with screws and tapcons to hang items over 30 pounds because they will be the strongest for this type of weight load.

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