Once you installed the newest wall anchor, you took a moment to admire your work. However, your satisfaction was short-lived. The object came crashing down within a second. What could have gone wrong?
Loose wall anchors are a huge problem. They typically loosen because the wall is too large. Although this can be because of poor installation, it happens naturally over time as well, especially if you’re dealing with heavy objects. How can you fix this?
We’ll discuss the following anchor holes fixes in this article:
- Using a larger anchor
- Resizing the hole
- Deepening the hole
- Moving the object
- Using expandable bolts
- Using filler options
- Replacing the drywall section
How to repair a wall anchor hole that’s too large – 11 solutions
Loose anchor holes are a big issue. They can cause the anchors to become wobbly over time. This might eventually cause the hanged fixture to fall on the ground and break.
Luckily, you can try one of these 11 fixes to prevent this:
1) Try a bigger wall anchor
This is perhaps the easiest fix you can try. It doesn’t cost anything unless you’re fresh out of anchors.
When the drywall hole becomes too large, the wall anchor won’t sit properly inside it. It will become wobbly and might eventually fall out completely.
If this happens, simply take out the entire thing and use a wall anchor that’s one size bigger. The new anchor should fit in perfectly, removing the wobbliness.
This method is surprisingly effective as well. The new anchor should offer sufficient structural stability, meaning you won’t have to worry about replacing it any time soon.
However, this method has one drawback. Sometimes, the hole might be too large for the current anchor and yet too small for the larger size. If this is the case, you’ll have to try another method.
2) Drill a bigger hole to accommodate the larger anchor
While you can always fill in the old hole, it can be too much work. In most cases, it will is much easier to expand an existing hole. All you need to do is use a larger drill.
We recommend doing this in several steps if you’re unsure about your target size. Remember, you can always make the hole bigger. But you can’t shrink it (unless you use a joint compound.)
Once you’re done with your task, simply put in the bigger anchor and place the screw in.
This method is perhaps the cleanest one on our list. However, you can’t use it if you’re working in a small space.
3) Drill a longer hole
Sometimes, the anchor might wobble just because it’s too shallow. It may even fall out if it doesn’t have much room to set in.
For instance, if the anchor is 4 inches long but doesn’t quite fit in, consider expanding the hole by an inch. Make sure there is still enough space left inside the wall – you wouldn’t want to drill through it!
While many sources recommend this method, it isn’t our favorite one. Although an anchor will fit better in a deeper hole, it will still wobble at the top. Thus, it will be only a matter of time before it falls out. We suggest using a different method on our list instead.
4) Move the fixture
The easiest way to fix a large anchor hole is to drill a new one. If you have enough space, you can simply seal the old hole and create a new one near it.
However, this ‘lazy’ method isn’t the best one. Drilling too many holes close to one another lowers the integrity of the drywall, making it more likely to collapse. This is especially true if you’re working with heavy objects.
5) Use a toggle bolt
A toggle bolt is a special type of wall anchor. It’s usually made of metal and features two wings that open as you set it inside a hole. Thus, it offers greater stability than plastic anchors.
Toggle bolts are the perfect options to fix wobbly plastic anchors. They typically need larger holes to fit in, meaning you only need to set them in to fix the issue.
Simply fold the wings and place the toggle bolt inside. Once the wings expand, you only need to tighten the bolt.
In terms of stability, toggle bolts are one of the best options you can use. They can hold up to 50 pounds of weight, making them ideal for heavier fixtures such as TVs.
However, they aren’t without their flaws. Since they’re made of metal, they’re typically more expensive than plastic anchors. Moreover, you must drive them completely inside the wall. Thus, you can’t use them to hang paintings and photos.
6) Use molly bolts
Molly bolts are very similar to toggle bolts. But instead of two folded wings, they feature a sleeve that expands into a tripod-like shape. This results in much better stability of the hanged objects.
Just like toggle bolts, mollies can hold much heavier weights and are much less likely to fall out of the drywall. However, they require smaller holes than toggle bolts and might thus not suit every scenario.
They’re not the cheapest either. And unlike toggle bolts, you’ll have a much harder time removing them.
7) Use a spackle or an adhesive to fill in the hole
If drilling a large hole isn’t an option, you can fix the existing one by filling it with spackle or putty.
To do so, remove the anchor and apply the filler product of your choice. Then, insert the anchor back in while the filler hasn’t set in yet. Don’t place in the screw just yet – allow the product to fully harden before you do so.
But although this method works, we don’t prefer it. The filler won’t ever match the structural integrity of the drywall, making this a very shaky option – quite literally. Use it only on light fixtures that don’t apply much stress to the anchor.
Another drawback is the price. You’ll need to buy specific products to attempt this solution.
8) Use matches or toothpicks to fill in the hole
This method also calls for an adhesive. But in this case, you’ll use either toothpicks or matches as shims.
The method is very straightforward. Simply remove the anchor and apply the filler. But this time, jam as many toothpicks inside the wall as possible before you allow the putty to cure. Once dry, cut off the edges to patch the wall.
If you’re using matches, make sure the flammable end faces outwards so you can cut it off.
Then, simply drill a new hole for your anchor.
This method works best for lightweight fixtures. Neither toothpicks nor matches provide sufficient stability. If you wish to hang heavier objects, consider using toggle bolts.
9) Use wooden dowels
Using wooden dowels is similar to using toothpicks. However, they offer much better structural support than toothpicks or matches.
The method is very similar. Just fill the hole with an adhesive and insert as many wooden dowels as you can. Once the substance hardens, drill in a new hole.
Since wooden dowels are specifically designed for this job, they can hold much greater weight. On the other hand, they cost much more.
10) Fill the hole in with a copper wire
If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can fill out the hole with a copper wire. Of course, assuming you have some on you.
Simply put some copper wire inside the hole before driving the anchor in. The wire should provide a better foothold for the anchor, resulting in better stability.
But what if the hole is too big? In that case, use as many pieces of copper wire as you need.
However, this method is more of a quick fix than anything else. Eventually, you might want to drill a larger hole or fill in the old one.
11) Replace the drywall
This should always be your last resort. If nothing else works, you might have to reinstall the drywall panel itself.
The only question is how much surface you need to remove. You’ll very rarely want to remove the entire thing. We recommend replacing just the affected area – it should be enough to make way for a new anchor without compromising its stability.
Still, you should try the other methods first. Replacing an entire drywall panel is a tedious task, not to mention a useless one. In most cases, the other method will work just fine.
Our final thoughts on fixing wobbly wall anchors
Large drywall holes can cause your anchors to wobble or even fall out. This can happen for many reasons, be it because of poor installation or an object that’s too heavy for the anchor. Whatever the case may be, you must fix this issue as soon as possible.
The easiest way to do so is to use a bigger wall anchor. If the next size doesn’t fit, you can expand the existing hole with a larger drill. This is easily one of the best methods out there.
You can alternatively use expandable anchors such as toggle bolts or molly bolts. Both offer better stability than plastic anchors. However, they are more expensive.
You can also fill in the old wall with products such as putty. While this doesn’t offer the same stability, it’s very easy to do. You can also use toothpicks or wooden dowels to improve upon this method.
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