Hanging Pictures and Mirrors
HomeForce offer a picture and mirror hanging service through its Edinburgh handymen. You might think “how hard can it be to bang a nail into a wall” however this is not always the best way forward.

The resulting mess could vary from your mirror crashing to earth in the middle of the night, setting a spiders web of crumbling plaster in motion, rupturing gas or water pipes or even receiving electric shocks from cables hidden in the wall

If you are thinking of having pictures or mirrors hung but are worried about how to do it, call HomeForce to arrange for one of our Handymen to visit you. Following are a few points to consider when hanging pictures and mirrors. 

TYPES OF WALL

1. Plasterboard / stud wall.

These are most common in houses built after the 1950s or 60’s. Usually walls will be timber frames (struts / posts) covered with the sheets of plasterboard attached with either screws or nails. Be aware that recent new-builds often use fewer timber posts for partition walls, and lightweight box metal may be used instead of timber. 

Plasterboard is not ideal for hanging particularly heavy items, it is, after all, just paper and gypsum (plaster). However there are a number of fixings devised specifically for securing items to plasterboard walls. Each fixing will have a load bearing capacity (which may vary depending on the thickness of plasterboard on the walls) the manufactures of the fixings will be able to advise how much weight a fixing can support. You’ll find that the same fixing may be called different things by different people: Redi Drivers, hollow wall fixings / anchors, butterfly fixings, toggle fixings, rotor plugs or spiral fixings. 

It’s not always possible with plasterboard walls however, it is ideal if heavy items can be supported on the timber struts (or studs) that form the framework of the wall. 

Locating a timber on a stud wall

  • Tap on the cavity wall - there will be a more hollow sound between timbers. Note also that the vertical timbers are regularly spaced, starting at the edge of each wall.
  • Once you think you have found a timber drill a small hole. If the drill comes out with wood shavings down the bit, you are drilling into a timber. If after 1 – 2 cm the drill bit meets with no resistance then you have failed to locate the timber. 
  • IMPORTANT: - Use an electric tester before drilling to make sure there are no pipes or electrical cables behind the plaster board.
2. Solid or "plaster on the hard" walls.
 
These could be stone, red brick or breeze block walls with a thick skim of plaster applied to them (First a bonding coat and then a final skim).

These are great walls to securely affix pictures, mirrors or any item to. Rawl plugs with suitable screws should be used but making sure the fixing is strong enough to take the weight of the item. 
Start by drilling a hole to a depth of one and a half to two inches – the fixing should always penetrate into the stone / brick work not just in the layer of plaster. Bear in mind that some walls of this type can be incredibly solid so you will need a good hammer drill with a masonry bit or better still an SDS drill.  
Push in the wall plug, make sure it is flush with the wall and tightly embedded (not rattling around in the hole), then insert the screw. 
IMPORTANT NOTE: Never drill above or below light switches or plug sockets, where electric cables may be concealed. Use an electronic tester to check before drilling.

3. Plaster lath / lath and plaster walls:
 
These are usually found in houses built around the 1900’s. They are a cross between the above two wall types - a timber framework (like a stud wall), and between the studs, strips of thin timber (the lath) have been nailed and meshed, then a thick layer of bonding and finishing plaster applied (about 1 inch thick). 
Plaster lath walls are terrible for hanging things into. It is possible if you pre drill a small pilot hole, and then screw the screw directly into the lath.
WIRE OR STRING?
Wire is generally better than string especially if your picture or mirror is particularly heavy. It’s stronger, the knots won't come undone and it doesn't relax (i.e. stretch) causing the picture to hang lower or squint. 
Special picture cord made from high quality low stretch polyester that is strong and will not rot or wear out over time is also an option. 
 
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR PICTURES WILL LOOK GOOD.
  • Before you finally hang the picture or mirror leave it propped up in approximately the right location for a few days. That way you can get a feel for it at different times of the day and in different lights.
  • Try to avoid hanging paintings in direct sunlight as that will cause the colours to fade over time. 
  • A small room can be made to appear larger if pictures are hung approximately 3-5 inches lower than the average eye level.
  • If the picture or mirror is bigger than the piece of furniture below it, it will look unbalanced.
  • Hanging a large mirror at one end of a small room to will make the room seem larger. Mirrors can also be used to make dark rooms much brighter.
  • Hang groups of pictures on large wall spaces rather than one large picture.
  • Consider whether people will be standing or sitting on the room (hallway = standing, dining room or living room = sitting). Generally pictures are hung at around eye level but this can be lower in a room where people predominantly sit down
HOMEFORCE HERE TO HELP

If you have a number of pictures, mirrors or shelves and other odd jobs waiting to be done, an Edinburgh handyman can get them done quickly and efficiently. Prices cost from as little as £30 per hour allow 10 – 15 mins per picture.
 
To arrange for an HomeForce Edinburgh handyman to hang your pictures or mirrors, call 0131 315 0000, complete the request a visit form on this website or send us an email info@homeforcegroup.co.uk.