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Hanging Things on Metal Studs

We often say that heavy objects that need to be hung on the wall must be attached directly into a stud. When you have steel studs, this can require special blocking before the wall is built -- or special attachment tactics if you want to go directly into the steel stud without wood blocking.

Learning Curve 30

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Stacy on December 30, 2023 08:02

I would like to install batten boards on a wall with metal studs. The boards are 1 in thick. What should I use to attach the boards to the wall?

Hello Stacy,
The fastener you use will depend on the weight it has to carry. For instance, if the battens were to carry an old style plaster application, that would spread the weight evenly over all the fasteners, and ordinary drywall screws would be adequate. If your battens are just decorative and carrying only their own weight, again ordinary drywall screws or better yet, sheet metal screws long enough to go at least half an inch into the steel stud would suffice. ( Sheet metal screws have wider bearing on the screw threads than drywall screws.)

If you are hanging things on the batten boards, then you would need fasteners rated to carry the whole weight of about two feet of wood plus your thing being hung with just two screws (spanning two studs). All Molly bolts and toggle bolts have weight per fastener ratings right on the box. If you are hanging a TV support, then put rated fasteners in the location of the TV, and ordinary drywall or slightly better sheet metal screws on the rest of the wall.

(How do you weigh a thing like a TV that might not register on your bathroom scale? Stand on the scale with the TV in your arms and note the weight. Stand on the scale without the TV and note the weight. Substract the two weights and you have the weight of your TV.)

Hope this helps -- Jon

Lyman on June 12, 2022 07:36

Hi there

I would like to attach a live edge piece of wood 6' long and 2" thick to the wall to make a floating shelf. The problem I am having is that the studs are steel. The shelf will be about 10" deep. I've read about opening up the wall and putting wood blocking. How does one install the blocking? Any information would be greatly appreciated :)

Hello Eldee,
You were one video away from your answer -- I have just changed the title to include your shelves.
See Wood Bracing for Doors, Windows, Cupboards and Shelves.

The video is working on bare studs – not a finished wall. You will have to open the wall enough to add in the receiving steel stud. One suggestion is to slide in both the receiving stud section and the plywood together, then screw the receiving stud to the existing stud. Otherwise you would have to open the wall much larger just to slide in the plywood. You could install a flat 2x6 or even 2x8 rather than a plywood which might be more appropriate for a heavy shelf.

Two working suggestions, is to attach a strong cord to the new wooden backing so if you happen to drop it, it won’t slide down to the bottom of the wall and you can pull it back up into position for screwing into place. And make a finger or hand hole in the plywood to allow you to manipulate it until it gets screwed into place.

That should work


Selina on October 16, 2021 00:48


I am having an unusual issue hanging a flat screen on a wall with metal studs. I have hung many televisions on metal studs but this is a first. I drilled the 1/2 holes for the toggle bolt however there isn't enough room on the other side of the wall to completely insert the bolt. I've also tried the driller toggles (I use these when there is insulation in the wall). When I try to insert either bolt they 'hit bottom' as if there is another metal stud in the way.

The metal in the wall looks flat not a pipe of any kind.

It's an inside bedroom/bedroom wall.

It's not a horizontal stud as it spans the 12" I have holes for the single stud mount.

The metal feels soft however that is a wild opinion.

I cannot think of anything else that may help.

Hello Selina,

You may have to mount a piece of plywood that spans two studs and can be attached with at least 6 sheet metal screws or more if the TV is heavy. The sheet metal screws only need to penetrate the metal for about half an inch to get a good grip. The holes in the wood should let the screws spin freely so all the tension is between the wood and the stud. Then attach the screen mount to the wood with wood screws.


David F Rogers (Aerospace Engineer) on January 20, 2021 11:07


The toggle bolt into the steel stud is all well and good, but...

How do you hang a picture hook on a steel stud using a toggle bolt?

To do that you need a hook with a plate that first goes on the toggle bolt
screw, plus perhaps a fender washer. Then in screw the toggle back onto
the screw and proceed as shown in the video.

Where do you find such a hook with a plate?

Hello David,
Good point. Here is one picture hanger with a wide base that could be used, just use the hole and leave out the nails:

You could also drill a very small hole through the steel stud and use a MONKEY HOOK- developed since this video was made – they are amazingly strong:


Xandria on January 18, 2021 14:53

I'm a first time home owner and I'm trying to hang a mirror on a stud in my bathroom. I went to drill and stud shaved my drill bit completely. I'm presuming this means I have metal/steel studs? And if that's the case, will I have to use this toggle bolt everytime I try to hang something on a stud?

Hello Xandria,

It is unusual for a stud, even a metal stud, to "shave" a drill bit as most of the twist bits are specifically made to cut through thin metal. It could be that you are drilling into a concrete or cinder-block wall. Yes masonry walls will destroy regular twist bits. If you look at the hardware store, you will find specific masonry bits with a carbide head. For easy attaching of moderately light stuff, you could use a masonry screw, often referred to as a TapCon screw -- and they generally come with their own masonry bit just the right size inside the box of screws.

Hope this helps,

Barry Moore on July 04, 2020 16:29

I want to hang some garage shelves from top of ceiling to about half way down towards floor. The back wall where I'm wanting to do this has metal studs. I want to attach a 2x4 horizontally . Do I use Butterfly Molly toggle bolt ? What size diameter and length? What size drill bit to use and also are metal studs installed just like wood studs ? thank you

Hello Barry,
For garage shelves on a 2x4 you want strong Toggle Bolts -- they are stronger than the spider like Molly bolts. You drill a hole through the 2x4 the diameter of the bolt, and a hole through the drywall and steel stud much larger as stated on the box of bolts itself. Each package tells you how much weight it will hole -- in a garage, make it strong -- let's say as strong as you can find in the store. As for the length you need to have the thickness of the 2x4 (1-1/2") plus the drywall (1/2" or more) plus a tiny bit for the steel stud, plus the length of the wing when it is folded tight against the screw. It needs this extra length to be able to push through the wall and then open up. You will need to drill all your holes first in the 2x4, then hold that to the wall and drill into the drywall just enough to locate the centre of all the larger holes on the wall. Install all the bolts in the 2x4, then work on pushing them all through the wall before tightening any of them. Try to line the wings up so they will line up vertically with the stud to open without obstructions.

Watch the video carefully and you will understand all of that.
go for it -- jon

David on May 25, 2020 14:50

Very concise and helpful!

Gio on October 06, 2017 10:24

How much weight can each toggle bolt carry? I am thinking of hanging a headboard on my wall, on metal studs, but not sure it will carry.

Hi Gio,

On an existing wall and using a fastener that opens up wings or spider legs on the other side of the metal, the fastener will carry the weight described on the package when you bought it. That weight is calculated according to the diameter of the screw and the strength of the nut – the metal stud will spread out the load over a larger area of the drywall, in addition to the strength of the stud itself. So you can rely on what is rated on the package. If you have a headboard over the carrying weight of the toggle bolt -- use two bolts -- the weights add together with each bolt carrying half the weight of the headboard.

wade Nelson on April 08, 2015 15:32

Excellent video. Have NEVER seen such a short, concise "how-to" on ANY remodel subject. Thank you!

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