How to Remove Plastic and Metal Drywall Anchors [Solved]

Have you moved into a new house only to find these unaesthetically pleasing plastic and metal wall anchors? Do you want to remove these wall anchors? How do you even remove these wall anchors if they’re sitting tight on my wall?

Wall anchors are very useful to people. You can hang objects on them for decoration purposes or some functionality. Even so, removing them can be a pain in the butt if you don’t follow the procedure to get them out of your walls.

In this article, we will discuss what a wall anchor is, the different types of wall anchors, how to remove plastic and metal wall anchors, and the frequently asked questions when removing wall anchors.

What’s an Anchor? The Purpose and Use of Drywall Anchors

Have you ever thought about how you can hang paintings on the wall with little-to-no effort? Or did you think about hanging some ornaments around your house? Look no further because wall anchors are here.

Sometimes, nails aren’t the ideal solution to look for a place to hang items. Nails aren’t built to hold something that’s supposed to be hung on the wall. That’s the wall anchor’s job.

Wall anchors are fasteners that can attach different objects in a situation where screws, nails, adhesive, or other simple fasteners are not capable of. The wall anchors are great in 2 situations, using them on hard surfaces like concrete or hollow walls.

There are two common materials used to make these wall anchors, plastic and metal. Metals are typically better in terms of durability, but the plastic wall anchors can also give a lot of flexibility the metal anchors can’t provide.

According to NaturalHandyMan, There are many styles of anchors, each one having different strengths and weaknesses, literally!  An anchor that is strong when installed in drywall may not be as vital in concrete. Or visa versa!

However, since wall anchors look simple, they often don’t come with any instructions or manual. Instead, every pack of wall anchors you receive is just the anchors themselves.

Different Purposes And Uses

So, what do we use wall anchors for? There are many purposes to wall anchors, and not many seem to talk about them. Here are the goals and uses of wall anchors:

  • Hanging Pictures, Paintings, and Prints

Since wall anchors are reliable, you can hang pictures of your family or perhaps hang paintings that you have made or purchased in your local home depot. You can never go wrong when using wall anchors to mount these imageries on the walls.

  • Install Bookshelves on Walls

If you’re a bookworm, you’re going to love wall anchors because if you don’t like those large bookshelves in your house that take too much space, maybe using wall-mounted bookshelves will be ideal for your situation.

  • Used For Curtain Rods

This might be the most common use for wall anchors. Curtain rods aren’t installed with screws alone. There’s supposed to be a wall anchor to make sure the curtain rods are correctly installed, and it’s more reliable to have wall anchors holding the curtain rods.

  • Install Mirrors

Not only can you install curtain rods with wall anchors, but also mirrors. Hanging your mirror on the wall by installing wall anchors in your wall can be done in under 5 minutes. With the right tools and the will to learn, installing mirrors can be as easy as brushing your teeth.

  • Hanging Clocks

Similar to installing mirrors, you can’t just hang mirrors with screws alone. You can’t just drill a hole in a wall and use a screw to hang your clock. Why isn’t this possible? The screw is not lodged in the wall property. It’s unstable, and you’re risking the chance of your clock falling.

  • Wall-Mounted Cloth Hangers

Most wall-mounted cloth hangers have screws in them. Using a wall anchor will give your cloth hanger more stability and enables it to hold more weight as long as it’s installed properly.

  • Various Wall Decors

Do you have collector’s items sitting around in your house waiting for you to show them off? You can start by installing shelves on the wall to feature your figurines or any other items you want to show off to the people entering your homes.

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Determine How Much Weight The Wall Anchor Can Hold

There are many factors to consider how much weight these wall anchors can handle. Understanding each element is incredibly important, so make sure you read all of them.

First, you need to know what kind of object you’re going to hang. Second, you need to think about the type of surface you’re hanging these objects that you want to hang. The third condition, do you think the surface can still handle heavy objects?

Last but not least, the type of anchor you’re going to choose. From the four factors mentioned, you can quickly determine how much weight the anchors can hold.

So, let’s talk about the four factors that determine how much weight the wall anchor can hold in much detail.

The Object You Want to Hang

To ensure that your wall anchors can hold up to the weight of the item you want to hang, you must ensure that your object isn’t too heavy. For example, installing a swing outside your front porch will mean the amount of weight multiplies to the person on the swing, right?

However, this doesn’t mean that’s it’s impossible to hang a swing. You can hang a swing IF THE OTHER FACTORS ALLOW IT. If the type of surface you’re hanging it on is still durable and the kind of anchor you’ll use is reliable, hanging heavy things is pretty much possible.

The Type of Surface You’re Hanging These Objects

Relative to the object you want to hang, you should know the type of surface you’re hanging that object. Maybe you have a thick wood wall or a hollow wall, or even a concrete wall. This is a deciding factor on how much weight your wall anchor can accommodate.

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The Condition of the Surface

The condition is relatively essential, similar to the type of surface you’ll be installing the wall anchors. What if the wood wall is already decaying? Can it handle heavy objects?

Make sure that the surface you’re going to be using is still in excellent condition. We don’t want to have your wall anchors suddenly fall off because the surface already gave up.

The Type of Anchor You Will Be Using

There are different types of wall anchors in the market. You need to know the relative strength you need the wall anchor to withstand.

Different wall hangers have other purposes. Think about it like this. A cabinet handle needs to withstand an outward pulling force. However, a cloth hanger needs to fight the downward pulling power of the objects hung on it.

Now you know if wall anchors can handle heavy objects. The four previously mentioned factors should be enough to let you know if your wall anchors can handle things with different weight classes.

Keeping all these things in mind, the next thing you need to know is the different types of wall anchors, each wall anchor’s purpose, and what surface they’re good at.

Different Types of Wall Anchors: Hollow Wall and Drywall Anchors

Wall anchors should be reliable with all the weight and load you want to hang on them. The type of anchor you should choose will depend on what you’re hanging, how heavy the object is, and the condition of the surface you will hang it on.

Multiple types of wall anchors have different purposes and functions. Hanging objects on the wall may seem simple, but what matters is how the wall anchors are being used and what you use them for.

According to TheSpruce, chemical anchors shouldn’t be installed in cold weather, something to keep in mind if you’re working in a northern clime. This might be an example of things you didn’t know about different types of anchors, so pay close attention.

Since there are many different types of anchors, there are also special and different ways to install each type of wall anchor. For starters, the typical plastic and metal wall anchors can be installed using a drill and lodging it to the hole.

Here are the different types of wall anchors and their designated use and purpose:

  • Expansion Anchor

The expansion anchors, also known as wedge anchors, are used with concrete, masonry, and many more. They are designed to expand once they’re anchored to the wall, thus the name “expansion” anchors.

There are three styles of expansion anchors, fully threaded, partially-threaded, and full-bodied wedge anchor. Plastic expansion anchors are usually the commonly used type. The more heavily the “ribbed” anchors will have the best grip regardless of the surface it’s anchored on.

  • Hollow Wall Anchor

Have you ever thought about installing a phone holder on your wall? Hollow wall anchors are the best bet you have in making that possible. Hollow wall anchors are for medium-duty applications.

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Like almost all wall anchors, hollow wall anchors also expand as they are anchored to a surface whenever a screw is tightly driven into it. These are also known as molly bolts, and it can work with various wall thickness and has a maximum load of a whopping 50 pounds.

  • Threaded Drywall Anchors

These anchors can be plastic, nylon, or zinc-coated. Just like the hollow wall anchor, this can be used for medium-duty applications. However, the most noticeable advantage of threaded drywall anchors is removing and reusing them at different locations.

  • Plastic Hollow Wall Plug

The plastic hollow wall plug is usually used for drywall or plaster for light-duty applications. When the screw is installed, it expands and locks into place. To install it, you need to drill a pilot hole smaller than the anchor itself.

  • Sleeve Anchors

Sleeve anchors are the best choice of anchors when it comes to masonry and concrete usage. First, you need to drill a smaller hole than the anchor and hammer it with a mallet to push the anchor deeper into the pilot hole.

Second, as the screw is driven in the anchor, it expands and gets a better grip on the concrete. Unlike other anchors, sleeve anchors are capable of heavy-duty applications and usage. It can handle heavy loads and a wide variety of hangings.

  • Adhesive Anchors

These anchors are so strong that people commonly use them for home improvement and construction projects because of their reliability. They hold up to almost any climate, moisture, and weather conditions.

The adhesive is epoxy-based, so expect a really tight grip when it comes to using this wall anchor. These also work with rebar, threaded, and smooth dowels.

  • Spring Anchors

The spring anchors use a standard threaded hole and are available in four different types: the fixed hole, swivel hole, multiple groove, and single groove. It holds the expansions springs to help support the weight the springs are bearing.

Springs anchors are well-known for their easy installation and inexpensiveness, making them a budget-friendly option for customers.

  • Toggle Bolt

The toggle bolts are the traditional and old-school anchor methods, yet they’re still effective up to this day. It generally has two parts: the toggle and the machine bolt. They are sized by the diameter and the length of the screw.

It can accommodate both thick and thin walls. There are different versions for the thickness of the surface you need to install/mount them on. The toggle bolt is preferred for heavy item hanging and is available in both square and slot-drive.

  • Cement Board Screw Anchor

The cement board screw anchor works well with attaching cement board to wood and steel. It’s also great for using them to install attachments in your bathroom. Just make sure you get the corrosion-resistant fasteners to ensure excellent durability and a longer lifespan.

  • Winged Plastic Anchor

The winged plastic anchors are used for medium-duty applications, and similar to most wall anchors out there, it requires a pilot hole to make sure it sits right on the wall properly and comfortably.

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To install it, you need to use a unique pointed tool supplied with the anchor to push the center of the wings out to expand inside the wall correctly. The wall anchor won’t function properly unless it’s done right.

How to Remove Plastic and Metal Wall Anchors

So, you’re probably here because you want to remove some unwanted plastic or metal wall anchors in your home. Maybe you installed a painting and want to clear the wall from any holes, and you find these wall anchors and somehow don’t know how to remove them.

Proven that the wall anchors are helpful in many situations, getting rid of them can be a hassle sometimes, especially if you have a lot of these wall anchors in your home.

If you think it’s challenging to remove these plastic and metal wall anchors, well, think again because it’s so easy that even a teenager can do it.

How to Remove Plastic Wall Anchors

These procedures apply to most of the plastic wall anchors available in the market today. Plastic drywall anchors are usually installed by drilling a small pilot hole and pushing the wall anchor deeper in, and it expands while the screw is being driven in the wall anchor itself.

Watch HomeAdditionPlus’s video on How to Remove Plastic Wall Anchors if you’re not confident that you can remove them yourself.

YouTube video

So, let’s get to how we’re going to remove it. Here are the steps to removing plastic wall anchors:

  1. Unscrew any screws left in the anchors and throw them away. Turn the anchor counter-clockwise if it’s a screw-in type anchor. Continue unscrewing it if it’s slowly getting released.
  2. Grab the edge of the plastic drywall anchors with a pair of pliers (preferably long-nose pliers). For small holes, insert one jaw into the hole and the other to the edge of the anchor and gently pull the drywall anchor out.

At this point, your plastic wall anchor should be out in no time. It’s relatively easy to take them out. However, if it shows no signs of budging/moving, you may be left with the option to drill out the hole to make it an even bigger hole. At least you get to remove the anchor itself.

How to Remove Metal Wall Anchors

Similar to plastic wall anchors, it’s relatively easy to remove metal wall anchors from the walls. Since pulling it out will leave a vast noticeable hole, you may want to follow these steps to make sure you’re guided in your anchor removing process.

Not familiar with how you can do it? Watch ThunderDivine’s video on How to: Remove Wall Anchors in less than a minute. With the right tools and a little patience, you can get it out in no time.

YouTube video

Continuing with the steps, here are the steps to remove the metal wall anchors:

  1. Remove the anchor by unscrewing the screws in the anchors, and try prying it out with a flat screwdriver. Use force if needed. You can also try pulling it out with a plier or turning it counter-clockwise if it’s a screw-in type wall anchor.
  2. If the options above don’t work for you, maybe try drilling it with a drill bit bigger than the wall anchor to make sure you get it out. For drywall anchors, dry hitting with a hammer to go to the other side of the drywall.
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What to Do After Removing the Wall Anchors

After removing all the wall anchors in your wall, you’re going to be left with a hole in your wall. So, how do we fix that? Here are the following steps to do after removing all the wall anchors:

  1. Sand up the holes, make sure that the hole is smoothened out. After doing this, clear the hole with dust and debris to make sure it’s clear for the next step.
  2. Use a spackling compound to seal the hole in the wall. Let it sit for some time, and clean it again by sanding it and smoothening out the surface if there are residues at the edges of the holes.
  3. After you fill in the spackling compound, paint it to make sure it stays hidden in the surroundings around your wall and make it look like it was never there in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far is the ideal depth for drilling an anchor hole?

The ideal depth of the pilot holes you want to drill the anchor is smaller than the anchor’s diameter and about 1 – 2 inches of depth to the wall. With a mallet or a hammer, you can push the anchor into the wall and screw it in place.

Can drywall anchors be used for shelves?

Yes! They can be used for wall ornaments as well. That’s what makes these wall anchors special. They make hanging objects on the wall very easy and convenient to do. Depending on the type of wall anchor you use, it can hold from 20 – 50 lbs.

Is it possible to hang a painting with drywall anchors?

Absolutely! In fact, paintings and prints are some of the most common uses of these drywall anchors in the first place. They’re handy, especially in places like apartments and condominiums.

How much do plastic and metal wall anchors cost?

These wall anchors come in little packets and cost relatively cheap. Each pack comes with screws and the anchors themselves to ensure you have everything you need in installing it. It may cost you around $4-$10, depending on the brand and amount of anchors you purchase.

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