Have you had any experience with 3M command strips?
August 18, 2010 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Have you had any experience with 3M command strips?

I've used it once and everything seemed to work fine but wanted to hear other what other people thought before I used them for anything else. I'm more concerned with them keeping the object on the wall than if it pulls the paint off.

posted by austinlee to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We've used them for a couple of things (bath towel hooks, pot holder hooks in the kitchen) for several months and they've stayed on. Humidity, warmth, and general abuse haven't phased them. On the other hand, they're on smooth surfaces (tile and the side of the fridge, respectively), so they might work better than they would on painted drywall or the like.
posted by jedicus at 7:39 PM on August 18, 2010

I've used em with mixed success. I certainly wouldn't use them with something fragile and/or glass, because sooner or later - a week, a year, whatever - the "Command" becomes "Leap off the wall and smash your precious cargo!".

For light, cheap clocks and such they are fine. I would think a zillion times before hanging semi-precious artwork of a framed photo.
posted by smoke at 7:42 PM on August 18, 2010

I've used them extensively on plasterboard, and painted brick walls. The only problem I've had with them is that heavy frames often break the plastic hooks that come with them. The command strips themselves have never failed me, other than a few minor paint chips removed when detaching them from the walls.
posted by robotot at 7:42 PM on August 18, 2010

I use them all over the place. I use the biggest jumbo hooks with two strips on both concrete and painted drywall to hold up my daypack at home and work, even when it has some amount of stuff in it (I believe they are rated for about 7 lb or so). I use their shower caddy, which stick where no suction cup shower caddy ever would. I use them for dish scrubbing utensils.

The only time I have ever been disappointed is when I once failed to follow the removal instructions precisely and a bit of plaster came off with them. Oops.
posted by grouse at 7:44 PM on August 18, 2010

I have had success with them except in bathrooms. I think that the humidity compromises the adhesive. I always add more than they recommend, as well.
posted by Ostara at 7:44 PM on August 18, 2010

I have had success with them except in bathrooms.

I believe the shower caddy strips are actually different from the regular ones.
posted by grouse at 7:45 PM on August 18, 2010

What are you trying to hold on the wall?

I've used them quite extensively -- I've only had one instance of one pulling paint off (it was a crappy paint job on top of new drywall, and I yoinked the strip way too hard). You can cut the strips, but I'd recommend leaving a bit of the tab on each one, or else you'll have no way of removing them safely.

I've had poor luck using them in a bathroom, presumably due to moisture. (Only tried this once, and just put a nail in the wall). On the other hand, I live in a super-humid region, and have never had a problem with strips out of the bathroom falling off.

That all said, be sure to push REALLY HARD when you're first applying them to the wall, and don't put weight on them for an hour or two. This is in the instructions, and actually does seem to make a difference.

I particularly like the velcro-esque picture hanging strips. These are especially handy when cut in half.
posted by schmod at 7:47 PM on August 18, 2010

I've had light framed cross-stitches and a heavy photo frame (like one of those multiple family photo thingies) hung from them for, let me think, almost 2 and a half years now. But you MUST buy the correct sizes/strips for the weight it will support. I learned the hard way that heavier stuff will pull it off the wall (still, no damage to the paint underneath).

As a renter, I swear by them. And my landlady was very impressed that I didn't just bang nails into walls instead.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 7:48 PM on August 18, 2010

The only problem I've ever had with command strips was when I tried to use them on a wall painted with latex paint. I dutifully followed the instructions on the Command Strip package, which state that one should clean the area with rubbing alcohol before applying the strip. This was when I discovered that latex paint dissolves in alcohol, and that once the finish of the paint had been disturbed in that way, the adhesive wouldn't adhere properly (i.e., it wouldn't hold the rated weight.)

I ended up mounting the hook on a nearby door instead, and thankfully the spot where I was trying to apply the hook was inconspicuous, so I don't think the rental agency noticed it when I moved out.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:00 PM on August 18, 2010

I used them extensively, made sure to follow instructions, and every single picture came crashing down weeks later. My theory is that the sun coming in through the windows on nearby walls was too warm for them and melted off the adhesive. I know many people who use them and have never had any trouble, so that's the only thing I can figure.
posted by katillathehun at 8:02 PM on August 18, 2010

I've used them all over the place. The only 2 situations when I've had trouble are (a) when they were applied during a hot, humid day (85+ degrees F, 80+% humidity) -- they lasted less than an hour once weight was applied, and (b) on very dark colors of paint, when they just didn't stick well from the get-go. I'm not sure why the dark paint matters - it wasn't latex as mentioned above, and I have friends who have had the same experience on different dark paints.
posted by vytae at 8:09 PM on August 18, 2010

Light colored paint formulations typically include air voids as a refractive element. Air voids are the cheapest way to increase the hiding power of a paint without increasing the amount of titanium dioxide pigment. One of the downsides of including air voids ("void hiding") is that the air voids can conduct contaminants into the coating (read: allow the adhesive to penetrate slightly below the surface).

Dark paints use a different formulation and benefit less from the incorporation of air voids. This may explain why light paints have better holding power with adhesive strips. Or not.

Personally, I hate these fucking "command" strips and would much rather use a nail.
posted by fake at 8:25 PM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]

I use them everywhere and have never had a problem! They make water-resistant strips now for the bathroom. Ive installed a few in my bathroom and so far all is well!

They only work on smooth surfaces. Painted flat walls are ok but a textured wall wouldn't work. If you adhere (hee!) to the weight limits specified on the package, you should be good to go!
posted by hansbrough at 8:36 PM on August 18, 2010

In my experience they are underrated for weight. I have also found that if they are left on for a long time they are more likely to take paint with them when you are removing them.

I really like the velcro-like two-piece affair they have. As far as I know those are not removable from the item being hung.
posted by KevCed at 8:44 PM on August 18, 2010

I use them quite a lot. One is holding up my fat, plush bathrobe as I type and has been for years. The plastic hook fails before the adhesive. I did have some that I used to put up cable guides that failed; those were near the floor and the paint may have been dirty. Eventually I was able to get some to stick.
posted by chairface at 8:51 PM on August 18, 2010

I use them. Only problem is pulling paint off the wall, but then the paint job was pretty bad. I like them quite a bit.
posted by fifilaru at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2010

I've used them a lot. I took some good chunks out of plasterboard walls in college dorms the first few times I used them, because I didn't yet have the knack for how to remove them. (Also because, unwisely, I used a series of them to hang a large mirror, which fell over and took the hooks - and paint - away with it.) Since then I've used them in various apartments and they've served me generally well. I find that they end up falling down sooner or later, but that may be because I tend to be less than gentle when hanging coats/bathrobes on them. It's been more hit and miss in bathrooms - they seem to fall down more often there, although I've had one in my bathroom now for several months with no sign of falling.
posted by pemberkins at 9:00 PM on August 18, 2010

We used them to hang several medium- to light-weight pictures in our breakfasty reading room place thing. They mostly fell down a few weeks later. IIRC, some of them fell from the wall and others had the frame detach from its half of the velcro.

We were unimpressed. And had to get new frames.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:02 PM on August 18, 2010

I had six fall down in a newly painted bedroom a few weeks ago (in the middle of the night..in the children's bedroom .. how fabulous). The walls are a reasonably dark orange and we had the heater turned up pretty high. They were only on for about 6 hours.

I assumed it was the heat... but now I'm wondering if it was the colour of the walls. Either way, it was an expensive exercise. The things we were hanging were only a few hundred grams and we followed the instructions. Now nothing is on the walls. Bugger!
posted by taff at 11:17 PM on August 18, 2010

I unscientifically tested it's holding strength. The hook is on my bed room door, with two winter coats. Wouldn't fall down. So in addition to the coats I made a cheap clothes line over night and hung wet towels. So it withstood pulling vertically and horizontally. Still have stuff having from the same strip and hook 2 years later. I do agree with the person who said that you shouldn't trust them with anything expensive. And if you must, hang something cheap and heavy, like a grocery bag with a few cans for 24-48 to make sure it adhered correctly. I also have one in my bathtub for 11 months now, working perfectly.
posted by glenno86 at 4:55 AM on August 19, 2010

I swear by the little bastards. There are four holding up two racks in my shower, which have been doing so for two years now without difficulty while being exposed to heat & humidity every day; if you get the ones intended for bathroom use they seem to work great.

The only failures I've had were when the underlying substrate was simply not strong enough; I had one rip out a piece of particle board (shear failure in the board), and another pulled paint off the wall because the paint wasn't really adhered to the wall any longer (bad sheetrock).
posted by aramaic at 5:57 AM on August 19, 2010

High heat and humidity are the enemies of Command strips and double-stick foam tape alike, I've found. I didn't know they had special bathroom ones, though—those might be worth investing in! In any case, I use Command strips a lot, but never for anything very heavy.
posted by limeonaire at 5:59 AM on August 19, 2010

I love them! I have had them fall off of kitchen cabinets when placed there for towels, but otherwise, lots of luck. I have used them for things like jackets, towels, not framed art or anything of the like.
posted by teragram at 7:04 AM on August 19, 2010

Another disappointed user here - got the biggest ones, followed instructions religiously, supersized the strips for the small picture they had to keep up...only to see my picture falling down about 3 seconds later.
I did try again with whiteboards, smaller pics - no joy.
Notched another instance of marketing hype over substance and moved on. I still have about a gazillion of them (because, having freshly painted my walls I wanted to be smart and not mess the lovely lovely paint job , so I figure I'd hang all the small stuff with them)...interested? ;-)
posted by MessageInABottle at 8:43 AM on August 19, 2010

a comment on taff's story - I suspect the key words were "recently painted", that since the paint was still curing, outgassing, etc. it made a bad surface for attachment. I've had a few particular uses fail miserably, which hasn't kept me from being a huge fan of them for hanging all sorts of other things.
I'd suggest that if you haven't tried it before, test it out by hanging something unimportant and/or durable on the wall you want to use, then in a couple of days, replace with your more delicate object if the hook still seems secure.
posted by aimedwander at 10:26 AM on August 19, 2010

Use them all the time on old plaster walls with great success. I have 2 medium weight art pieces that have been hanging for 2 years - we've had hooks to hang the dog leashes in the back hall for 5 years and they get at least twice daily use. We also have full sized towels hanging by each door from Command hooks, for ooky doggy paws.
posted by sarajane at 1:22 PM on August 19, 2010

I live in a basement apartment with concrete walls, so I have quite a few up. I even used two of the VERY heavy duty ones (I think they were rated for 30 pounds) to hold up a mirror. And it's been holding for at least three years now. Granted, the mirror is only twenty pounds, and the hooks should hold sixty, but still. I highly recommend them.
posted by timepiece at 6:36 AM on August 21, 2010

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