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I've bought a pair of blinds that came with 1 1/4 inch screws; I'm unable to drill deep enough into the frame to fit the screws, the screws are sticking about 1/8 of a inch out . I end up hitting something pretty solid while drilling. Can I just go to the store and get slightly shorter screws?

The blinds are 69 inches long, and there's 3 brackets each with two screws, it probably weights 6-7 lbs at most.

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What is the frame material? Wood? Metal? Did you pre-drill the holes? –  bib Jul 9 '13 at 2:44
    
I'm not exactly sure what the window frame is made out of, judging by the drill residual I would guess dry wall. I predrilled the holes, was that a bad idea? –  user13897 Jul 9 '13 at 3:03
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You certainly shouldn't mount the blinds on screws driven only into drywall (they would rip out very easily). 1 1/8 inches of just drywall sounds very strange... –  Kevin Reid Jul 9 '13 at 3:12
    
Where do you live and what is the age of the house? First floor or second? –  longneck Jul 9 '13 at 3:26
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Is that a concrete wall? Is this window in a room that is partially below grade (a basement room)? What does the wall look like on the outside? –  Tester101 Jul 9 '13 at 12:10

1 Answer 1

Using plain screws into just about any material other than wood or metal will not provide a strong support, especially if the weight that the screw is supporting is trying to pull the screw shank straight out (rather than pulling across the shank of the screw).

From your pictures, the surface appears to be plasterboard (or less likely, plaster), which has to be attached to a support structure, either wood, steel or concrete.

Wood To test if it is wood under the plaster/plasterboard, remove a screw and insert an awl until it just stops.

awl

With some force, try to push the awl in further. If it is wood, the awl should sink in a bit, but not too easily. There should be enough wood to allow you to drill into it and seat the screws fully. You probably need at least 1/2 inch of screw thread in wood for a safe hold on blinds. More is better. Remember that the plasterboard/plaster doesn't count. Try to guage how thick it is (probably either 3/8 or 1/2 inch) and add that to the depth into the wood.

Steel If the awl doesn't sink in, it may be a metal stud or a metal beam. If you hit something hard and the point can slide easily side to side, it is probably metal. Try to drill a small hole through it with a sharp drill bit. If it is a steel stud, you will be able to with a bit of pressure. You can then use a sheet metal screw to hold the bracket up. If it is a steel beam, you will not really be able to (it is too thick and hard). You will need a whole different mounting system.

Concrete If the awl stops but can't be slid along a hard metal edge, it may be a concrete support structure. The awl should feel as if it is digging into something a bit gritty. You can mount into concrete but need to use a masonry anchor.

lead shields

To insert the anchor, you first need to drill a properly sized hole with a special masonry drill bit.

masonry bit

It has a carbide insert in the tip. It is slow going and should be much harder than the plasterboard/plaster. The dust probably will be greyish or tan in color. Be sure not to drill a hole too close to another hole, or the concrete between them may crumble. You then need to insert the anchor and screw the bracket into it.

While it is theoretically possible to get a good enough mount in concrete like this, it is hard. This is especially true when the load is dynamic (moving) the way blinds are.

Plaster/Plasterboard While it is possible to hang light to moderate loads on plasterboard or plaster, it is really only safe when it is a vertical surface, not an overhead one. You can use various anchors, but not when the force is pulling directly out from the surface rather than down along the surface.

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