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I hired a guy to mount my bike because I figured I needed another hand. He insisted we should use the plastic anchors the bike mount came with, despite me saying multiple times that they aren’t needed because we are drilling directly into a stud. I eventually caved and let him use the plastic anchors figuring that he knew better than me. However, Googling after the fact, I see that doesn’t make any sense and is probably far less secure.

What should I do? I was thinking about remounting it shifting each of the four screws down 1 inch, but then I worry I’m making too many holes in the stud too close together. Would they affect the structural integrity of the stud? Would it still be able to hold weight just fine?

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  • Why not just use it as is and see if it fails? Is this in the garage? Is there drywall convering the studs? How much does this bicycle weigh? Are these studs in a load bearing wall? Mar 26, 2023 at 20:07
  • So the hangers came with plastic anchors. Were there any instructions with the hardware? I once used plastic anchors into old resinous, hard studs (with IIRC 3/8" diameter holes) to mount a pair of grab bars to be used as towel bars. A teenager kept pulling out the 1970 tract house towel bars. I first tried to just put the wood screws into the studs but the wood was too hard to turn the screw in. Dont remember if I used thread lube or not, but I got frustrated and just drilled the large holes. The screws went into the plastic anchors and have held for 30 years. Of course, are not loaded. Mar 26, 2023 at 20:26
  • If the anchors are used according to instructions and they fail, that's the manufacturer's liability not the handyman's. Whereas if the handyman chooses to "freestyle it" with hardware from where? Handyman would have to go get that - then guess who bears liability. Mar 27, 2023 at 0:10

4 Answers 4

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It should be no problem remounting with new screws about an inch away.

This is assuming you haven't made holes as big as 30% of the width of the stud and your bike doesn't weigh 200 lbs.

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If you have the plastic anchors into the stud, I'd leave it for a few on/off cycles and see if the mount loosens up or stays tight.

4 screws holding <30 pounds means the screws aren't doing much work.

If, in time, you feel like the mount is loose, get 3" screws and pop them back into the same holes. (I'm assuming that the ones from the manufacturer were around 1.5".)

Edit, to incorporate very valid comment from @Freeman — be careful with 3” screws, lest you hit plumbing or wiring that didn’t get a protector plate.

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  • You might just know if the mount loosens when it bounces the bike off your car. I would absolutely remount without the plastic anchors now, for reasons outlined by DMoore.
    – isherwood
    Mar 27, 2023 at 18:17
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Most anchors (I am sure there are specific outliers made for special installs) explicitly say that they are not made for applications other than a hollow wall. Read any of the major manufacturers websites. To get an anchor in you have to drill a hole too big. That is the major issue.

For something like a bike rack it isn't the weight given there are four screws. It is the fact that you have a human(s) putting the bike on the rack and taking it off and possibly pushing down. Note that the inertia and motion against the rack far outweighs the weight as far as failure.

I am speaking of best practices here. If your mount is in a finished room I would just let it go as you don't want to poke more holes until you at least get a sign of failure - it starts getting loose. If you are in an unfinished area and don't care then remount it to the studs. The thicker the screw the better. If it is being mounted high - out of electrical paths - longer screws are better (2" is plenty long here).g

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  • I agree. Hollow-wall anchors work by expanding to be larger than the hole they were pushed through. They can't do that in solid wood, so you're left with the friction of plastic, which isn't great.
    – isherwood
    Mar 27, 2023 at 18:18
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Other answers address whether and how to remount. I would do so ASAP. Plastic plugs don't work well in wood for loads with a pull-out vector.

However, I'd like to specifically address the question of stud integrity, which comes up fairly regularly. Here are some points on that subject.

  • A common stud* is a small component in a large system.
  • The other studs share load, which is spread with the top plate(s) and the sheathing (drywall, OSB, etc.), rim joists, subfascia, etc. There's a veritable web of connections in most cases.
  • A single common stud can be severely compromised without the wall system being put in jeopardy.
  • Many studs arrive from the mill with flaws that vastly outweigh what we're talking about with a few screw holes, such as loose knots, diagonal checking, and insect damage. The worst are culled by carpenters, but they know that some flaws are unavoidable and not a problem.
  • Using rules intended for plumbing and other penetrations as general guides, we can see that a person could put many holes of substantial size in a study without concern. For example, You could drill deep half-inch holes at 1-1/2" intervals up the entire edge face of the stud and not cause a structural problem.

* As opposed to a special stud, such as a trimmer or king, which has a more substantial load duty.

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