INSTALLATION OF DRYWALL ANCHORS (SCREW ANCHORS)
Drywall is called different things in different places around the country. Gyp board, gypsum wall board, drywall or sheetrock are all pretty much synonymous. The term ‘drywall’ was originally a distinction made between it and plaster -which is applied wet.
Plaster is found in older homes -roughly pre-1950s and some more expensive homes after that. Plaster is pretty much phased out as being too expensive. The high cost of plaster installation is driven almost entirely by the labor intensity of the construction/application process. Plastering is a trowel trade and in addition, the skills of the lathers are required as part of the construction of a plaster wall. The wire lath must be installed for the plaster to adhere to. The first (rough) coat of plaster is then applied, followed by the finish coat.
The plaster is mixed in a mixing machine, not unlike the cement mixers used to mix mortar (for brick and CMU*), and needs to be transported by wheelbarrow to the location. As you can see, a whole gang of people are required to effect the construction of plaster walls. *What we once called ‘cement blocks’ are termed CMU by architects, meaning ‘concrete masonry unit.’
I worked on a new wing of a nursing home in 1967 that was designed with plaster walls. That’s the last plaster job I saw. One of our own homes, a brick ranch-style house, built around 1954 had plaster walls. Someone had some money to spend there, apparently, and opted for plaster. Prior to that we had a home built in 1898 and one built in 1902, which had plaster walls. There was no drywall back then. Most houses built in the 1950s, and since then, are built using drywall because it is cheaper/quicker and seems to be the defacto standard.
ANCHORING SCREWS IN PLASTER OR DRYWALL (SHEETROCK) WALLS
These anchors provide a strong point to hang something from. Please note that as the name would imply, these drywall anchors are made for walls -generally 3/8″, 1/2″ or 5/8″ sheetrock thickness.
The ‘self-drilling’ type are the most convenient, in my estimation. Other types are the ‘molly’ (expanding or, mushrooming type) and the toggle bolt. All accomplish the same task -to attach something to a hollow sheet rock wall where no stud is available. These sheetrock wall anchors (depending, of course, on the load) are not considered safe for use in ceilings, although I have used them for attaching lightweight fluorescent lighting to ceilings.
REMOVING DRYWALL ANCHORS
The drywall anchors described above are removed as easily as they went in. Hollow wall anchors (Molly or Toggle bolts) are removable -but, doing so will leave the ‘back-piece’ inside the wall -which is OK but, you will not be able to re-use it.
All types of anchors will leave a hole that will need to be filled. Not that it’s a big deal. A little spackle and a broadknife will fix it up in no time. Holes or gouges in drywall or plaster are easily repaired in that manner and is one of those Home Maintenance activities that you can easily accomplish yourself, if you like to do-it-yourself.
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