How to Use Wall Plugs

In todays blog post we are going to get some great advice if you are looking for everything you need to know about Wall Plugs.

This video will run you through the different types of wall plugs, sometimes know as rawl plugs, and give you the do’s and don’ts.

Wall plugs are one of the most common fixings you can actually get for solid walls. The critical thing with wall plugs is that you choose the correct size drill bit for the plugs that you are using and also the correct sized screw.

Wall plugs come in several different sizes and are often colour coded, the wall plugs used in this video are-

Blue- 10mm diameter drill bit. Screw size 14/16/18

Brown – 7mm diameter drill bit. Screw size 10/12/14

Red – 5.5mm-6mm diameter drill bit. Screw size 6/8/10

Yellow 5mm diameter drill bit. Screw size 4-10

Basically the larger the screw that you are using the larger the plug needs to be. If you have a plug that size which is a large one which would require a 10-millimetre hole you do need quite a large screw to make that expand before it would actually work.

You can try using a small diameter screw in a large plug that will not work. As you can see you can screw it in there but it’s not going to grip correctly. Also if you try and put a large diameter screw into a small diameter plug that’s not going to work either. So the critical part is choosing the correct sized screw, the correct sized plug and then drilling the correct sized hole.

Drilling the correct sized hole is easy because on the plugs it should actually say which diameter drill bit you need to use. This blue one is actually a 10mm drill bit. We then have the brown ones which require a 7 millimeter drill bit. The red ones need a 5.5 or 6mm drill bit.

To be honest whenever you’re using something that gives you two sizes I would always start off with the smaller size. Then we have the yellow ones which are really a very light fixing and they require a 5mm hole. In this demonstration, I’m going to use a 7mm drill bit so I’m going to use the brown wall plugs.

It’s very easy if you can actually see what you’re drilling into. In this instance, we’re drilling into a concrete block. Wall plugs should only be used on solid walls that are made from stone, concrete or brick. You should never use them on aerated concrete, they will not work.

So I’m going to start off by drilling a hole. I’m actually going to start it without the hammer action on. That is so you get it in the correct position. If you put hammer action on straight away there is a tendency for the drill to bounce about a bit and you may not get the hole exactly where you want it.

Once you’ve started the hole you can then switch the hammer action on. So we are now going to take the brown plug, we’re going to put that in the hole and as you can see that pushed straight in there.

In a lot of cases, you will need to give them a gentle tap using the hammer. We’re going to screw this eye in. What you need to do is simply get it started and then screw that in.

Once it gets tight we’ll just use a screwdriver. Once that’s all the way in there you can be sure that you’ve got a very strong fixing. I’ll now demonstrate what happens if you drill the wrong sized hole.

So we’ve now got a hole that is too big if you push that in there it’s a really sloppy fit and you can’t actually get the wall plug to work because it’s just spinning around in the hole. That’s not a problem what you can do is take another wall plug and we’ll just take a knife and we’re just going to split that in half and then we’ll split that in half again.

You can also use a matchstick for doing this so I’m just going to cut that a bit shorter so we’ve now got a piece like that. I’m now just going to pull the wall plug out a bit and I’m going to push that in alongside it. Now I’m going to tap those in using a hammer.

Once you’ve done that you can then take the screw and you can screw that in. Obviously, it’s a lot easier if you drill the correct sized hole to begin with but if you do drill an incorrect sized hole you can actually save the day by inserting another piece of plug or a matchstick or something like that and then once the wall plug expands it will actually grip in the hole.

To remove a wall plug simply insert a screw but only turn it a couple of turns so it doesn’t make the plug expand and then pull that out. You can sometimes do it with your fingers, sometimes you need a claw hammer.

So this is a common scenario that you come across at home. You have a solid wall you know it’s solid by tapping it and on the front of that, you will either have plaster or plasterboard. So we now need to drill into this to fix our wall plugs. So you need to make sure that there are no pipes or cables buried in the wall first.

You then take the drill and without the hammer action on, you then squeeze the trigger and make a hole through the plaster. Once we have got through the plaster we’re now drilling into the block. Obviously, you can’t see what the block is when you’re at home. So if we just try drilling that with no hammer action on you can see that it’s very tough to drill.

So we know that that is solid concrete. So to make things easy I’m just going to put the hammer action on. It’s important when you’re drilling a hole like that into plaster that you drill slightly deeper so the plug can be tapped below the surface of the plaster. So I’m just going to put a screw in there and just tap it until it goes through the actual plaster.

That means that when you drive your screw in and that expands it isn’t actually going to damage the plaster. Sometimes especially in older properties if you knock a plug in and you put a screw in, the expansion force can actually crack all the plaster around that area and it will make it look terrible. So obviously when you are at home and your walls are plastered you don’t know what kind of walls you’ve got.

You know it’s solid because you’ve tapped on it but you really need to drill a test hole and you need to see what colour the dust is coming out. If it’s red you have no problems at all it will be brick. You can fix to it straight away. If it’s grey dust and the drill is not going in easily that means that you’ve got a solid concrete wall so you can fix to that easily as well. There is also the chance that you have aerated concrete walls.

So if you tap on them it’s also solid but it does sound a little bit hollow compared to the solid concrete block. Again if we drill a test hole, again you don’t want hammer action on when you do this. So I’ve now drilled through the plaster and I’m going to continue drilling. You can see that that went in there really easily and the dust is actually a dark grey colour.

So when the drill goes into a solid wall like that without the hammer action on, you know that you’ve got aerated concrete. It’s not a good idea to use wall plugs with aerated concrete. You can get special fixings for aerated concrete such as the Dewalt Gasbeton etc. If you ever need to use a longer screw you can do so quite easily but you just need to ensure that you drill the hole deep enough in the block.

So whenever you’re drilling the hole it’s a bad idea to follow the length of the plug unless you’re using short screws. It’s a good idea to measure the length of the actual screw. So I’m just going to drill this hole a little bit deeper, and then we can take a plug, tap that into the hole, just tap it so that it’s just below the surface, and then we can screw that in there absolutely no problem at all.

That will go all the way into the wall. So long screws aren’t a problem as long as you drill the hole deep enough. I would just like to thank you for watching this video and I do hope that it has given you a few tips when you are using wall plugs.


All credit to The Ultimate handyman for a great explanation.