How do you drill a screw into the wall?

How do you drill a screw into the wall? - Fix It Cape Town

Are you looking to hang up some artwork or shelves but feeling unsure about drilling screws into your walls? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people are hesitant to drill into their walls, fearing that they may cause damage or make a mistake. However, with a little knowledge and the right tools, you can confidently tackle this task. In this article, we will guide you through the process of drilling screws into walls, providing you with tips, techniques, and answers to commonly asked questions.

Why do you need to drill screws into walls?

Before we delve into how to drill screws into walls, let’s discuss why it’s necessary in the first place. When you want to hang heavy objects like shelves or artworks, or even mount a TV on the wall, using screws is the most secure method. Screws provide stability and ensure that your objects stay firmly in place. They are also more durable than alternatives like adhesive hooks or nails.

Tools and materials you’ll need

To successfully drill screws into your walls, you’ll need a few essential tools and materials:

  1. Drill: A power drill with a suitable drill bit is essential for creating holes in your wall.
  2. Screws: Choose the right type and size of screws based on the weight of the object you’re hanging.
  3. Wall anchor: If you’re not drilling into a stud, you’ll need a wall anchor to provide extra support for the screw.
  4. Level: This tool will ensure that your artwork or shelves hang straight.
  5. Measuring tape: Use a measuring tape to mark the precise locations for drilling.
  6. Pencil: Mark the spots for drilling on your wall using a pencil for easy visibility.

Step-by-step guide to drilling screws into walls

Follow these steps for successful and hassle-free screw drilling:

  1. Locate the stud: Use a stud finder, a small handheld device that detects studs behind the wall, to locate the wooden beams where you can directly drill your screws. This method provides the most secure attachment for heavy objects.
  2. Mark the drilling spots: Once you’ve identified the studs, mark the desired height and position for your object using a pencil and measuring tape. Ensure the markings are level.
  3. Choose the right drill bit: Select a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of your screws. This will ensure a snug fit and prevent the hole from being too large.
  4. Drill pilot holes: To make it easier for the screws to go in, drill pilot holes at the marked spots using the chosen drill bit. Make sure your drill is set to the correct rotation direction.
  5. Insert the wall anchors: If you’re not drilling into a stud, tap a wall anchor into each pilot hole until it is flush with the wall surface. Anchors offer additional support for screw attachment.
  6. Attach the object: Finally, screw in the screws carefully into the pilot holes or wall anchors using a screwdriver or drill. Ensure that they are tightened securely and level with the wall.

Tips and techniques for successful screw drilling

To ensure a seamless drilling experience, follow these additional tips and techniques:

  • Choose the right screws: Select screws based on the weight of your object. Heavier objects require thicker and longer screws for better support.
  • Use appropriate wall anchors: If you’re not drilling into a stud, wall anchors are essential. Plastic anchors are suitable for light to medium loads, while metal anchors are recommended for heavier objects.
  • Prevent wall damage: Before drilling, remove any coverings such as wallpaper or paint to avoid damaging the surface. Also, apply light pressure to minimize wall vibrations during drilling.
  • Drill at a slight angle: If you’re drilling into a stud, drill at a slight upward angle to prevent the screw from slipping down over time.
  • Practice caution: Always wear safety goggles when drilling, as small debris can fly around and cause eye injuries.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I drill screws into any part of the wall?

A: No, you must drill into studs or use wall anchors for support. Drilling into drywall without additional support could lead to damage or objects falling off the wall.

Q: How do I know if I hit a stud?

A: Use a stud finder to detect studs behind your wall. These devices typically emit a beep or flash a light when they detect the wooden beams.

Q: What are the different types of wall anchors?

A: Plastic anchors, toggle bolts, and expansion anchors are some common types. Plastic anchors are suitable for most lightweight objects, while toggle bolts and expansion anchors provide extra support for heavier loads.

Q: How far apart should I space my screws?

A: Generally, screws should be spaced about 16 to 24 inches apart to ensure stability.

Q: Can I reuse pilot holes?

A: It is best to avoid reusing pilot holes, as they may become enlarged or damaged over time. Instead, create new pilot holes if needed.


Drilling screws into walls may initially seem daunting, but with the right tools and technique, it’s a straightforward process. By following the step-by-step guide provided, as well as the tips, you’ll successfully hang your artwork, shelves, or other objects securely and with ease. Remember, it’s essential to locate studs or use wall anchors for proper support, preventing damage to your walls and ensuring the longevity of your mounted objects. So go ahead with confidence and transform your living space with your favorite decor!

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