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Mounting Tips & Tricks: Getting Started

Gallery Wall

If you go by the artfully hung gallery walls, shelves, art, and TVs you see on Instagram, everyone seems to be blessed with impeccable mounting skills. But for most of us, securely hanging and aligning everything just right involves a never-ending series of desperate maneuvering. That’s why mounting is one of the most popular tasks on TaskRabbit.

We asked elite Taskers Isaac S. and Nick C. to share their top mounting tips and tricks. In part 1, Isaac and Nick cover what you should have in your toolbox, how to determine your wall type, the basic structure of a wall, and what to tell your Tasker to make your mounting task a breeze.

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Here’s what you need in your toolbox:

  • Safety first! Eye protection and a face mask rated N95 or higher, as these have a strong filter to help protect from dust that can come from drywall drilling.
  • Ear protection (if drilling through concrete).
  • A stud finder — a more reliable tool thank the knuckles-on-wall method.
  • Drill and bits. Different wall types will require different drills and bits, which makes understanding your wall type all the more essential.
  • Mounting hardware (bolts, drywall anchors, and screws).
  • Tape measure. Measure twice, drill once.
  • Spirit level. Isaac recommends getting one with a laser, which helps you stay as accurate as possible with alignment.
  • A strong magnet in case you’re having trouble finding studs.

The nice-to-haves:

  • A pencil or blue painter’s tape for marking the spot where your items will go on the wall.
  • Hammer — unless you’re using picture hanging nails, hammers aren’t generally needed but are good to keep on hand, just in case.
  • Extra mounting hardware
    • For certain items, it’s good to prepare yourself with extra pieces of mounting hardware to anticipate missing or broken pieces.
  • A multi-setting stud-finder for finding pipes or metal in the wall.
  • Spackle to fill in any unwanted holes.
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Art mounted by Tasker Isaac S.

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Figuring out what type of wall you’re dealing with is a crucial first step. While our Taskers could never cover all the intricacies of residential construction here, they’ll give you a basic overview of the most common wall types you might encounter and what hardware you’ll need for each type.

  • Drywall: Won’t be too flaky when drilled into.
  • Lathe & Plaster: Will be flaky when drilled into, and create more dust.
  • Concrete: Sometimes hidden underneath wallpaper or paint. To check, knock on the wall first. If it’s solid and hurts your knuckles, it’s most likely concrete. Remember, in order to drill into concrete, you need a hammer drill and special drill bits.
  • Brick & Masonry: Brick is relatively recognizable and usually will be exposed. That said, while it’s rare to have brick behind drywall, sometimes it does happen. If this is the case, your pilot hole will tell you instantly. To mount on brick and masonry, you should have a concrete drill bit.
  • Cinder Block: Falls into the masonry category. In some cases, a toggle bolt can be used for this.

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Walls are often built by hanging drywall or other surface material onto studs, which are vertically placed supports that are spaced roughly 16–24 inches (40–60 cm) apart.

Studs can be wood or metal. The difference matters! Wood studs are fairly easy to deal with. They are usually 2 inches (5 cm) wide, giving you a bit of leeway when it comes to finding the center point to drill into. Metal studs are narrower than wood studs, and they also may require a bit more pressure when you’re driving a self-tapping screw. 

Drywall panel over wooden studs is the most classic wall type you’ll come across. It’s most common in homes and buildings under three stories and in older buildings. Each stud is 1 ½ inches (4 cm) wide and 3 ½ inches (9cm) deep with drywall screwed directly onto them. It’s easy to mount on this surface because you just drill straight into the wooden studs.

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Shelves mounted for @forwardfeatures by Tasker Nat J.

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Does all of the above complicated? It can be, which is why mounting is one of the most popular tasks people get done with the help of a Tasker. Here’s helpful information to have on hand when communicating with your Tasker.

  • What type of wall do you have? Most walls are drywall, plaster, lathe, concrete, cinder block, masonry, or brick. If you’re not sure, send some photos to your Tasker to confirm.
  • What room in the house will the mounting take place?
  • Do you have a ladder, or should your Tasker bring one?
  • Is there furniture that will need to be moved out of the way? If there’s furniture beneath the item the Tasker will be mounting that can’t be moved, do you have blankets to protect the furniture during the task?
  • How high off the ground should the item be mounted?
  • Should the item be centered? If so, what should it be centered in relation to?

Ready to create the gallery wall, shelf, or TV setup of your dreams? Make it easy with the help of a Tasker.

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