My holes are now too big in the stud I was going to use to hang up my ikea cabinet. What options do I have to still try to use that location? I needed to have it I installed there because my other cabinet is right next to it.

I was thinking of using wooden dowel/toothpicks to plug the hole but I don’t think it would be strong enough to hold my cabinet.

hole in drywall where screw was mounted
click images to embiggen

Update: this is a BROR cabinet so it’s a steel material. Here’s a photo of the back. I was going to use the bottom set of holes to attach to the wall. Is it ok to do that? I only plan on keeping lighter weight stuff in it (paper towels, etc) so additional 15-20 lbs at most.

inside of back of cabinet

Secondary question: What happened originally was my screw broke when I was screwing it in. I tried to remove it and it made a bigger hole. I was going to go buy a bigger screw but impatient and I tried to use a toggle bolt that I had around. But the depth of the stud was beyond 4” so I couldn’t use that. Is it normal for a stud to be that deep?

  • 3
    The pic only shows the hole in the drywall, but not the size of the hole in the stud... are you sure the hole in the stud won't hold the screw?
    – bobflux
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 8:25
  • 7
    Since there is some discussion about how the back of the cabinet is built, would you please edit your post to include a picture of the cabinet back - particularly in the area that this attachment is to go through. Also, let us know if the back is "wood" (solid, ply, MDF, chipboard) or cardboard (thin & flexible).
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 17:24
  • Seconding @FreeMan's request, but note that at least where I live old Ikea cabinet used steel brackets and a very thin MDF or maybe even hardboard back. New ones use a sort of steel French cleat attached to the wall, which might give a little more freedom to place the holes, and spread the load across multiple studs
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 9:36
  • 1
    'I only plan on keeping lighter weight stuff in it': when installing, always plan to store the maximum the unit can store (if feasible). Keeps your options open down the line, and more to the point, protects the user against memory lapses/someone else doing something different/the next owner not knowing that rule. [note the 'when feasible': it looks like it is here]
    – 2e0byo
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 14:59
  • 3
    If I may... >>>> "I only plan on keeping lighter weight stuff in it (paper towels, etc) so additional 15-20 lbs at mos" Hell no. Do not put up shelves that are weak because you will limit the load on them. The house will be around long after you leave, the next owner will not know you put the shelves up to support a few rolls of toilet paper. You can't even say "I'll take 'em down when I move" because you can't control that.. you could die tomorrow. You have an obligation to future tenants to do this right or don't do it at all.
    – Kyle B
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 18:48

7 Answers 7


I would be considering two options:

  1. using larger screws into the stud.

  2. gluing a dowel into the hole in the stud, even drilling out the hole to 6mm or 8mm and then, once the glue is dried drilling a pilot hole for the new screws.

For me Option 2 is my preferred choice.

  • Thanks for the responses. At that point would the screw in dowel be strong enough to hold a cabinet and 50ish lbs? Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 6:32
  • If you do it decently well, a dowel is basically replacing the lost wood. So it'll be as strong as the original. Just make sure the drill bit size and the dowel are matches for each other. If it is "really tight", you can lightly sand the dowel. But use glue. I usually am lightly tapping (with a small hammer) the dowel in, vs hand pushing it in. While I have done this on a wall stud, I have done this several times on the underside/bottom of a furniture leg.....(where after many years of nailing in those felt pad floor protectors, the "inside" center of the furniture leg gets compromised) Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 12:37
  • 1
    Unfortunately, it seems that @getrichordiediying broke off the screw in the hole. He failed to mention this the first time around, and only included that info in an edit to the post later. How to remove the screw from the hole would be perfect fodder for a whole new question, except that we've got dozens of "how do I remove a broken screw from a hole" questions already, so he should probably just search for the answer for that.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 19:19

Continuing from Solar Mike's excellent answer:

  1. Use a longer screw. However, one must be sure that there is no electrical or plumbing behind that point that could be penetrated by the longer screw.

  2. Put the screw somewhere else vertically. It may mean drilling a hole in the back of the cabinet to run the screw through instead of using the predefined hole. However, this shouldn't be a concern, as the cabinets I installed didn't have any holes in them at all and I had to make my own screw holes in them. Of course, if this is a cardboard-backed cabinet, that won't work, but there is no indication of whether this is the case or not.

Based on the second image posted and the updated description:

I would not rely on just the bottom hole on one side of the cabinet. The cabinet acts as a lever trying to pull the screw out of the wall. The lower the screw is, the longer the lever pulling against it. At the top, you've got a very short lever arm and not as much force, lower down, you've got a longer arm and thus more force. I'd suggest using both top & bottom holes.

Since the back of the cabinet is steel you can easily drill a new hole through it near the existing hole, then drive your screw through the new hole and directly into the stud. I would move the mounting bracket down to meet the new hole. Since the bracket is also designed to screw into the side rail of the cabinet, I would use the holes in the bracket as a template to drill new holes into the side rail of the cabinet and screw it in its new, lower position.

Since your screw snapped, you'll need to get new screws. I suggest that you get "cabinet" screws. They are designed for holding well in wood and have a built-in washer to help spread the load across the back of the cabinet wall instead of just the small point of a "regular" screw head.

Also, you mention "only" storing a few light items up to 10KG in this cabinet. That's all well and good until you forget and start loading it up with dishes, or run out of space and need to put some liquids up there, or you move out and the next person doesn't know you've done a rubbish job of installing the cabinet. If you're going to do this, DO IT RIGHT!

  • 2
    +1 to ‘watch out for wire and plumbing’. The thing about adding a screw vertically is that you probably aren’t in the hanging rail any more, or are close to the weak edge of that rail. I’d back up that screw with another one in the adjacent stud. Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 14:13
  • 5
    +1 for #4, I would have done that and not even mess with anything else. 1/2" to 3/4" up or down or even setting the screw at a slight angle left or right in the original hole would do the trick
    – Jack
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 14:58
  • 3
    As this is an ikea cabinet, it is most likely cardboard-backed.
    – arne
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 16:14
  • Very valid point, @arne. I've got some IKEA floor standing cupboards with cardboard backs, but they've got metal brackets that go into the corners, sides and top for the screws that anchor the tops to the wall (tip protection). I've never looked at their kitchen cabinets in enough detail to know if they're constructed differently. I'd like to think they are, but... who knows.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 16:17
  • 1
    My IKEA kitchen cabinets came with a whole hanging rail system, which looks nothing like the OP's picture.
    – Martha
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 17:20

There's a further option not mentioned above, and one that may suit someone less handy:

  1. Use a solid wall anchor or threaded insert. Using an anchor or insert would allow you to continue to use the existing hole in the cabinet. There's plenty of variations of wood anchors but options include Screw-it-Again and EZ Lok threaded inserts. The Screw-it-Again anchors can hold 135lb so that should be sufficient for your cabinet, and I haven't seen load capacity for threaded inserts but I assume it is significantly higher. If choosing threaded inserts make sure they are flush and are self-tapping.
  • 2
    Most wall-mounted furniture I've gotten from IKEA usually comes with a set of drywall anchors specifically for this purpose. If it didn't, you should tell them and they'll probably give you a set for free. Otherwise, they're pretty cheap at most hardware box stores. Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 20:32
  • 2
    @DarrelHoffman Having just put up a wall-mounted IKEA cabinet, they didn’t give me screws for wall mounting and specifically refused to do so on the grounds that there are too many different types of walls and the needs for any given one are going to be different, and they couldn’t take the liability for giving someone the wrong set of screws.
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 3:39
  • 1
    @DarrelHoffman light stuff might come with something generic, but drywall anchors won't hold a kitchen cupboard full of tinned food (for example) so you need to go into the stud (or masonry behind if it's a dry lining on a solid wall, as I have on my outside walls)
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 9:42
  • Mine didn’t come with wall screws. I believe IKEA’s general stance is to not provide because they don’t want to be held liable for people using them to install in the wrong materials and subsequent issues from that (people like me). Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 20:14

Assuming that to the right in the photo is “the other cabinet” you mentioned, you probably don’t want this approach and should use one of the other answers, since you’d probably have to redo that. But this will definitely work, and if I assume incorrectly and you haven’t put up the other cabinet yet (or for other readers in a similar situation but who haven’t put up any cabinets yet), it might be the best answer.

IKEA sells a rail for wall mounting, the Sektion. It comes at a fixed length and you’ll have to cut it down to size, but you can put several cabinets on one rail. Then the cabinets can be affixed to the rail—it’s far easier to level the rail than it is a cabinet, and the rail ensures that all of the cabinets are even. And in this case, you would also gain a lot of back-up support for the one weaker point. Probably still worth taking notes from other answers to improve what you have there, but it would add a lot of additional strength to this situation.

  • A French cleat could be used similarly. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 13:23
  • I did already install the other cabinet so hoping to have to redo that. Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 6:36
  • Everything else on this page except, 'you're gonna need a bigger screw' is worthless compared to this answer; a bunch of talk by a bunch of people who obviously don't install these for a living. You need the rail, the special square leveling lock washers that come with it, and screws they don't give you of a diameter that can't snap no matter how hard you try.
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 23:05

"Update: this is a BROR cabinet so it’s a steel material. [...] I was going to use the bottom set of holes to attach to the wall. Is it ok to do that? I only plan on keeping lighter weight stuff in it (paper towels, etc) so additional 15-20 lbs at most."

To add to other answers, another reason why it is absolutely wrong to only use the bottom holes is that you are effectively creating a trap. This is a steel cabinet that looks like a strong heavy cabinet that can take books or bottles or other reasonably weighty materials.

By only weakly attaching it to the wall, you are creating a dangerously disguised time bomb that will fall down on anybody who puts anything heavier than paper towels in it. It could be you in a moment of forgetfulness, or later when you've returned from a trip away, it could be your partner or visiting family or friends or children. How are they supposed to know that a steel cabinet attached to the wall is only strong enough for paper towels?

Anything attached to the wall must be capable of taking the weight that it looks capable of taking. Honesty in appearances is an important part of safety. Things should not look safer than they actually are.

  • Thanks for the warning and education on it. Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 16:35

If you use the middle set of holes instead of the top one, traction load on the screw (red) will be about double with the same weight in the cupboard( blue). That's due to leverage.

enter image description here

How about just driving the screw into the stud at an angle to dodge the damage done by the previous accident?

enter image description here

  • I can do this….seems much simpler than trying to do some of the other suggestions above. Any potential downsides to this? Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 20:09
  • If the screw is at an angle it might be a bit harder to adjust the height of the bookshelf, but if you start with this one and adjust the others, it'll be fine...
    – bobflux
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 22:24
  • W/o the washers that come with the rail you're supposed to be using, adjustment may be difficult if not impossible, and with questionable longevity.
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 23:22

Why would you have to use the same fixing place? Follow the stud, and screw in at least 2" away from that hole!

  • Because IKEA stuff made for mounting on a rail (two brackets with half inch holes in them, and special washers) gives you no option unless you move the bracket, which would require a drill press or more dexterity than I have, to not penetrate the side wall. There's also an answer here explaining that lowering the bracket is a safety concern.
    – Mazura
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 23:32
  • The BROR cabinets do not have any railing component to use. In the instructions they recommend using screws. Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 16:23
  • I thought of moving the hole down but reading this I learned that you can only move it down so much vs the other one. Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 16:36
  • @getrichordiediying - I'd be moving the fixing down by a couple of inches, and if the stud is vertical, putting another couple of screws through slightly lower. A sign on the door will stop most people overloading it, but that will never make it idiot-proof. But there again, what will..?
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 17:02

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