How Much Weight Can Studs Hold?

Are you planning to hang something on your wall, and do you want to know how much weight the wall stud can hold? You’ve come to the right place, as we have researched this question and have the answer for you.

A single screw that is driven at least an inch into a wall stud can carry up to 100 pounds. The capacity increases when the weight of the load is distributed across several screws connected to the same stud or to another stud.

Learn more about how studs are used in the construction of homes in the succeeding sections. You can also learn about the different ways to hang popular decorations on your wall. Read on!

up close photo of a dry wall studs on going construction of the house on the living room, How Much Weight Can Studs Hold?

What Is a Stud?

A stud or a wall stud is a vertical component of light-frame construction for a wall. Studs are commonly timber, and they can be vertically load-bearing or non-load bearing, like in the case of a partition wall. Studs can also be made of steel.

Studs are evenly spaced and are often installed between the plates. The horizontal space between each stud is usually 16 inches, although this distance can be less than or slightly more than 16 inches.

photo of a new construct house dry wall studs timber studs on the walls of room

The system of vertically standing studs collectively supports the top plate. The top plate, on the other hand, supports the ceiling joists—horizontal beams that support the ceiling—and the rafters. The rafters are beams that support the roof system.

Lumber for studs should be dry. Store your studs where they will not be exposed to rain. If you install wet lumber for studs, the wood can warp, twist, and bend later once it dries behind your wall.

Stud Timbers

Not all 2X2 or 2X4 lumber can be used as studs. There are specific timbers that are rated for stud use.

Wood from different breeds of trees is rated based on its load-bearing properties and resistance to deformation when under load. There is a grading system for lumber that considers the natural characteristics of wood and the imperfections that come from its manufacture.

Digital scanning and visual inspection are among the tests done to evaluate each piece of lumber before it is given the grade of stud—the lumber grade for wood that can be used as a stud for light frame construction.

Lumber grading is established by the American Lumber Standard Committee, Inc. This, in turn, is per PS20 or the Product Standard 20 of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Hanging Heavy Items on Your Wall

There are many things that people hang on walls. You can hang decor, tools, or additional storage like bookcases and kitchen cabinets.

Because of the many different items that people hang on walls, there are also many different tools and techniques that you can use. Each tool and technique has a weight capacity.

Always consider the weight of the item when deciding how to hang it on your wall. If it is a heavy item, it would be a good idea to hang it on a stud.

Here are some items that you can hang on your wall as a decoration, and the corresponding technique that you can use to install them.

Hanging Heavy Mirrors

photo of a cute healthy puppy licking a big mirror on the outside on the garden

Mirrors offer a powerful decorative touch to a room that is unique to it. Mirrors promote natural light while adding a sense of space. They can immediately add glamor to a room while enhancing existing decorations through a doubling effect.

Mirrors near windows improve natural light and easily makes a room brighter. A large mirror where natural light falls is a trick that is almost as old as modern civilization. It works nicely in any setting, though.

The natural beauty of the outdoors becomes a part of the ambiance of the room when you have a mirror close to the window. It reflects the beauty of your garden and brings its relaxing presence inside your home.

When hanging mirrors, it is important to match the frame with the existing décor. Some frames can make a large mirror heavier than it should be without the frame.

Follow the instructions below to hang your mirror. These instructions can be applied to hanging picture frames.

How to Hang a Heavy Mirror on a Wall

up close photo of a screw screwed on the dry wall studs of the room on the house

  1. Mark the height where you want to install the mirror.
  2. Trace the shape of the mirror on a piece of cardboard that is large enough to capture the size of the mirror. Use this technique if you have a heavy mirror. You don’t need to trace smaller and lighter mirrors.
  3. Cut the cardboard to get the shape of the mirror.
  4. Use the cardboard to position the mirror on your wall. Cardboard that has the shape of your mirror is easier to position on the wall than a heavy mirror.
  5. Use a level to make sure that your mirror is horizontally level. Mark the position with a light pencil.          
    • If you’re going to hang a diagonal mirror, draw a line that connects two diagonally opposite corners on the cardboard replica.
    • Line up the diagonal line with the level to make the mirror level with the horizontal.

Check out this Craftsman level on Amazon.

  1. Use a stud finder to check if you have a stud within the area where you will install your mirror.
  2. If you have a stud that lines up with the middle of your mirror, you can use a single hook to hang your mirror. Make sure that your hook goes through the drywall and buries into the stud for at least an inch.
  3. If you don’t have a stud at the center of your mirror, use mirror clips to support your mirror. Use two or more to support the mirror at the bottom. If you have a heavier mirror, use more than two. Screw the mirror clips to the drywall or the stud. Install two more mirror clips on top to provide support to your mirror.

Check out these Tatuo plastic mirror clips on Amazon.

  • Instead of using just the screws that came with the mirror clips, use a plastic anchor on the parts of the wall that doesn’t have a stud behind them.
  • Once you fasten the plastic anchor, install the mirror clip using the screw that came with the plastic anchor.

Check out these Qualihome plastic drywall anchors on Amazon.

Hanging Shelves

Shelves are an easy way to declutter your home while displaying your favorite décor. Shelves allow you to add décor to your wall that is otherwise impossible to put there by themselves. Good examples are scented candles, lamps, vases of flowers, figurines, and your favorite books.

Hanging shelves can be slightly tricky because you need to consider the weight of the items that you will place on the shelf and not just the weight of the shelf itself.

How to Hang Shelves on a Wall

photo of a man hands screwing screw on the wood using a hand drill tool

  1. Mark the height that you want to install on your shelf. If you plan to put heavy items on your shelf, it is important to install it on a stud. If you plan to use your shelf for decorations only, you can install it on the drywall if the decorations are not too heavy.
    • If you need to install your shelf on a stud, use a stud finder to locate the studs. Mark the location of the studs with a light pencil.
    • Keep in mind that studs are usually 16 inches apart. Make sure that your shelf is long enough to be supported by brackets on the studs.
  1. Use a level, a straight rule, and a pencil to make a level horizontal line to represent your shelf.
  2. Position the brackets under the line, using a level to make sure that the brackets are perpendicular to the horizontal. Mark the location of the screw holes.
    • If you’re installing a floating shelf, line up the metal strip of the floating shelf along the horizontal line and mark the screw holes.
  1. If you’re going to install the brackets on studs, you can drill pilot holes into the stud. You don’t need pilot holes for bracket installation on the drywall.
  2. Screw the brackets to the wall.
    • If you’re installing on drywall, install a drywall anchor first before you install the screw. You can use a metal drywall anchor instead of a plastic one like the one from the previous section.
  1. Install the shelf over the brackets.
  2. Screw the shelves to the brackets so that they will not accidentally slide or move if something hits them.

Check out these Ansoon Zinc drywall anchors on Amazon.


up close photo of a dry wall studs on going construction of the house on the living room

Studs are graded to be sturdy enough to provide vertical support to your roof system. If you use them to support items that you hang on a wall, a single screw on a stud can support up to 100 pounds.

Adding screws to a stud increases the capacity proportionately.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

Why Does My Drywall Keep Cracking? [And What To Do About It]

Does Drywall Go All The Way To The Floor?

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