Fixings - The Complete Guide to All the Different Types of Fixings

Summary: There are lots of different types of fixings - Screws, nails, bolts, wall plugs, mesh, hooks, eyes, hammer fixings and pipe fittings. This projects explains the differences and help you understand which fixing should be use on which project.

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Some of these fixings you will be familiar with, others you may have never seen before. The idea is to give you an idea of what is available and how to use it. They are in no particular order and some, such as the first two, have many uses.

Expanded metal lathe and galvanised strip

Expanded metal lathe and galvanised strip

Above Image Top : Expanded metal lathing. This comes in sheets or rolls of varying widths from 2 inches to 12inches. Its primary use is for fixing to non pourus or in fact, non masonry, surfaces in order to plaster or render them. The mesh, which is galvanised to avoid rust, is fixed securely to the structure and the plaster or render applied over it. For a demonstration, please see our projects page and go to the garden project, where this material formed the basis for our cave.

Above Image Bottom: Galvanised strap. One of the more versatile fixings in the trade. Can be used for fixing roof timbers in place, holding door frames to masonry, cut into washers, the list goes on.

Different types of fixings

Different types of fixings

Above Image Far Left: A self tapping Ankerbolt. Drill the required diameter hole and screw it in with a spanner. Expensive, but very handy for a solid wall.

Above Image Centre: Screw eye. The same principle as a curtain hook or eye, but heavy duty! Uses include tying the bottom of ladders to the wall and securing the top of ladders to the facia. A very safety minded weapon!

Above Image Top Right: A tingle, or disc rivet. Used for fixing the bottom of man made roofing slates so they are not lifted by the wind.

Above Image Bottom Right: Black japanned screw: Japan is an extremely hard varnish used to protect the screw against the elements. For this reason, black japanned fixing are used in garden gate furniture etc.

Variety of nails

Variety of nails

Above Nails: Starting Left: Wire nail, the universal nail with a medium head that comes in many sizes up to 6 inch. next is a "cut nail," cut from steel, its square section gives it a larger surface area and a better hold in soft masonry and mortar. This nail is also used as a "flooring brad" and is less likely to split wood. Next a "polypin" these are used specifically for fixing plastic facia boards and cladding. the annular, shank gives it a good hold in timber and stops it working loose with the contraction and expansion of the materials it connects. Next is a "lost head", which as its name implies, can be driven into the timber and with a small head can easily be punched below the surface of the timber. Next is a "galvanised wire" multiple uses but primarily external as the galvanised finish will protect against rust. Next is an "oval" used in carpentry because its cross section makes it unlikely to split the timber especially if you tap the point and blunt it a little. Next "masonry nail" Hardened steel for fixing to bricks, blocks and even concrete. Next, "galvanised clout" These are used when a fixed surface will come into contact with water..Fixing plasterboard is sometimes done with these although there is a special jagged "plasterboard nail" which is galvanised without the large head. Also used to hold roofing felt in position. Next. "Copper clout" Mostly used for slate roofing. Next." Sealing roofing nail" Almost the same as the "Polypin" but the head is flexible and will seal over roofing sheets. Next. "panel pin" Small nail used for securing light pieces of timber.

There are also "Annular ring nails" Which are essentially wire nails with rings around the shank which act to hold the timber more firmly in position. Mostly used to secure timber floors.

Different types of "Pin nails" include upholstery pins, with a large rounded head for securing fabrics. "Carpet tacks" "hardboard pins" "glazing pins" and many kinds of "staple"

Variety of Wall Plugs

Wall plugs

Above: Basic "wall plugs" differing in diameters they are placed into pre-drilled hole and accept a screw by allowing the thread to cut its way into the plastic.

Screw head cups

Screw head caps

Above: Screw head cups and covers. Used when the head of the screw cannot or must not be hidden by conventional means.

Larger fixings

Larger fixings

Above: Larger fixings. From left, small nut & bolt, "Gutter bolt", the hexagon under the head fits into a recess and tops the head moving while the nut is done up. The round head allows the free flow of water over it. "Coach Bolt" For timber fixing, generally a pilot hole is required to stop the timber splitting. "Wing nut" An easy to turn fixing. "Roof bolt" A fibre washer bites down on the surface of the roofing material to keep it water tight.

Pipe brackets and cable clips

Pipe brackets and cable clips

Hammer and frame fixings

Hammer and frame fixings

The hole is drilled in the frame, the whole fixing is inserted and the screw is hammered through the frame into the masonry. There is also a different "frame fix" screw which looks almost the same but is screwed, rather than hammered in. "Chemical thread" This is a threaded bar with a hexagonal end. It is screwed into a hole after the insertion of a chemical resin. The last three are commonly called Wrall bolts or Fischer fixings after the main fixing manufacturers. A pre-drilled hole accepts these bolts, whos outer sheath expands an the nut is tightened. Good for heavy duty fixing of timbers etc to masonry.

Polyester resin fixing

Polyester Resin Fixing

Above: Polyester Resin Fixing! Brilliant for holes that keep breaking away when you are trying to get a fixing. Squeeze the contents into predrilled and cleaned holes, (It mixes with its own hardener in a spiral nozzle) and insert the threaded bar. Goes harder than the masonry itself and does not take long to cure. Works with vertical fixings as well as horizontal. If the masonry is in really bad condition a meshed sleeve can be used to avoid wastage. Quite pricey but..if all else fails.....

Easy driva, self tapping and butterfly plasterboard fixing

Easy driva, self tapping and butterfly plasterboard fixing

Plastic spring toggle, hollow wall anchor and holow wall plug plasterboard fixings

Plastic spring toggle, hollow wall anchor and holow wall plug plasterboard fixings

Above Top Image: Plasterboard Fixings. Left "easy driva" a metal or nylon fixing, the main section of which simply screws in to the plasterboard after making a small hole. The large thread makes it, in our opinion, the easiest and strongest plasterboard fixing. The screw next to it is "self tapped" which means that it cuts its own thread. These screws go into the middle of the main driva fixing...Next, "spring or butterfly toggle" This needs a hole large enough for the wings to go through. They spring open at the back of the plasterboard and as you tighten on the screw, the "job" is clamped between board and screw. Next, "plastic self spring toggle". A large hole is drilled. The triangle is pushed together and passed through the hole, the screw then passes through the end of the toggle, into the point of the triangle, which has sprung open, and tightening the screw draws the point of the triangle to the back of the board, trapping the fixing.

Above Bottom Image: "hollow wall anchor" Exactly the same principle but the flexible metal body of the fixing is crushed against the back of the board by the turning of the screw. Right, the "hollow wall plug" Pushed into its hole, the screw opens up the end of this fixing, forcing the two lugs against the back of the board.

Please note that plasterboard comes in two thicknesses, half and three eighths of an inch. Some of these fixings are not for dual thickness so check you have the right size for your wall.

Timber spike plates

Timber Spike Plates

Above: Timber "spike plates" The top one is used for strengthening butt joints and the bottom one is squashed between two timbers that have been screwed or bolted together.

Together with the correct fixing also ensure that you have the correct tools - ensure that you have a suitable screwdriver (preferably electric), suitable drill bits that are sharp and of a range of sizes and a suitable selection of drill bits and a drill bit holder (check out our drill bit holder review for more information).

Why not check out our video section on fixing to brickwork and watch a couple of films on favourite drywall anchors and how to hang heavy objects that show some ways to use wall fixings.

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