Submitted by zeurydice t3_z1tn9k in DIY

I'm trying to mount a pot rack on the wall in my kitchen, but I can't figure out what the wall is made of in order to mount it properly.

I live in an apartment in New York. The building was built in the 60s, but the kitchen was converted to a semi-open concept at some unknown time after that, and this wall may have been modified at that time.

I used a stud finder and found what seemed to be studs with the expected 16" between them, but when I drilled into one of them, I seemed to hit some kind of masonry. And when I drilled in between the "studs" (because of where the mounting holes on the rack are), under the drywall seemed to be...more drywall? This is the part that perplexed me. There was clearly some sort of gypsum-like material, based on the dust that was coming out (see image). Is hanging drywall on top of more drywall "a thing"?

For what it's worth, the wall is only about three inches thick. Anybody have an educated guess as to what the wall is made of or how to mount to it? I was thinking of just sticking a lag shield into it and using the lag screws that came with the pot rack.



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DogRiverRoad t1_ixcq5n5 wrote

It is likely just a masonry wall. Impossible to tell from the photo. Just use an appropriate wall anchor. Always be careful when drilling holes in walls, if you do not know where your services be extra cautious. Hitting plumbing or electrical will ruin your day/week.


zeurydice OP t1_ixcsr7y wrote

Thanks. What would be an appropriate anchor? Ordinarily for masonry I would use something like Tapcon screws, but this seems like it might be too brittle. Do you think the lag screw + lag shield approach would be appropriate?


bobbertmiller t1_ixcuhou wrote

Are expanding plastic wall anchor ls not a thing in the us? This is my go-to for everything, everywhere.


SnakeJG t1_ixcvxo4 wrote

Wow, that is an impressive universal wall anchor.


dsac t1_ixcxib7 wrote

yeah, most of the ones i see are just plain-jane, that one's pinky-extending fancy


Migacz112 t1_ixd27op wrote

Fischer is the shit when it comes to wall anchors


ride_whenever t1_ixe33jr wrote

Fuck yeah, we got some of their epoxy wall anchors, that stuff is INSANE


Z-W-A-N-D t1_ixdxtae wrote

I love them. €10 for a pack of 50, usable in nearly every kind of wall. My go to.


zeurydice OP t1_ixd2zta wrote

These are really cool. We of course have plastic wall anchors here, but I've never seen a fancy multi-use anchor like this. I'm wary about how much weight it would hold, though, especially since the Amazon listing doesn't seem to claim anything in that regard.


calcium t1_ixd8zu7 wrote

I did some digging on the manufacturers website and for their metric products I found the following PDF that calls out their strength in kN of holding for various surfaces:

A quarter inch is 6.35mm, so if you’re using say a 6x30 in gypsum fiberboard it would have a holding of 0.33kN or about 75lbs, which is generally what you’d expect from a plastic toggle.


Samothrace_ t1_ixdb0zl wrote

There are tons of options at At Home Depot or Lowes. They usually have the maximum sheer load displayed on the packaging.


taizzle71 t1_ixdo2ui wrote

I used to Install tvs on walls and use these masonry anchors all the time. Actually it comes with the tv mount. Not sure of the exact strength of these but after screwing in 4 we can hang on it no problem.


bobbertmiller t1_ixdkbuj wrote

I was just linking the German stuff because I didn't know what's common where you live. I really like Fischer and have used them exclusively now (and they are easy to come by, me being in Germany).

/u/calcium has linked the chart already, but for gyspum board you're basically limited by the material. I'd use a 6x30 or 6x50 for a single sheet. I prefer more holes to bigger ones in Gypsum, because you need to spread the load.

If you have a solid wall, even a shitty porous one (had old, loose, sandstone once) you want a long dowel so the load is as far INSIDE the material as possible. That way, you won't blow out the surface. Sometimes you have to lock the dowel in position, so it doesn't rotate before it starts expanding.


Z-W-A-N-D t1_ixdxhl7 wrote

I am currently using identical anchors of 8mm for a wall TV mount. I'm a furniture/cabinet maker and I have also worked as a carpenters helper for a long time. I usually test stuff like this so I just hung on the extended arm for a bit. Didn't move a bit. Used 3 of those plugs. They're great. I used them in a brick wall btw.


Z-W-A-N-D t1_ixdzreq wrote

Also, I have these in 10mm diameter, I think they're 45mm long and they hold 215kg in concrete, 145 in brick, 25kg in hollow bricks, 20kg in bubble concrete and 15kg in gypsum boards.


LateralThinkerer t1_ixcwval wrote

I seem to have a vast assortment of anchors for different applications (toggle-bolts/drywall "snap-skru"s/expansions/grip-fast etc. etc.). Do these Fischers really do all of them that well?


NotElizaHenry t1_ixd2s4w wrote

I feel like you only need-need specialty anchors when you’re hanging something suuuper heavy (cabinets, huge mirror) and the rest of the time you can get away with these red and grey guys. They’re what I use for all sorts of things and I’ve never had a problem.


Fever_Raygun t1_ixd5vau wrote

Generally yes but for non-standard thickness walls they don’t work quite as well as a Molly/toggle


DogRiverRoad t1_ixd1dt5 wrote

This is what you want to use. Or something like it.


kuncol02 t1_ixd3cqb wrote

No. That is what you want to use and only that. They are so much better than normal plastic wall anchors that it's not even competition.

Maybe not in drywall. I feel like there you would be better with more specialized stuff.


DogRiverRoad t1_ixd5rlu wrote

Its a compressive hollow wall anchor. There is nothing exactly special about it. There are many wall anchors with similar or superior performance. I agree that there are wall anchors that are much worse, but that does not mean the a duopower anchor is the only acceptable one to use.


bobbertmiller t1_ixdhtp7 wrote

It's really a multi purpose anchor. It'll expand differently, depending on the cavities. It can either just spread in a solid wall or it can bunch up in a cavity.


AchillesDev t1_ixd4cck wrote

Those don't seem like they're made for plaster and lath construction, though.


Raul_McCai t1_ixdu54v wrote

> Are expanding plastic wall anchor ls not a thing in the us? For a pot Rack? That'd be a big error


parkscon t1_ixe0krc wrote

These are the only wall plugs I use now. I never use the ones supplied with anything.


Raul_McCai t1_ixdu21r wrote

> What would be an appropriate anchor? Depends on the weight of the final pot racks pots and all.


GreenMonster81 t1_ixel2d6 wrote

I hope someone gave you a masonry anchor based on weight. The item you’re hanging will determine it.


internetlad t1_ixdvhh5 wrote

"hey I don't know what I should do"

"Just use the right stuff and don't fuck it up of course."


zapatoada t1_ixet4sp wrote

If it's a masonry wall, I'd personally do tapcons. Maybe overkill, but better safe than sorry. Regardless, anything that goes into the masonry should also go through the furring strips so the drywall is supported.


TootsNYC t1_ixfv4pd wrote

I once used a stud finder on the wall of my NYC apartment and found what I thought was a stud. It was above and just off to the side of the outlet, so that made sense to me.

I drilled into it, and it stopped the drill bit. I probed around with a nail and realized that whatever I hit was cylindrical; the nail would slide off around a curve.

It was the conduit for the electrical.

There are no studs in that wall. It's all masonry/plaster brick.

u/zeurydice, I used a hammer drill and Tapcon drill bit and Tapcon screws to mount the shelf standards.


1feralengineer t1_ixcqrnd wrote

Hanging drywall on drywall definitely used to be a thing (as sound deadening between apartments). But if you know the thickness of this wall, then it sounds like an interior wall. Still, they may have used double drywall as the way to build thickness because they were working around existing architecture limitations.

What is on the other side of the wall? And do you own it or rent it?


zeurydice OP t1_ixcrphr wrote

Thanks. Yes, it's an interior wall with another room on the other side. And I own the place—would not be drilling holes this big in a rental!


1feralengineer t1_ixcxg9a wrote

If you don't mind making extra holes you can explore what anchor will work the best. Or you can drill all the way through and create a block on the other side of the wall


gt272727 t1_ixdq8jz wrote

NYC handyman here. Is it a building like you see in StuyTown? If yes, in the 60s for internal walls they often used wire mesh lathe secured on timber studwalls then sprayed concrete on them and then the walls were smoothed with a layer of plaster. Stud finders are kinda useless on this type of construction. 3" walls are not uncommon in these types of apartments. The plastic expansion anchors work fine for lighter items or togglebolts are a better option for heavier items.

On walls between apartments they used cinder block and a thim layer of plaster over the top.


zeurydice OP t1_ixdsl6n wrote

I'm not in StuyTown, but your description checks out as possibly what's going on here, maybe with a newer layer of drywall slapped on top. Thanks.


Refreshingpudding t1_ixe2eai wrote

That explains so much. I ran into an interior that was really hard to drill into, and it had metal all over the place


Young-Grandpa t1_ixcyzsd wrote

Another reason to hang drywall over drywall is if the original is so banged up or textured you just don’t want to deal with it so you hang a thin sheet over to create a smooth surface. Perhaps not the recommended method but it’s fast and cheap which makes it attractive to remodelers.


latrion t1_ixd29jf wrote

As someone who used to own a drywall business, fuck quarter inch drywall.

The stuff is so easy to break it's crazy. I've never had it delivered with all 4 corners still intact. Almost made it one time, but a hunningbird farted outside as they were carrying it in and shattered the bottom corner.

Then you have to use longer than normal screws.. ugh

That said, this is spot on. Other than dealing with nail pops from over sinking screws it's a quick ish smooth surface. And unfortunate a common way to cover damaged drywall.

I miss drywall sometimes. But I just had my 2nd spinal fusion, so no more hanging or finishing for me :/


shartoberfest t1_ixfkk6c wrote

The previous owner of my home used 1/4" for the closet and it's basically cardboard. I can hear everything from the other room.


latrion t1_ixhapji wrote

Yeah it's so thin that the only real use this for covering already done walls. It's incredibly easy to break.

I was only partially exaggerating about the corners always being broken. They ship it bundle together with three other sheets rather than two like the other thicknesses.


PlentyOfMoxie t1_ixd17xs wrote

Ok, so if it's only 3" thick, it's not a normal wall. If it's crumbly-masonry that's falling out then I would assume some sort of plaster & lathe, but it doesn't sound that straightforward by what you describe. You're hanging a pot-holder on it? Hold all of your pots and the holder itself in one hand; I bet it's too heavy for anything less than lag screws/ lag bolts. You're not just worried about shear-weight, you're worried about pull-force because the center of gravity is going to be ~5" out from the wall.


>I was thinking of just sticking a lag shield into it and using the lag screws that came with the pot rack.


Yeah that sounds like a plan. 3" thick wall is skinny af, so just bypass whatever weirdness Previous Homeowner did.


pookypocky t1_ixdh1ug wrote

We had a wall like that in our dining room/kitchen area. When they tore it out it turned out to be regular 2x4 studs or maybe even 2x3s, but turned sideways so the plaster was on the flat part. Strange.


lightknight7777 t1_ixcsuvh wrote

I'd be most concerned for any electric lines or pipes. But you only have a few options to choose from and that's masonry, drywall or wood (sometimes metal). Looks like you should be thinking masonry.

That's the thing about NYC. It's guess work.


AssBlasterMD t1_ixdqbq5 wrote

The gypsum "dust" could be asbestos, especially being 1960's nyc, and being a wall between units


ur_moms_scrote t1_ixde7te wrote

You cannot safely mount something as heavy as a pot rack to a wall of unknown construction. If it’s really only 3” thick it’s certainly non standard construction, by todays standards at least. The only time I’ve seen walls that thin (~2”) they were plaster with steel angle in the middle. Essentially just enough structure to support the plaster and that’s it. The safe thing is to not mount it to that wall unless you can learn more. The other option is an expansion anchor and pray.


adventure_in_gnarnia t1_ixe4675 wrote

Yea you can. Use toggle bolts.

Most are rated over 200lbs in drywall… which is usually the worst case scenario. If it’s lathe/plaster, concrete, or other masonry they’ll hold even more. Just need to be able to punch thru to open space behind the wall.


ur_moms_scrote t1_ixe73z2 wrote

Its not what the anchor can hold, it’s about all the assumptions everyone is making about the construction of the wall itself. OP says it’s 3” thick and has potentially 2 layers of drywall on one side. OP also hasn’t been able to definitively identify framing/structure or anything really. It will probably be fine but no one here has enough info to say for sure. There is lots of janky shit out there in the world of older construction and DIY.


adventure_in_gnarnia t1_ixe81lw wrote

Toggle bolts rely on the strength of the parent material, not the anchor itself. Doubled drywall should be even stronger. The wall basically has to buckle around the anchor to fail. I’ve hung a large TV on articulated arms (think lever arm on bolts), in a 100 year old lathe-and-plaster construction house with four toggle bolts, and no stud mounts. A pot holder should be fine.

What’s the worst that can happen, OP has to patch a wall? … it’s not like a potholder is gonna bring down the ceiling


ur_moms_scrote t1_ixea5sg wrote

I understand how toggle bolts work, lathe and plaster is also generally significantly stronger than drywall. All I’m saying is this wall is suspiciously thin and op can’t even find framing in it. I’ve seen “walls” where the top and bottom plates were fit with friction. Like I said, it’s probably fine but I certainly have questions.


Urabigk_Hunt t1_ixd68hp wrote

Is it plaster over wood? Typically here in Missouri, everything was plaster with a fibrous material mixed in like 100years ago and before. A threaded rod all the way through, with some sort of backing plate ie like a shelf would do the trick. Another idea is cable attached to the ceiling, depending on your pot hanger.

Oh and be careful if it has fiber mixed into it because there's a decent chance it could be asbestos. And don't worry, unless it's falling apart, inhaling the dust or eating it is the extent of the danger of having it in your home


MeshColour t1_ixdeupz wrote

>And don't worry, unless it's falling apart

What about if you're drilling into it, the twist drill pulling fibers out, being blown around by the motor fan, and breathing heavily from the effort?

But yeah, OP don't snort the dust, clean it up quickly and you'll be fine


Urabigk_Hunt t1_ixdm2ke wrote

Thank you for clarifying. Yes it is ill-advised to snort dust of any particular color or make. If drilling through lead paint, fiberglass, asbestos, or even a live electrical line for a light switch is concerning to you, then I recommend you keep the dyi to the professionals.

If I wanted to heed every 'known to cause cancer in the state of California' I would live forever.


CrashUser t1_ixe2vzc wrote

A brief one time exposure isn't anything to worry about. It's only particularly dangerous if you work around it routinely. Wear a dust mask, and clean up good afterwards and you'll be fine.


thuuya t1_ixduj8h wrote

Drill a small pilot hole and find out.

Or just balls to the wall and stick a toggle anchor in there.

Or do it the right way and hang drywall on top of the existing wall, then toggle.

You could also get a sheet of wood to span studs and create your own backing.


CaliMassNC t1_ixd0oc3 wrote

Get a couple of long toggle bolts and you should be fine if you can drill through into a dead space.


MrMonopolysBrokeSon t1_ixd6ols wrote

The 1960s was a transitional time for drywall, maybe you've got rock lath under drywall?

I second other's recommendations for toggle bolts or similar anchors if you can drill far enough to find the cavity. But if the overall wall thickness is only 3" that cavity might not be very deep - could be framed using 2x2 nominal lumber


earthman34 t1_ixe4a39 wrote

Your "studs" are probably furring strips over plaster and brick. You can probably set anchors in the brick, but the screws will be long.


Yyir t1_ixeje3l wrote

Take off the skirting (base) board. You can see the stud spacing behind it, make holes etc with no concerns as you can put it back over at the end once you've check around.


emmettiow t1_ixf2507 wrote

Just drill a hole put a plastic wall plug in and put a screw in. You can hang a tv on a couple of wall plugs, your pots will be fine. Worst case scenario, you use a loads of wall plugs to mount a sheet of wood and screw your shelf to the wood.


SnowDin556 t1_ixd62gc wrote

Step 1 google wall type… or pilot drill


Azozel t1_ixd81gh wrote

Doubling up drywall is a known way to reduce noise transmission. Could be they were just being lazy and put drywall on top of drywall but could also be they wanted to reduce the noise from and to the neighbors.


Your_Daddy_ t1_ixd9ipi wrote

If its bricks or concrete - use lag sleeves w/ lag bolts

If its drywall - use toggle bolts

If its studs - use lag bolts


rdmaye t1_ixdfvzt wrote

What about drilling all the way through and bolting it?


Iwanttobealion-tamer t1_ixdgiju wrote

Make sure you clean up your dust, one reason to put drywall over drywall is if the 1st layer had lead paint and it's too expensive to remove.


crilen t1_ixdn4j9 wrote

Any studs behind it?


ScenicART t1_ixdo5wc wrote

I'm also in a NYC apartment. i dont even bother with plastic expansion anchors and use these ive hit everything from cheap gypsum board to plaster and metal lathe. these seem to do the trick almost every time. for masonry use the zinc planted expansion anchors. theres been a few times where i cant find a stud and the drywall /plaster is of such shit quality nothing sticks. i patch these walls up and go ground supported for those areas.


ScenicART t1_ixdohro wrote

to Add i think NYC fire code dictates double gypsum board to hit a minimum thickness for retardancy. could be wrong but thats why youll sometimes hit two layers of drywall.


anyheck t1_ixedsy6 wrote

Others have addressed exploring the construction. I'd like to point out this informative video on hanging things from different wall materials once you figure out the construction.


frenix5 t1_ixegoii wrote

I use zinc drywall anchors for drywall, and load up to what I feel is appropriate.

I discovered my pantry was built with no studs when redoing the shelving and used these to insert wooden shelves that I would feel comfortable sitting on.


bobbywaz t1_ixf204d wrote

You have lathe and plastic under your drywall


maifault t1_ixfh7rg wrote

Togglers may be a good option. I use them all the time to hang where I can't find a stud or backing.


lightguru t1_ixfhk0o wrote

Get an inspection camera, they are dirt cheap on Amazon, and you can link it to your phone and see exactly what's inside the wall. I've got one that jacks in via USB, but there are Bluetooth ones nowadays, something like this :


TxHerrmann t1_ixg00uf wrote

The most efficient way to test it is by trial and error.


Professional_Bell488 t1_ixkeq8j wrote

We've been using zip toggles to hang 50" tvs. Seem to work well with different wall thicknesses and easier than regular butterfly toggle set ups.


howard416 t1_ixm46cn wrote

1960s? Asbestos WARNING


bsudda t1_ixex2ke wrote

I think toggle bolts would be your best bet here.


Remote-Pain t1_ixcrlb5 wrote

I'd ask the landlord


zeurydice OP t1_ixcsg2e wrote

I own the place. Doubt the super or coop board would know.


Fever_Raygun t1_ixd71es wrote

Actually in NYC they should have architectural plans on hand. My guess too is probably drywall over plasterboard. Especially if it was built in the 60’s. Can’t really be certain, but if you’re using a standard drill bit you are not getting into masonry.

If your pot rack is holding three thin pots or pans you’d be fine with a toggle wing anchor. If you’re hanging your le Creuset collection you are going to have a bad time without lag screws.

In general, if this pot holder has a lot of screws well spaced out? Toggle wings. If they are hanging from a single or close point? You must use lags or something with real structural power.

Are you willing to post more pictures? That’s the only directional advice I can give without seeing the fixture and conditions.


Can-DontAttitude t1_ixdnvy2 wrote

It costs you $0 to ask, and you could potentially learn something very helpful. Definitely give it a go


Remote-Pain t1_ixdc8rb wrote

I see, sry I read apartment and thought landlord :P Other than the stud finder, i really don't know about the wall, good luck!


Raul_McCai t1_ixdtxwo wrote

Maybe get a better stud finder I use a neodimium iron boron magnet; a big one. It finds the sheetrock screws.


RareAnimal82 t1_ixdzb6y wrote

If there are cabinets below id start peeling layers below them until I found the neighbors