How to hang heavy items from walls & concrete ceiling w/o holes?
May 9, 2013 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I recently moved into a loft in a really nice building. One issue I'm up against is that I am not permitted to drill any holes in the walls or concrete ceiling. I have been using the 3M Command strips and hooks and they work well for small things. However, even the hooks rated for 3 lbs failed to hold my very light-weight surround speakers. I also have a display case for my shot glass collection that weighs 21 lbs before even adding the glasses to it. I am thinking that may just have to live as a resting, rather than hanging, display. But I would also like to hang a lightweight pendant style lamp over the area I've set up as my living room. The ceiling does have some concrete protrusions that extend down from it. Would some hardware like a C clamp be solid enough to hang something like that from? Other suggestions? And recommendations for hanging artwork besides the Command products?
posted by mprove to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried using multiple Command strips for a single item? I hung two full-length mirrors on my wall using ten Command strips on each mirror.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 11:34 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

With the 3M strips, did you follow the instructions about cleaning the surface with rubbing alcohol, and also waiting 1 hour before actually hanging anything on the hook? I've found that when I get lazy and don't do those two parts of the setup, my 3M strips are much more prone to falling. For really small things like potholders, it doesn't seem to matter much but when I'm hanging things close to the weight limits of the strips, those two steps are more important.
posted by augustimagination at 11:36 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Every building I've lived in has said don't drill into the walls.

Every building I've lived in has gotten holes drilled into the walls.

I'm not saying you should drill holes in your walls, but I'm not not saying it either.

Assuming the walls are white and not some color, and you don't fuck up and make a GIANT HOLE, a small amount of filler (which can be purchased cheaply at any hardware/home store) will do you up just fine.
posted by phunniemee at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]

Gecko tape and Geckskin are going to change the way we hang things.
posted by mlis at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2013

I assume this is some sort of finished/polished/industrial concrete finish rather than paint? If so you will NOT be able to repair drill holes. If its painted you should be able to patch and paint the holes to match.

I have found command adhesives to be the strongest product on the market but you may need a lot of them. Also remember that they hold pretty well on vertical surfaces but often fail when horizontal. For your hanging light is there a way that the hook could be mounted vertically? Also double or triple up on the hooks for extra support.
posted by saradarlin at 11:54 AM on May 9, 2013

You may also substitute "toothpaste" for "filler" in phunniemee's suggestion. Pretty sure some dorms are ~40% structural Crest at this point.
posted by jeffjon at 11:55 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: @sevensnowflakes - yes. My paper towel dispenser in the kitchen currently has 4 medium strips on it. 2 just weren't strong enough. I plan to use 4 or more on each of my full length mirrors.

@augustimagination - I did wait the 60 minutes, but forgot about cleaning with alcohol first. I will try again for the speaker hooks. There is no way those weigh 3 lb each.
posted by mprove at 11:57 AM on May 9, 2013

Agree with multiple Command strips. For example, they make a jumbo hook rated for up to 7.5 pounds, which simply uses two of the same strips used for the large (5 pound) hook.

Do you already have the pendant lamp you wanted to use? If not, maybe an Arc-style floor lamp would work for you. Overhead lighting can be too harsh for a living room as it is.
posted by payoto at 11:58 AM on May 9, 2013

Are the walls concrete? if not, i'd have already drilled holes in them. All you need later is a tub of spackle, a sanding block, and to repaint the wall(s). It's absolutely ridiculous how many places have this rule now, but also that absolutely no one follows it. It's even more of a fake "rule" than jaywalking or something.

I'd use a gigantic C clamp for the lamp, you'd be surprised at the size of things i've seen held up in a sturdy fashion by those. Seconding the giant arc lamp recommendation though, ceiling fixtures often light places in erm, unflattering ways. Giant high ceiling lofts may be one of the few exceptions though.
posted by emptythought at 3:49 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Ook company makes a hardwall hanger that might work for your concrete...basically several small nails hold up a plastic hook. (You can also fake it by cheating several small nails into the concrete from an angle, but it's hard to do.) I suggest the book "The Movable Nest," which, while dated in terms of prices, still has great tips on hanging in unusual situations.

In my experience, Command strips will not work if your loft is warmer than standard room temp or in any way humid. If your ceilings are high, they're almost certainly hotter than the living space of the room, and obviously don't hang anything above a heater vent. Other than that, Command strips are pretty awesome so long as you don't put them horizontally. If you can tack through the command strip, sometimes that helps-- just one nail through the center of it. I find that the wall strip gives up sooner than the object strip, but that may just be me.

You can also try asking your building super if they could make some modifications to your space, i.e. installing permanent hangers. They might want to make you happy while making sure it's a job done right.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:04 PM on May 9, 2013

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