Installing Shelves: Plaster Walls

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BCR, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,026
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    My 'mil' wants me to put in some heavy duty shelves like I put up in our home for books/business/work stuff. She has plaster walls. I don't--it was easy to find studs on my panelled walls and easy to secure the vertical brackets to the walls.

    How do I screw in the brackets to the plaster walls without drilling extra holes that can't do anything? Can you tell I have tried and failed with that in a prior project? They actually crumbled on me once.

    What kind of fastener can I use? What if I need a support where there isn't a studwall?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,126
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Oregon
    :) BCR, I solved this problem in my sewing room by putting up two 1X8's across the whole wall of the room for storing fabric on shelving. One at two feet of height and one at 6 ft. Taking them corner to corner you have the advantage of having the studs right there where you know where they are. I started at the corner and did some measuring out from there finding studs at every 24 inches. This may vary for you, don't know. :confused: Then it was easy to mount the vertical 1X4's to recieve the shelving brackets. Hope this helps..I know you will get some better ideas from more knowledgeable folks. ;) LQ
     

  3. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,026
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    LQ, thanks. I may have to re-think the materials. I planned on using this shelving system that has metal vertical posts almost flush against the wall, then you buy brackets that can be configured any old way and bought to hold various depths of shelves (wooden in my case). They make some that hold lots of weight that I have used before, in the case of books/binders and other heavy stuff. Maybe a combo of the two.....

    Still, did you use screws, or something else to connect to the plaster wall? How did you keep the plaster from crumbling around the drill hole? I have used tape and drilled through it to minimize surface damage. Didn't work for me. I am certain I am doing something wrong. Any suggestions appreciated!
     
  4. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,511
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Think about climbing into the attic. There is a pretty good chance that if the house has plaster walls, the house was balloon framed. If the walls are balloon framed, it will be easy to find the studs and measure how far apart those studs are from one another. You will have to find a reference point, like a corner or an electrical outlet to measure from, which can be a little tricky when you try to find the same place once you are down from the attic. Might try to get someone to help you so you can yell down to them.
    BTW, I have found that pre drilling your hole is the best way to preserve plaster. If the plaster is really strong, you might consider using a small masonry bit in your drill. It is definately a better way than pounding on it with a hammer and nail. Also, expect the old studs to be hard as a rock. Screws work better in them than nails.
    Plaster is fairly easy to repair if you have an open mind. PM me if you need help.
    clove
     
  5. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,104
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Location:
    North Alabama
    I found studs on a plaster and slat wall by using a stethoscope from my blood pressure kit.
     
  6. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,026
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    Masonry Bit! Of, course. I feel ignorant--I have been using wood bits to pre-drill. :eek:

    I'll try the attic idea as it is mostly unfinished and ought to help. I have a stethoscope so will use those too.

    Do you use regular screws or specific ones?
     
  7. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,511
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Well, I am not real sure how you are putting this project together, but I would use wood screws if I were attaching to the studs.
     
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,264
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN

    Studs are exposed in the basement up near the ceiling on my old farm house, attic is hard for me to see much. Some of the better stud sensors can give you a clue, tho not 100%.

    --->Paul
     
  9. simpleman

    simpleman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    736
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando the friendliest place on Earth
    There is this nifty fastener that I use as a maintenance man in the apartment complex that I work at. It is a fastener that looks like a corkscrew, except it has a hole at one end to put your wood screw in once it is secured in the wall. I just punch a small hole in the wall with a phillips head screwdriver and insert the tail of the fastener in the hole. Then I take my screwdriver and screw the insert into the wall as if it was a screw itself. After it is flush with the wall, then a attach whatever needs attaching to it with a wood or sheetrock screw. I have used them for everything from floresent lights to toilet paper dispensers and none of them have failed me yet.

    Ernest
     
  10. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,026
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    WV
    Great ideas.

    Ernest--those are plastic right? I have tried to use those in plaster walls with no success. They tear up the plaster in my experience. They are made for drywall, at least the ones I have used are. Any secrets to using them in plaster?
     
  11. ed/IL

    ed/IL Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Those fasteners that Ernist is talking about come in plastic or metal. To use in plaster walls drill a larger hole. Might have to experiment a little to know what drill bit to use.
     
  12. SRSLADE

    SRSLADE Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    327
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    VERMONT
    Use A Construction Glue And Glue Your Boards To The Wall Anywhere. Any Brand Is Ok But I Like Pl Premium. Hope This Helps.