When it comes to concrete, besides metal anchors like lag shield we have the plastic ones being: wall plug, plastic anchor and ribbed anchor. Is there any other (non-metal) anchor that can be used on concrete?

Plastic anchors are by far the most popular. You get them when buying stuff to hang on the wall.

However in my research it seems that wall plugs (below) are better rated (higher weight support).

enter image description here Source: https://www.rolliers.com/blog/post/helpful-tip--choose-the-fastener-right-for-the-job

While wall plugs are not as or even more popular than plastic anchors if they are better rated? I've never received them in products purchased, it has always been plastic anchors. Personally, it seems to me they would just slip (especially from the ceiling) as they seem to be smooth outside.

I have a project to hang a wood panel to the (concrete) ceiling. I was checking about non-metal anchors because metal anchors wouldn't allow multiple replacements of this panel and also usually requires big holes/damages. I know Tapcon would be the most recommended, but I wouldn't be able to reuse the hole when replacing the panel so it's a no for me. I found these three types listed above, and also read about one with/made of "lead" (if not mistaken).

So, I'm curious as to why one would use plastic anchors when ribbed anchors look to be better, and why use ribbed anchors when wall plugs are rated for heavier stuff.

Like everything, I know there are specific situations. However I could not find when one would not use a wall plug and instead go with a plastic (non-ribbed) anchor.

For hanging stuff on the ceiling, which non-metallic anchor would be the best?

I appreciate any insight on that!

  • 1
    Many of the anchors in your picture are for drywall and/or hollow walls and won't work on solid concrete.
    – Mattman944
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 15:01
  • 1
    If you'll take a wander down the "screw aisle" of your local big-box store, you'll not see any of those (except, perhaps, the lag shield) in the section dedicated to anchoring things into concrete. Pick from among those fasteners. I don't think any of these would do to hang more than streamers from a drywall ceiling.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 15:25
  • 1
    Notice that in your linked post, only the toggle bolt is listed for ceiling application. Of course, that only works if you have a hollow behind the surface for the toggle to expand into. I don't believe any of these anchors will work for you. You can go ahead and use them, but it's above your head, not mine.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 15:28
  • 2
    You might want to talk to a local building official about your plans and see what they say. You don't seem to be receptive to the feedback you're receiving about your plans for this ceiling; but a building official isn't just feedback, it's what they'll allow. I think you should be looking at attaching furring strips with tapcon-like fasteners, or doing something more substantial like threaded rod (requiring some tricky concrete work in a ceiling.) I understand why you want to avoid that, but seriously, it's a ceiling. If it falls the consequences will be serious. Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 15:53
  • 1
    @JeffWheeler your recommendation sounds very much like the answer I gave to his other question.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 16:44

3 Answers 3


It is risky ,no matter what you use. A concrete floor/road is basically in compression. The bottom of your ceiling is in tension and concrete is generally considered to have no or poor tensile strength. There should be steel rebar in the ceiling , I would verify the presence and amount of rebar before putting holes in the concrete. Each of those anchors works by putting compressive force on the concrete in the concrete ; this compressive ( expansion ) adds to the tensile stress. I would check with local contractors and find out what they do.


I believe you will find that the toggler alligator AF6 or larger are suitable for insertion in concrete and have a rating for both shear and pullout. They can also be reused. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051IAWM2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  • This is very interesting! It looks like a good product, and they even state concrete ceiling as an application. I wonder why everybody else says I should go with stronger hold using metal anchors though.
    – igorjrr
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 2:14
  • I've used only them for years. They work in drywall, brick, and concrete. And they can be removed and patched. Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 15:34

To address the anchors shown in your picture, basically they're ordered from "cheap and useless" up to "pricey but actually holds". The basic wall plug, in my experience, pulls out so easily that even when they come included with things you're going to attach to a standard drywall wall, you're better off throwing them away and using a better anchor. (Personally I like the "Wall Driller" style of zinc screw-in anchors for those jobs.) The plastic anchor is a tiny step up, but basically still not worth using even on a wall. The ribbed anchor has a bit more grip, but is still only "meh". The lag shield and the expanding lead anchor can, when used right, hold a lot of weight, but they require a really big hole and are nearly impossible to remove.

As for your specific scenario, there are some unanswered questions. Is "non-metallic" actually a requirement, or is it just that that metal anchor is inappropriate for the reasons given. Also, do you plan to hang additional weight from this wood panel when it's in place, or is it just the panel itself? Different anchors for concrete can have wildly different load ratings.

If non-metallic is not strictly a requirement, an anchor that has tremendous load rating and makes it easy to swap out your wood panel would be the expanding wedge anchor. The cons are that they require a biggish hole and are kind of a pain in the ass to get installed nice and flush. They're not easy to remove once they're in, but nowhere near as bad as lead anchors. On the other hand, they can take ridiculous amounts of weight, and once installed each anchor leaves you with a threaded rod sticking out of the ceiling so you can use flat washers and plain old nuts to attach your panel. To my mind, that's hard to beat for ease of replacing the panel with another identical one in the exact same spot every once in a while.

Keep in mind that any setup where you have hollow plastic anchors in the ceiling and then you drive screws directly into the anchors is going to be weakened every time you remove and replace the panel, because the screws bite into the plastic and sort of "shred" it a little bit more every time. This holds true no matter what the initial load rating of the anchor is.

Depending on the overall scenario, building a low-profile frame that has bolts or clips or whatever to hold the wood panel in place, and then attaching that frame to the ceiling with Tapcon screws, might be worth considering.

  • Thank you! So you'd say that Tapcon screw (your last paragraph) would be a better overall option than expanding wedge anchor? I believe the expanding anchor still holds more than Tapcon, right? However you think that Tapcon is easier overall? Thank you!
    – igorjrr
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 21:37
  • If you prioritize long-term convenience and minimum damage to the concrete, yes. Build a frame, mount the frame permanently using Tapcons, and use clips or wood screws or window latches or whatever to attach the panel to the frame, so that it's easy to swap the panel out without disturbing the concrete anchors at all. Wedge anchors can hold way more load than Tapcon screws, it's true, but that only matters if you need this rig to support many hundreds of pounds. If Tapcon rating × number of Tapcons > the load you need it to hold, wedge anchors are overkill.
    – Askeli
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 15:49
  • But if you really want to avoid building a frame, and/or you need to support a huge amount of weight, wedge anchors provide maximum strength while still giving pretty good convenience for swapping out the panel in the future with minimal risk of messing up the anchors... but at the expense of bigger holes in the concrete. So it really depends what your priorities are. Without more information about the overall project, I'd be shooting in the dark if I told you "just use this method". (BTW, if my answer solves your problem, don't forget to hit the "Accept" checkmark. Thanks!)
    – Askeli
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 15:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.