How to fit wall plugs

Wall plugs are essential when hanging cabinets, mirrors and shelves - in fact anything you want to attach to your walls. A normal screw will not securely stay in plasterboard or masonry without a wall plug. They expand to securely grip the sides of the hole you have drilled, and will help to hold the screw in place without damaging your walls.

For more advice on the best wall plugs and fixings to use in your home, read our Buyers guide to nails, screws and wall plugs


Tools for the job

To make holes in masonry, you'll need a power drill with hammer action, such as a combi or hammer drill, and masonry bits. Choose wall plugs, screws and a drill bit of the same size - although you might like to use a smaller drill bit first to produce a pilot hole.

For more advice choosing the right drill, read our Drills buying guide

Safety first

Never drill into a wall without checking first for hidden pipes and cables using a multi detector. Don't risk a flood - or worse, electrocution.

Step 1

Decide where you want to fit your wall plug. Check for hidden pipes and cables using a detector, and if the location is safe mark the wall using pencil. A cross is the easiest way to mark the central point you will be drilling into.

how to fit wall plugs

Step 2

Choose the correct size of plugs and drill bits for your screws. The yellow plugs shown in this example take 4mm gauge screws, the red ones take 5mm and the brown ones take 5.5mm - although wall plugs do come in lots of colours. Opt for wall plugs specifically designed for use in plasterboard if you are drilling into a stud (rather than masonry) wall.

fitting wall plugs

Step 3

Hold the plug up to your drill and mark its length on the bit with some tape. You'll need to drill into the wall slightly deeper than the length of the plug.

Top tip

If you don't have much experience using a drill, you might find it easiest to get a neat, accurate result if you start the drilling the hole without the hammer action turned on.

fit wall plugs to solid wall

Step 4

Use your drill on a hammer setting to drill the hole. Keep the drill square to the wall and hold it steady, or you'll end up with a wonky hole.

wall plugs guide

Step 5

The wall plug should be a tight fit, but you only need finger pressure to put it in. Lightly tap the plug with a hammer to level it with the wall, if you need to. This is now ready for you to securely screw into.