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August 16, 2007 9:15 AM   Subscribe

How do I go about drilling holes (for hanging things) in my flat without ruining my walls?

I've got several assorted items that need to be hung up around my new flat. The walls are freshly painted (by someone I don't want to use again) and look too good to ruin this soon.

As some of the things are quite heavy (a metal clock, a large canvas, a heavy wooden thing), and my walls are concrete, I reckon I'll need a hammer drill or something electrical - as opposed to a hammer + nail.

...and one of spots that I've identified is is tiled.

I'm hopeless at DIY tasks - so I'm asking the community to keep things simple!

Bonus points for knowing where to cheaply rent suitable tools in London, UK for the day.

If it all gets too much, I'll bite the bullet and pay a professional bazillions to spend 15 minutes putting in 4 nails.
posted by aherdofturtles to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For the tiled surface, if it's smooth tile and the item isn't TOO heavy, consider a suction cup hook. For the concrete walls, you'll need a special tipped drill bit and some expanding concrete anchors. Both can be had cheaply at any home improvement store. As far as a drill, drop $30 on a cheap electric drill. It'll be handy to have around.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:27 AM on August 16, 2007

If the walls are smooth and non-porous, you might be able to use 3M's "Command" adhesive products - some of them are rated for up to 10 lbs, and I've found their claims about not damaging surfaces to be true every time.
posted by pocams at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2007

You'll probably need a drill with a masonry bit, and some masonry "expansion" anchors. Are the walls concrete block, or a monolithic concrete slab? If they're just concrete block (CMU, or "cinderblock") you can drill into one of the voids and then just use a toggle bolt rather than an expansion anchor.

...I would not, personally, attempt to drill through tile as you're almost guaranteed to break the tile piece. Certainly, were I the landowner, I'd bill you for the damage.

In fact, were I you, I'd find another way to display items (the 3M adhesives mentioned above, or any number of alternative approaches to display).
posted by aramaic at 9:33 AM on August 16, 2007

You'll want a hammer drill with a masonry bit in it, and some wallplugs - the little plastic anchor/plug thingy that you shove in the hole so the screw you put in has something to bite into.

Easy peezy.
posted by zeoslap at 9:35 AM on August 16, 2007

But yeah, don't drill into the tile, asking for trouble.
posted by zeoslap at 9:36 AM on August 16, 2007

You don't need a hammer drill; a regular drill and a small masonry bit will do it. A small, angled hole with a snug-fitting nail and picture hanger holds a heck of a lot of weight.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:41 AM on August 16, 2007

Get thee to your nearest B&Q and pick up one of their 14.4V Cordless Hammer drill-drivers - it'll cost you about £20-25. Cordless hammer drill, standard drill, and screwdriver all in one.

Also buy a tub of Rawlplug Uno wallplugs and a packet of appropriately-sized screws - another £5, max.

Oh, and 2nd-ing the "don't try drilling tile".
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 9:53 AM on August 16, 2007

Cheers guys for the prompt responses - just one more to add - I don't plan to drill through the tile, just one of the side bits.
posted by aherdofturtles at 10:01 AM on August 16, 2007

If you don't want to worry about what it looks like when you leave...

Hang J channel across the top of your wall (up against the ceiling). Then use J channel hooks with fishing line or thin metal rope to hang the stuff. Has a very cool, urban look that is popular in art houses these days, and theres no holes at eye level. Also interchangeability is super easy.

The best part is the J channel is small enough, that you probably could just leave it there when you leave. So no holes to patch.
posted by wile e at 10:04 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have concrete walls in my apartment, and I've been able to drive small steel nails for hanging pictures in with a hammer. I didn't realize my first batch of nails were aluminium or some such softer metal, and those definately did not work. Steel nails worked for me.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2007

Something like this only use wire or fishing line instead for a cleaner look.
posted by wile e at 10:23 AM on August 16, 2007

I have concrete walls, and I second the 3M command strip hooks (and they have Velcro-like strips for up to 3lbs). The extra-large hooks are supposed to be good for up to 30lbs , and I'm using 2 for a mirror right now. It's been up for 8 months (2 is probably overkill, but better safe... right?).
posted by timepiece at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2007

Thanks everyone - I see it as:

1) Use 3m's command strips for the tiled wall
2) Buy a hammer drill and various bits and get cracking for the others...
posted by aherdofturtles at 2:19 AM on August 17, 2007

For anyone out there, 3m Command Strips RULE.

I've just medium "Picture Hanging Strips" which retail about about 3 quid for 3 sets at 3M's UK store.

No need to get a drill really...

I've managed to hang a 2 kilogram wood ornament on my wall in 1 hour and 1 minute (inclusive of an hour's drying).
posted by aherdofturtles at 1:23 AM on August 31, 2007

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