How to Hang Heavy Art on Lath & Plaster Walls

Written by casey kennedy
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How to Hang Heavy Art on Lath & Plaster Walls
Pre-drilling a pilot hole is the key to preventing damage to lath and plaster walls. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Until the late 1950s, most homes had lath-and-plaster walls instead of the simpler sheets of drywall that are common in most newly constructed houses. The lath-and-plaster method involved nailing small wooden strips of cedar -- the lath -- onto a 2 x 4 frame and then covering that with one to three layers of plaster to create a strong, solid wall. Displaying heavy pieces of art on these walls can cause damage to the plaster if you hang the artwork incorrectly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Drill bit
  • Cordless drill
  • Wood screw
  • Wall anchor
  • Hammer
  • Nail

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  1. 1

    Use a stud finder to locate the stud in the wall. Mark the area where you locate the stud. This is the best spot to hang the artwork, because the nail or screw you use will be embedded into the wood of the stud. If you cannot use or locate the stud, you can use a wall anchor to hang the artwork instead.

  2. 2

    Select a drill bit for your cordless drill that is slightly smaller than the nail or screw you plan to use for hanging the artwork.

  3. 3

    Use the cordless drill to drill a hole that matches the approximate angle of how you will insert the nail or screw into the wall. This is called a pilot hole.

  4. 4

    Insert a wood screw into the pilot hole, and screw it in following the angle of the hole. If you are using a wall anchor, insert it into the wall at the same angle according to the manufacturer's directions. Then hammer the nail into the wall anchor, using the same angle as the installed wall anchor.

Tips and warnings

  • If your artwork is very large or heavy, hang it from two nails or screws.

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