Getting the Most out of a Home and Garden

Quick Tips for Choosing the Right Hardware for Common Household Jobs

A hardware store can offer you many options for the small bits and pieces you need to complete common household jobs, but it can also be overwhelming when you're trying to find just the right bolt or connector. While there are many factors to consider when choosing the right hardware for common household jobs, consider a few quick tips here.

For Hanging Pictures and Other Items

A standard nail is not going to hold most items you hang on the wall, as its weight will cause the nail to tear the drywall. Toggle bolts are one of the best choices for very heavy loads such as shelves; these have a backing that will unfold and then rest along the back of the drywall, to displace the weight of the item you're hanging. To install these, you need to drill a hole the size of the bolt and slide in the toggle, then tighten the bolt. The toggle or backing will unfold and fit securely against the wall.

Screw-in anchors are also good for moderately heavy pieces; these are screws with an outer plastic piece or anchor that will displace the weight of an item. This installation is a two-step process; you use a drill to screw the anchor into the wall so that it's flush, and then insert a screw into the anchor. The head of the screw will be outside the wall. You can also insert the screw into your item to be hung and then screw this into the anchor for a more secure fit.

For Bathroom Pipe Connectors

One of the most important things to remember when choosing bathroom hardware or pipe connectors is that you need to choose the same material as the pipe. Two different metals that get wet when they come into contact with each other can cause corrosion and in turn, water leaks. A plastic connector may also not be strong enough to hold up the weight of a metal pipe, and it may pull away and again, leaks can form.

It's also important to note where the threads are located for the pipes you're connecting. If the threads are on the outside of the pipe, you need connectors with threads on the inside as these will fit over the pipe. If the threads are on the inside of the pipe, you need connectors with threads on the outside. Remember that they connectors should not only be the same size as the pipes, but also compatible as to the location of the threads.