Can You Use Plastic Wall Plugs In Wood?

  • Find out when plastic wall plugs can and can’t be used.
  • More information on the various kinds of wall plug.
Plastic wall plugs

Wall plugs are brilliant little things that can be used whenever you need to attach something to your walls, but can you use them for wood?

What is a plastic wall plug?

Also known as “anchors” or “rawlplugs”, a wall plug is an insert that allows the user to put screws into materials that are too brittle, porous, or unstable to hold the weight of an object.

These inserts require that the user drills a hole into the wall in question, inserts the plug, and then inserts the screw that they wanted to use to support another object being hung on the wall. These objects that need support could be anything like a mirror or shelf etc.

Types of wall plug

There are a number of wall plugs available on the market. The most common is the universal wall plug, which is made of plastic (usually nylon), and expands in the pre-drilled hole once a screw is tightened into the plug.

However, there are several more wall plugs that can be used in different situations.

The butterfly wall plug is used when you want to put weight onto a hollow wall. Once a screw is in place, the back of the plug opens up and folds towards the front of the plug. Though the average version of the butterfly plug has two sections to open at the back, some have four.

Plasterboard plugs open up like an umbrella when a screw is inserted. These are great for ceilings and walls and provide a good amount of security for hollow walls like plasterboard.

Other variations of wall plug include toggle plugs, anchor bolts, and hammer fixings. Each variation can be used to support weight in several scenarios.

Using plastic wall plugs in wood
An image that shows a number of plastic wall plugs.

When to use a wall plug

You should only use a wall plug when attempting to add weight to a wall or ceiling that you feel will not support an object.

See Also
UK screw sizes

This could be because you’re adding weight to plasterboard, which is notoriously unsuitable for large amounts of weight, or because the wall/ceiling area in question is brittle or unstable.

There should be no need to use a wall plug outside of wall or ceiling applications.

When not to use a wall plug

The thing is, you shouldn’t need to use any kind of wall plug if you’re working with timber – they also won’t function the way that they need to.

Wall plugs rely on their ability to expand in the space that they’re pushed into. Unless you’re planning on oversizing the pilot hole (which will cause the plug to be unstable anyway), you will find that the screw won’t expand the wall plug properly.

Wall plugs should only be used on materials that benefit from extra support. Timber should do just fine with wood screws and wooden dowels, where needed.

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