Earthquakes: Framed Pictures and Mirrors - Anchoring

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During an earthquake, framed pictures and mirrors that are not securely attached to walls can easily fall. Large pictures and mirrors can cause injuries when they fall and the broken glass that often results increases the potential for injury. 

One way to mount framed pictures and mirrors securely is to use long-shanked, open eye-hooks instead of traditional picture hangers. The eye-hooks must be long enough to penetrate the wall stud as well as the drywall or plaster. Eye-hooks used in this way are much less likely to pull out of the wall than picture hooks installed with nails that penetrate only the drywall or plaster. Also, an alternative to running wire across the back of the picture or mirror is to use closed eye-hooks securely screwed into the back of the frame.

Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy

  • Helps to prevent injuries to occupants
  • Helps to prevent damage to the pictures or mirrors
  • 

Tips

Keep these points in mind when you hang framed pictures or mirrors:

  • The number of eye-hooks you need for a picture or mirror will depend on its size and weight. Large pictures and mirrors will be more stable when mounted on two hooks rather than one.
  • Make sure that eye-hooks penetrate not just the wall but the studs behind it as well. Eye-hooks embedded only in drywall or plaster is likely to pull out. To be embedded deeply enough, eye-hooks should be at least 1 to 2 inches long.
  • Regardless of whether you use picture wire or closed eye-hooks on the back of the picture or mirror, make sure the hooks, screws, or other types of mounting hardware are securely attached to the frame.
  • If possible, don't hang large pictures or mirrors in places where they are more likely to fall on someone, such as over beds, chairs or couches.
  • 

Estimated Costs

The cost of mounting a picture or mirror with eye-hooks will depend on its size and weight. In general, for a large picture or mirror that requires two eye-hooks, the cost would be approximately $5. This amount covers only the hardware you will have to buy, not any tools you use or the value of your time. If you hire a contractor or handyman to do the work, you will have to pay for time as well as materials.

Technical Information Provided by FEMA





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