House was built in 1983, in the US midwest.

We have a problem with things pulling out of the drywall. Yesterday my closet shelving pulled out of the drywall (8 anchors at once). The main bathroom has had 5 of the screw-in metal anchors pull out, from high-demand uses like the toilet paper holder or washcloth ring. It's pretty much a guarantee that if we don't hit a stud, the item will eventually fall down.

  1. How can I fix the holes caused by anchors pulling out?
  2. Can I reuse the area where the anchors pulled out after fixing it?
  3. How can I prevent further damage?
  • Drywall per se does not wear out, but the holes do. You can seal holes with putty and repaint, then I recommend drilling at studs and attaching to them instead of relying on drywall. If you don't have a stud finder, use a long needle - you are going to repaint anyway. – ajeh Aug 15 '17 at 16:22
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    @ajeh: that doesn't work for items like a toilet paper holder, that requires two holes ~ 6" apart. – Bryan Boettcher Aug 15 '17 at 16:54
  • Sounds like non-aligned expectations. Go to a home improvement store or construction site and look at a (already) broken-off scrap of drywall. It's chalk wrapped in paper, except try to write on a blackboard with it, and it crumbles. Its winning characteristic is it's a much better firestop than plaster and lath, cheap, and easy to work in production. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 15 '17 at 18:31

No, drywall does not wear out. But holding excessive loads on anchors in drywall is a guarantee of failure. Drywall anchors do tolerably well in shear (loads downward, like hanging a picture) and fairly poorly when yanked on/outwards repeatedly. Once they move at all, they will quickly crumble until they come right out. Nor are they at all good for anything more than a small, lightly loaded shelf, and dubious at that.

If there's no stud where you need to support a troublesome load, and especially if you are already looking at repainting due to needed drywall repair, open the wall up more and put blocking between the studs to support the loads, then repair the larger hole by standard drywall repair methods.

  • +1 for blocking. Most homes are built too cheaply and they never think to add blocking for the toilet paper holder or towel bars. – ArchonOSX Aug 15 '17 at 19:17

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