I need to hang a rack on a pantry wall, the other side of which has a light-switch. The rack will be holding quite a bit of weight (well-distributed, and close to the wall, though), and I need to install drywall anchors at several (~9, maybe less) points along the vertical extent of the rack:

However, there's a light-switch on the other side of the pantry's (thin) wall. It's not precisely where the drywall mounts would need to be installed, but it's close enough to worry me in my inexpertise:

The wiring for the switch appears to run vertically from the switch (it controls a light in the inner wall of the pantry itself, so that makes sense.):

So: Can I safely drill for, and install, shallow (but metal.) drywall anchors for this thing? How can I do so in the safest way? I've got a wireless voltage-sensor, but it doesn't pick anything up anywhere on the wall even with that light turned on, so that's no help.

  • My wireless voltage sensor has two settings. If you hold the power button down for a few seconds it switches to the high-sensitivity setting and can detect voltage through sheetrock. Also, be sure the pantry light switch is on!
    – Paul
    May 2, 2015 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


Position the rack so you can screw into the studs. If that is not practical then mount a sheet of decent thickness plywood onto the wall surface and fasten that to the studs wherever possible. The rack can then mount onto the plywood. If you use a plywood that is 3/4' inch (19 or 20mm) thick then the screws for the rack need not even penetrate the drywall at all.

BTW. It is generally (if not always) discouraged to mount anything that will carry significant weight just on drywall anchors.

  • 1
    Careful. You can still hit a wire when screwing to a stud. Select your screw length so that it does not exceed 1-in penetration into the stud. Wires are required to be 1-1/4 inch (in the US anyway) back from the back face of the sheetrock. Or get a better current detector.
    – Paul
    May 2, 2015 at 16:16

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