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Fixing things to the walls in a brand new house.

(13 Posts)
Spirael Tue 20-Nov-12 15:57:42

Ok, I could do with some advice from the DIY inclined! I'm in the process of moving from our old 1930's house with solid walls into a brand new house, which I'm assuming will only have plasterboard walls internally.

Being brand new, the house has nothing in the way of curtain rails, toilet roll holders, towel rails, etc. So, I get to fit all of them after I move in. DH is not even slightly DIY inclined and might cry in the corner if I attempt to pass the job over to him.

Now, normally I'd drill a hole, shove the plastic rawlplug (that is inevitably contained in the kit for whatever item I'm fixing) in and then screw the appropriate item to the wall. Is that still the case, even with the internal walls presumably being plasterboard?

What happens when it's not little things like toilet roll holders, and instead substantially weightier sets of shelves or a medicine cabinet? Will the plasterboard cope? confused

Basically, I need someone to give me a 101 on what I require and what I need to do when fixing things to my modern virgin walls of indeterminate construction. blush grin Preferably before I'm let loose with a power drill and cause untold damage!

NicholasTeakozy Tue 20-Nov-12 16:36:23

A few tips in this video tutorial

frenchfancy Tue 20-Nov-12 16:40:46

Essentially you do the same, but it is important to get the right kind of rawl plug. Don't just use the one that comes with the curtain poles.

Putting up shelves again the same, seriously heavy wall cupboards are the only things that may need some more support.

sunmoonstarstoo Tue 20-Nov-12 17:05:57

We moved into a new house seven years ago and had a lot of problems with curtain rails etc falling down almost straight away (even when using the most expensive, fancy rawlplugs). When we asked the builders during a routine snag why that was, they told us these days it is best to attach a wooden batten to the wall with the correct rawlplugs and then attaching the curtain rail to that.

Good luck! This is the only way we have managed to keep the curtain rails up!

aprilfoolsbaby Tue 20-Nov-12 18:33:29

Please be aware that a lot of flexible pipe is used for plumbing nowadays and it's never in a straight line behind the walls so take real care when hammering anything into a new builds walls. We were told this by the saleswoman when we bought our last house. It was common that people would pierce the pipe and end up with a leak.

PigletJohn Tue 20-Nov-12 22:49:30

don't assume what the walls might be made of, find out what they actually are made of, then ask again.

it might be plasterboard dot & dabbed to lightweight blocks, or it might not.

Glittertwins Wed 21-Nov-12 06:03:44

We had problems even when using the correct rawl plugs into plasterboard. The towel rail wouldn't fix to the bathroom wall at all so we had to take it down and fix up the holes. It only had one wretched towel on it too.
We found out the flat had nothing of substance behind the plaster. The same is in our loft walls, the plasterboard is fixed to a wooden frame. The builders told us not to hang shelves etc on the internal walls. I got them to hang the mirror and curtain pole though before they finished.

sparkle9 Wed 21-Nov-12 07:29:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryBS Wed 21-Nov-12 08:59:33

Its a nightmare, and sometimes things still fall down and make a mess of the wall as they fall. We tried a number of fixings, these are probably the best of a bad bunch, they're metal (very important, not the cheap plastic ones):

www.diytools.co.uk/faithfull-plasterboad-selfdrill-zinc-fixings-box-of-100.html

There are also some that are butterfly in style (they open up behind the plasterboard to form an anchor. Don't buy the flimsy plastic ones, there are some chunky metal ones. Picture here, the one on the right:

www.askabuilder.co.uk/how-to/fix-to-plaster-board.html

(we're now back in a house with nice solid walls)

Spirael Wed 21-Nov-12 09:21:09

All very useful information, thank you very much everyone!

We're in a bit of a strange situation in that it's a new build by a small developer who went bust long before we acquired the house. They did all the structural stuff and part of the second fit, to a high standard as far as we can tell. (Probably why they went bust!)

However the work was then finished off as cheaply as possible by contractors working for the repossession bank, in order to be able to sell the house and recoup some of the money. So the house was complete when we saw it, and has been standing since May.

The house is under warrenty, but we have no snagging facility. The house price does reflect this.

Because it's basically a repossession, we have no builder to ask about how the walls were constructed and all the others on the site are also complete. We might be able to ask our future neighbours and see whether they know.

Is there any way I can go about finding what the walls are made of without destroying them? I've tapped on the internal walls and they sound hollow, compared to what I'm used to.

I'll get some of the various metal rawlplug variations ready for when we move in, to make sure I have them to hand when tackling the DIY!

PigletJohn Wed 21-Nov-12 09:36:21

you knock the walls with your knuckles. Do this in a few houses and you will soon notice the difference. Plaster on brick is very hard and does not resonate. Plaster on lightweight block slightly louder, about 125mm thick. Plasterboard on blockwork fixed with dot and dap (blobs of plaser on the wal used as spacers and glue) sounds hollow except where you knock a blob. The blobs will be roughly in lines vertical and horizontal.

plasterboard on wooden studwork is hollow, about 100mm thick, but you will hear where the studs are and they will be in definite straight lines, mostly vertical, with some horizontal noggins. Sometimes you can detect the lines of galvanised nails through the plaster skim depending on light, especially if the wall is dirty.

composite wall is only 50 or 75mm thick and is made of a rigid plastic foam with plasterboard each side.

A house may have walls built in different ways. External and load-bearing walls are most likely to be lightweight block on the inside of the house.

Fundamentally you don't want to hang stuff off the plasterboard, it will be far better to drill through it and fix to what's behind, usually block or timber studs.

AllThreeWays Wed 21-Nov-12 10:04:09

Purchase a stud finder, this will find the timber behind the plasterboard, (usually every 600mm). Fix heavy items such as shelves and tv brackets etc to the studs using wood screws. if you need to put something heavy where there is no stud, you attach a batten to the wall, screwing into the studs, and then screw the items to the battens.
Wall anchors all work fine so long as you stick to the weight limit on the package.
There are always studs around windows, so curtain rails should not be a problem so long as yu find the right spot.

Spirael Wed 21-Nov-12 10:12:09

Thanks, both!

I'll start tapping every wall I see for the next few weeks until I can tell the difference. smile I know I have brick walls in my current house and we have one small stud wall that I can use for comparison.

I have a pipe detector (it has another setting for electrical wires), will that work for finding studs? I'm guessing it won't find pipes anymore if they're all plastic-!

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