Anchoring heavy bookshelf to old horsehair plaster walls– help please!

posted 2 years ago in Home
Post # 2
Member
4797 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Magpie86:  I’m NO help probably, but we have a 1941 house and I’m afraid to hang stuff as well. They are plaster, but not the lath (we had an energy audit and they drilled a hole in the wall – newspaper for insulation!). Are you able to find the studs? For what you are doing I think I would go for those for all that extra weight. Also I’ve heard if you tape the area you are going to drill (for pictures), like drill through the tape, it supposedly won’t crack the plaster. You can even leave the tape since it’ll be behind the picture. Can’t wait to hear the answer!!

Post # 3
Member
499 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Studs are the only safe answer.  Toggle bolts would only hold a few pounds, not the nearly 100-200 that an old bookshelf has.

I’d encourage you to call a contractor who specializes in old homes to install the bookshelf properly.  Depending on the size a falling bookshelf could crush and kill an adult, and even a small bookshelf can crush and kill a child.

Post # 5
Member
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Magpie86: Our house is nowhere close to as old as yours (1918), but I’ve found the site This Old House super helpful – perhaps you can get some help there?

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,203389,00.html

Also, if you don’t have a stud finder already – it might be a good idea to get one. I wouldn’t have cared so much if the walls were drywall, but since we have lath I want to use the studs as much as I can when I hang pictures etc. We also had to do some baseboard work and couldn’t have done it without one.

Post # 6
Member
4797 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Magpie86:  Thanks for the tip! I am definitely going to try those. I wonder how much weight they’ll hold… I have one heavy thing.

eocenia:  I LOVE the This Old House website! I wish my house was older like you 2!!

Post # 7
Member
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

RedHeadKel: It’s an amazing website, I’ve spent way too much time there looking at old houses and read about fixes. 🙂

Just a note, I would never leave tape on the walls – after a while it has a tendency to bond with the paint and if you then proceed to remove it… mud and paint might have to come out.

Post # 9
Member
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Magpie86: I hope it will, if not – it’s great to use just for inspiration!

I spoke to my husband and his advice was to listen to the contractor, not the guy at HD. He said that he wouldn’t use butterflies personally, and wouldn’t drill in the lath in the first place as the vibrations might case damage in itself. So studs seem to be the safest way to go. Good luck!

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