Can You Reuse Drywall Anchors?


In interior design, it is not always about the furniture and curtains you need to buy. Sometimes renovation requires a little more technical craftsmanship since the insides of the walls can be used just as well as the outside of them. Drywall anchors are a way that home renovators can anchor decorations such as hanging shelves or houseplants.

Drywall anchors are hard to reuse since they require a hole to be drilled into the wall for the screw to enter. Once through the hole, a drywall anchor expands to prevent it from being pulled back through the wall. Most drywall anchors are designed for single-use, but there are some that the anchor can be removed from the screw, allowing the screw to be reused.

Drywall anchors can be an excellent option for homeowners or renovators who want to use their wall space to attach either appliances or décor. However, it is crucial to know whether the type of drywall anchor you have is reusable or not, since trying to retrieve a single-use drywall anchor can potentially damage your wall.

Can You Reuse Drywall Anchors?

Whether a drywall anchor can be reused depends on the individual product. Some drywall anchors are designed for multiple applications, and others are not.

In the latter case, trying to reuse a single-use drywall anchor can weaken the plastic on the screw. This can lead to either the wall becoming damaged when the drywall anchor pulls loose or the item being screwed to the wall or ceiling crashing down.

Some drywall anchors can be reused as long as the screw and anchor are removed correctly. However, for the most part, you will need to invest in drywall anchors that specifically say on the label that they are removable and reusable to prevent any problems.

Reusing Traditional Drywall Anchors

The main thing to remember when reusing drywall anchors is that the plastic in the anchor can weaken with repeated use. The more the screws are used in multiple locations, the more grip the screw eventually loses as the threading on the screw becomes more and more worn.

This makes it more difficult for the drywall anchors to fit snugly into the holes they are drilled into without fitting loosely. This wiggle can eventually lead to the drywall anchor failing.

One way that you can use drywall anchors multiple times is to drill a more shallow hole into the drywall—this can allow the screws to be removed more easily, subsequently allowing them to be reused with less wear and tear. This also prevents the homeowner from having to buy reusable drywall anchors, which can be somewhat more expensive than the disposable ones.

Here are the steps you should follow to reuse a drywall anchor:

  • Using a set of pliers, grab the screw that is holding the anchor in and pull straight back on it, so it comes through the anchor. Note: This may lead to drywall damage, work with extreme caution.
  • Remove the drywall anchor and screw.

After the drywall anchor and screw have been removed, they can be reused. The drywall anchor and screw may require a larger hole during reinstallation on the second go-around, and removing a drywall anchor that isn’t designed to be removed can potentially damage your wall or ceiling. Unless you want to spackle, it generally is not a good idea.

Reusing Drywall Screws and Anchors

Unless you have a screw to hold the anchor in place that fits the drywall anchor, there is no point in attempting to remove the drywall anchor from the interior of the drywall. You are only likely to cause more damage to the wall than the drywall anchor is worth.

In many cases, the amount of effort it takes to remove the anchor is not worth the trouble to take it out, especially if you are not sure you can remove the anchor without damaging the wall in the process. It is also very easy to damage the drywall anchor itself by wrenching on it with pliers, which defeats the purpose of trying to remove it for reuse.

If you’ve already drilled the screw into the drywall anchor and want to reuse it without damaging either, one way to get it out is to drill to a point where half of the screw is out of the hole while the other half is hanging by the anchor.

At this point, pull back on the anchor and screw at the same time using pliers. This should allow you to remove and reuse both with minimal damage to the wall or ceiling. Since the screw is still on the anchor wall for support, this process can slightly wear the plastic down. The next use of the screws may require a larger drilled hole.

Buying Reusable Drywall Anchors

In the worst-case scenario, if you do end up breaking the anchors and the screws end up being loosened beyond the ability to recover, it might be time to take a trip down to the local home improvement store.

Look for the types of drywall anchors and screws that are designed to be reusable, as well as drywall anchors rated for the weight you are trying to secure to the wall. (Source: Home Depot) They will be labeled “removable” or “multi-use.” Once you invest in some of these drywall anchors, they can make your life a lot easier.

The design aspect that makes these drywall anchors reusable is that they are built with much sturdier plastic to hinge on when they are drilled onto the hole in the drywall. This allows for more reuse without wear and tear, and less skill is involved to remove the anchors without damaging the wall.

However, these anchors are more costly than traditional drywall anchors and screws. A good quality drywall anchor to invest in is known as the Molly bolt. (Source: The Art of Doing Stuff)

Reusable drywall anchors are much easier to remove in comparison to traditional drywall anchors—no pliers necessary. A drill or screwdriver can quickly get the job done. In the end, it is up to you to decide whether to invest in a reusable drywall anchor or attempt to reuse standard drywall anchors.

Recycling Old and Used Drywall Anchors

Once you’ve invested in some new drywall anchors, what do you do with the old ones? Old drywall anchors are not easy to recycle because they are made of mixed plastic parts, and if you get a higher grade of drywall anchors to replace them, there may not be much use in keeping them around.

If you have the space, keeping a few backup drywall anchors in your toolbox can be a lifesaver if you run out of anchors in the middle of a project. So, even if the old drywall anchors you have not are the best kind for multiple uses, they might be worth hanging on to just in case.

Drywall Anchors are Useful Tools

Drywall anchors are one of the most helpful things you can use in home renovation not only to attach things to walls to give yourself more storage but also to make sure that things on the wall like shelves are attached securely and safely.

While some drywall anchors can be reused, you must get the kind of drywall anchors and screws that are strong enough for your project. This will help you make sure that whatever you drill onto the wall stays on the wall. This can save you not only time and money but a bunch of extra hard work, too.

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