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I have a plasterboard ceiling. I want to hang a speaker mount from the ceiling.

I have these screw plug things

enter image description here

I have already used these to hang other stuff from the same ceiling and they're currently handling about 2kg each with no problems so far, but maybe I just got lucky (and if these other objects fall down it won't be quite so expensive!) so I would like to know what a reasonable load is.

The existing 2kg-per-plug objects are a couple of metres apart from each other. The speaker plus mount apparatus comes to about 8kg so I would need at least 4 such plugs BUT the attachment point is only a few cm across so maybe having them closer together would concentrate the weight into too-small an area.

No, there is no wooden stud at a suitable location, this has to go into the plasterboard.

Is this a bad idea? Would I need to, for example, distribute the pull over a length of I-beam or something to make it stable?

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    Real plaster? That stuff is like concrete so it will probably be fine for years to come. If you're actually referring to modern gypsum drywall then I wouldn't trust being under it for prolonged periods of time.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jan 29 at 13:14
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    Do you have access above the ceiling? If yes, get up there and install some blocking which gives you somewhere to screw into properly, making this question unnecessary. Otherwise, go with tall floor stands to hold the main weight and perhaps brace that off the ceiling. Comment because not an answer.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 29 at 23:08
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    Do the people living upstairs know that you are intending to couple your loudspeaker to the structure of the building?
    – D Duck
    Commented Jan 30 at 9:12
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    @GlennWillen 20kg in shear, as used for hanging a picture on a wall, seems reasonable. 20kg in tension overhead is another matter.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 30 at 13:37
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    @GlennWillen until there's the slightest of water damage, and it's game over
    – njzk2
    Commented Jan 30 at 22:09

5 Answers 5

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Snap toggles.

A snap toggle would be perfect in this situation, most are rated for much higher weights than typical drywall anchors.

These anchors specifically say they are rated for much higher than your expected load and I can say from personal experience they are more than equipped to handle an 8kg speaker.

I have mounted all kinds of stuff with these anchors and none have failed as of yet.

Image Source: Amazon Snap toggle anchor

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    From a ceiling though? A wall I believe, but a ceiling?
    – pileofrogs
    Commented Jan 29 at 23:01
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    Typically houses are rocked with 5/8 on the ceiling and 1/2 on the walls. Same screw pattern and the weight of the speaker is roughly 16-17lbs. It is a static load. A snap toggle is more than sufficient for this usage. @pileofrogs
    – matt.
    Commented Jan 30 at 1:02
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    Snap toggles are great. The best part about them is that you can remove them without creating an even bigger hole. Speakers are a static load even though they vibrate? Commented Jan 30 at 1:52
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    @matt your "typical" inch values probably don't apply here. Unlike you the OP is working in kg, metres, and uses the term "plasterboard" rather than "drywall" or "sheetrock". Sure enough (from their profile) they're in the UK, like me. And our ceilings normally use 12.5mm (approximately ½") plasterboard. Even thinner isn't unknown.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 30 at 13:41
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    Great comment from Ronnie Childs on another answer: if the plasterboard gets wets, toggle or no toggle, the whole thing will fall.
    – njzk2
    Commented Jan 30 at 22:09
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Is this a bad idea?

Only if you want the speakers to stay in the ceiling.

Don't forget, you're not simply attaching 8kg to a ceiling made of highly compressed powder sandwiched between two pieces of paper, you're hanging 8 vibrating KG from that ceiling.

If you can't move the speakers to a point where there is wood to screw them into, then move some wood to where you want the speakers to be:

  • Attach a board/baton across two joists.
  • Screw the speakers to that wood.

Even a 3/4" (~18mm) piece of wood will have significantly more structural integrity than your plasterboard. Thicker would be better. Paint it ceiling colored to help hide it, or paint it a contrasting color and call it a "design feature".

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  • Useful to know: they sell metal brackets called joist hangers like screwfix.com/p/sabrefix-mini-hangers-50mm-x-65mm-10-pack/… for installing a new joist at right-angles to two existing ones. Also poke a small nail or screw through the ceiling from below to mark the spot above.
    – nigel222
    Commented Jan 31 at 18:01
  • I don't have an online reference but YouTube is rife with videos of people installing extra blocking between studs and joists. Take down the ceiling, install some blocking, and put the ceiling back up. If you're not worried about how it looks, hang a couple of pieces of wood or metal from the nearest joists. Commented Feb 1 at 19:24
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Depends on the quality and thickness of the plasterboard, if you hit a weak spot...

I suggest you find the studs that the plasterboard is fixed too and consider adding braces between the studs for a safer solution, just remember that it could land on your head or someone else's...

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    Bear in mind if the plasterboard somehow gets wet, any type of fastener is all but guaranteed to fail. Commented Jan 30 at 2:46
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I would like to know what a reasonable load is

Approximately 0 kg. These anchors are not designed for use in ceilings. Full stop.

The closest I got to using anchors in drywall ceiling was when I used flip toggle anchors for lightweight hanging light fixtures that weigh under 1kg. Anyone who would accidentally grab onto such a hanging fixture for regaining balance may destroy a chunk of ceiling drywall by pulling on the fixture. So IMHO it's best just not to do it.

Any sort of a light fixture, speaker, etc. that hangs on a ceiling made with drywall over joists or trusses, needs to be attached to to the structure, not to the drywall. The wood in the ceiling will be spaced around 18-24" apart or less, depending on the design. So you can easily use a stud finder and figure out where to attach to structure.

If you insist on attaching between the joists/trusses, you'll have to open a small hole in the ceiling, add a piece of wood screwed into two joists/trusses, close it up, and mount the speaker to the wood piece you installed.

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  • I've used 2 screw-in fixings at each end of a lightweight roller blind a few times (no space for toggle anchors or anything much given the construction of the window recess) - and had to repair the holes after a few years in only one case. Strangely enough not on the end with the pull cord but the other end. But that's probably ¼ of the load the OP has, and not self-vibrating. So I agree with your conclusion
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 1 at 16:03
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It's not often I have a visual representation, but here it is

Ceiling anchor fail

This was our repo house that had a bargain basement contractor brought in to slap some lipstick on and keep moving. So you replace the light fixtures for an "updated" look. There were many corners cut for the sake of money, and this was one.

This fixture wasn't that heavy, all things considered. Maybe 8-10lbs (about 3-5kg) with 4 fluorescent bulbs in it. There was barely anything to it beyond the plastic housing. At least they cranked all those wire nuts on well...

This should have been done with flip toggle bolts. The problem with the screw-in types is they are just a giant inclined plane with gravity working directly on it. For any application, this is almost always a matter of time.

I put flip toggles in and the fixture never came down by itself again. Yes, you can buy pricier things, but for light duty you just can't beat the toggle bolt. And, in my case, the old anchors had already made convenient holes for me to put the toggles in...

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