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I live in an apartment with a very high ceiling/wall. I'd like to hang a few DIY Rockwool acoustic panels on it to help fill the empty wall space and to cut the reverberation. These panels weigh about 15 lbs each. My initial thought was to get a nice-looking piece of long 1x4 whitewood and run it across the wall with screws going into studs, and use that as a secure hanging point for the panels. However, I want to minimize the number and size of holes I have to repair eventually when I move out.

Supposedly, there are picture hooks/hangers rated for 20 lbs or more (example: https://www.amazon.com/Picture-Hangers-Gallery-Pictures-Painting/dp/B075FC3W9L/). The nails would, in theory, leave smaller holes behind than screws as long the panel does not end up ripping it and a chunk of the drywall out.

So my question is, would a single 20 lb rated picture hook really be safe enough to use in drywall (not a stud) for my 15 lb panel? I would probably use two anyway to be safe and spread the weight, but I'm curious if a single hook really is enough.

The wall (yes, I know the lights aren't centered):

enter image description here

One of the acoustic panels:

enter image description here

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    I think you grossly overestimate the number of screws into studs you'd need to support the weight of a few of these panels and the amount of damage/size of hole they'd make in comparison to a nail. Sure, a screw hole is bigger than a nail hole, but you're using screws not lag bolts. Most apartments are repainted between tenants, and so long as you patch the holes, the landlord won't complain. Many won't even complain if you don't patch the holes, so long as they're not large or excessive.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 9, 2022 at 19:49
  • Agree with FreeMan. Patching 2-3 screw holes is better than a bunch of angled nail holes and you'd have more confidence in hanging the panels from a 1x4 (or whatnot). Peace of mind is worth it.
    – gnicko
    Sep 9, 2022 at 21:27
  • Lateral thought - talk to the landlord. If you agree to leave the panels on moving out, then consider installing them with small L brackets and screws. They'll never fall down even in an earthquake.
    – Criggie
    Sep 10, 2022 at 10:15

3 Answers 3

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So long as you hang the item there like a picture (put it up, perhaps adjust it, then leave it alone) angled-nail-type picture hooks do work as advertised in drywall.

If what you are hanging hangs very differently from a picture (out, not down) or is constantly being removed and replaced and fiddled with, they may fail under less loading than expected. This does not appear to be likely the case with your picture-frame-like acoustic panels.

I've not personally used them (too old-fangled) but there are rated hole-free supposedly remove-without-a-trace adhesive hangers, though I gather remove-without-a-trace does require actually reading and following the instructions for that part.

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    I wouldn't use the hole-free things (Command Strips or similar) for this job. Lots of reasons. Upvoted for "ordinary nail hooks" suggestion .. 2 of those per panel, use light weight ones with thin nails and you won't have to redecorate at all, just leave them or pull them out and the tiny holes will be barely visible.
    – jay613
    Sep 9, 2022 at 18:24
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    The adhesive hangers are useful, but I've had enough bad experiences with them damaging painted walls that I only use them on other surfaces like tile, wood, laminates, etc.
    – anjama
    Sep 13, 2022 at 14:50
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Clearly the screws are the most secure method.

There is a lot conflicting information about weight on the web.

For example A 1 1/2-inch (4d) nail driven in the stud at a 45-degree upward angle can hold as much as 20 pounds. That nail driven in the drywall can probably hold 5 pounds, which is enough for framed painting.

Framed paintings newer weigh 15 pounds, but your acoustic boards do.

Just because nails make smaller hole you still have to do same amount of work when moving out.

Still have to Fill the holes and paint over it.

Key point here is to get the matching paint, which could be hard due the aging effect of the paint.

A nail in drywall is misleading. You can pull it out with tips of your finger, meaning they do not hold much. The nail at an angle picture hooks are better, but not as safe as real wall anchors.

Drywall anchors:

drywall

They are self drilling means you do not need a drill, all you need is a Philips screwdriver.

The installation process would be, use the screw to make a pilot hole, then screw in the anchor.

Now you can sit under the panels and not wondering if the nails are still holding.

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    With normal picture hooks, like the ones linked in the question, the nail is at an angle. So pull-out strength is not really relevant (the nail head points up, the weight hanging from the hook pulls down). Not as strong as these drywall anchors, but definitely strong enough. Sep 9, 2022 at 19:20
  • @MikeBaranczak Drywall is very brittle, nails with small surface will cut it
    – Traveler
    Sep 11, 2022 at 3:38
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I'm the landlord, so here's what I tell tenants about holes (they always worry about the holes):

I don't care about holes in drywall (tiles are a different story).

Sticky stuff is much worse than a hole, because it takes forever to get it off and a large chunk of paint usually comes off with it.

If you make holes, don't patch them. That policy is the result of tenants applying "easy to use" products from the hardware store, which are sold in tube or paste form, not powder. These tend to yellow with age or be off-white which stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of a white wall. Also they're usually hard to sand flat. It's much better to use basic drywall mud, which is white, stays white, and can be sanded.

Now your landlord may care about holes more than I do, so in your case the problem is that the wall isn't white. You'll have to find the same paint, or just paint the whole thing when you leave. Well, it's not difficult to do.

I'd recommend putting a horizontal piece of wood along the wall so you can adjust the position of the panels and move them around as much as you like without having to drill every time. Screws in the studs are fine, it's the same work to patch a small hole or a slightly bigger one.

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