If you have ever lived in a home with plaster walls, you will appreciate the challengers that these types of walls can present. Plaster walls are much different than the drywall you will find in most new homes. If you want to hang a picture on plaster walls, there are a few techniques you should become familiar with in order to be successful. This article covers best practices for hanging pictures on plaster walls.

Your first instinct may be to grab a nail and use a hammer to bang it into your wall. This method will likely not work with plaster walls, and if it does, you will likely see the repercussions of this action. Plaster walls cannot be nailed into with a hammer. You will probably bend or break the nail, and if nothing else you will probably chip away pieces of plaster. It is also possible to create cracks in the plaster that sprawl outwards from the point of the nail impact.

Luckily, there are some easy methods that you can take advantage of to ensure that your pictures get hung and your walls are not damaged in the process. All you need are a few common household supplies to get started.

What you will need:

  • Masking tape

  • Screw

  • Drill

  • Drill bit slightly smaller than the size of your screw

  • Screwdriver

Measure out exactly where you want your picture to hang and mark it with pencil. Over the spot you will need to lay a piece of masking tape where you plan to put the nail in. Plaster walls will break away in chunks as you break into the layers so the masking tape serves as support to keep the wall together as the nail pressure breaks through.

Using a nail on a plaster walls can be successful for small items, but it is more practical to use screws as they are much more reliable. To get a screw in your plaster wall without causing any damage, you should use a power drill to create a pilot hole in the desired location. Make sure that you apply your masking tape to the location before you create your pilot hole.

Once you have created your pilot hole you should be able to manually get your screw started with a hand screwdriver. Once you have a few turns in place and the screw is able to stay in the wall on its own you can use the power drill to push it in as far as you need it to go.

Always remember that plaster walls are very different than drywall and it is important for homeowners to be more careful when trying to hang photos or paintings. Screws definitely put a great deal less stress on the plaster during the installation. For very light weight items you may want to avoid creating a hole in your wall all together. This can easily be accomplished by using adhesive hangers as an alternative.