How to Fix and Drill in Plasterboard? Choosing The Right Plasterboard Fixings

Last updated: January 31, 2024

Do you want to hang a picture on your wall but aren’t sure how to screw it into the plasterboard? We can assure you that you should never screw directly into the plasterboard! Regardless of whether the screw feels tight and strong at first, it will soon start to come straight out of the wall. This method of fixing provides no strength, and the screw will fall out as soon as you put weight on it.

Plasterboard walls come in various styles, as do the screws and fixings used to mount objects to them. To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together this guide to provide you with all the information you need about drilling into plasterboard walls.

What is Plasterboard?

Plasterboard Wall

Plasterboard is a calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum) panel that is typically pressed between a facer and a backer. Used to build interior walls and ceilings, it has recently gained popularity as a faster alternative to traditional lath and plaster. Plasterboard can also be referred to as gypsum board, drywall, wallboard, or wall panels. Read more about it here.

How to Drill, Screw and Fix in Plasterboard?

It can be difficult to hang and attach things to plasterboard since it cracks easily if you don’t use the right fixings. Nails, for example, may not penetrate the surface, and they tend to leave cracks if they do make it through the plaster. Drilling a hole in plaster safely prevents cracking around the hole area while minimizing the amount of plaster dust kicked up.

A suitable fixing must be used when drilling and screwing into the plasterboard. The type of fixing depends mainly on the weight of the item you are hanging. However, you must also ensure that there are no cables or pipes in the cavity behind this wall that can be damaged.

You’ll need the following tools:

Makita DHP482Z LXT 18V Cordless Combi Drill (Body Only)


Imex LD100 Laser Detector


Wall Plug


N-Durance 20oz One Piece Steel Shaft Claw Hammer


Irwin Strait-Line STL66300 Carpenter's Pencil


Stanley 130696N 5m/16ft Tape Measure




Step-by-Step Drilling Instructions:

  1. Choose a location on the wall where you want to hang your item.
  2. Then use the wall detector to ensure that there is nothing behind the well that can be damaged.
  3. Mark the location to be drilled with the help of the tape measure and the pencil.
  4. Insert the correct drill bit size into your drill (see the fixing packet for the correct size). Use a wood drill bit rather than a masonry drill bit, and make sure the hammer action on your drill is turned off. Then, carefully align the bit with your pencil mark and begin drilling. Drilling for a few seconds is required to make a hole in the plasterboard.
  5. Insert the wall plug into the drilled hole until it is perfectly flat with the wall. If you used the correct drill bit size, it should be a tight fit. If necessary, gently tap in the plug with the hammer. Then insert the screw into the plug (using a screwdriver), leaving it slightly sticking out to accommodate the item you are hanging.
  6. Voalá! You can now safely hang your item (Remember to use the appropriate fixing for its size and weight – see more below).

Plasterboard Fixing Kits:

Gripit Mirror Kit Clam Pack

Gripit Mirror Kit Clam Pack

Gripit Shelf Kit Clam Pack

Gripit Shelf Kit Clam Pack

Gripit TV Kit Clam Pack

Gripit TV Kit Clam Pack

Types of Plasterboard Fixings

Wall Anchors


Wall anchors, also known as metal cavity fixings, are ideal for attaching anything that requires a strong brace, such as lights, towel and curtain rails. They expand their arms, swinging open and press into the opposite side of the board. Wall anchors can be installed using a cordless or standard screwdriver and with a special installation tool.

Self-Drive Screws

Self-Drive Screw

Unless you’ve chosen a spot of plasterboard with a timber stud, self-drive fixings don’t need to be drilled. Self-driver screws are used for lightweight objects and have a sharp tapered tip that can create its own hole. This allows you to use a screwdriver to install them directly into the plasterboard before inserting a small screw to provide a firm fix for the object.

Wall Plugs

Wall Plug

Wall plugs are low-cost, easy-to-use fixings best suited for lighter objects, such as small mirrors and paintings. For the plug to fit properly, you must drill a hole into the wall just a little smaller than the plug itself. Plasterboard plugs are similar products that are generally shorter and wider.

Spring Toggles

Spring Toggles

This plasterboard fixing is best suited for light to medium loads. It is equipped with a collapsible triangular plastic toggle that is inserted through a pre-drilled hole in the plasterboard. This bounces back up and towards the plasterboard, spreading the load and ensuring a strong hold. Once the spring toggle is mounted to the wall, you can insert a screw into the body and attach objects to the wall.

GRIP IT Fixings

Grip it Fixing

The GRIP IT is one of the newest fixing products on the market, and it comes from a company founded by the youngest person ever to win investment on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. Like the other fixings discussed above, it must be inserted into a pre-drilled hole in the plasterboard. However, the main difference is that you must insert a screwdriver into the coloured plastic at the front to turn the metal wings at the back, which will secure it. This fixing is best suited to larger objects and typically requires wall openings larger than 18mm.

Gripit Plasterboard Fixings Multi Pack (16 Pieces)

Gripit Plasterboard Fixings Multi Pack
(16 Pieces)

Grip Plasterboard Fixings Assorted Kit 
(32 Pieces)

Grip Plasterboard Fixings Assorted Kit
(32 Pieces)


How do I find a suitable location for drilling into plasterboard?

Use a stud finder to locate the wooden studs behind the plasterboard. Mounting heavy items is generally more secure when anchored to the studs.

Can I use regular screws for plasterboard?

While regular screws can be used, it’s recommended to use screws specifically designed for drywall. These screws often have coarse threads and may have a bugle head to prevent tearing the paper on the plasterboard.

How do I prevent plasterboard from crumbling when drilling?

To minimize damage, use a sharp drill bit and apply gentle, even pressure. Avoid excessive force, which can cause the plasterboard to crumble. You may also consider using masking tape over the drilling location to provide additional support.

We hope this guide has provided you with all the required information and that you feel confident in selecting the best plasterboard fixings based on the objects you’re fixing and the necessary load support.

We offer a broad selection of fixings and fasteners designed to work well with various materials and for various tasks.