A Revolution in Load-bearing Cavity Fixings

No more hassle and expense with compromised, tricky products, with moving parts.

There have been a number of attempts over the years to solve the enduring plasterboard fixing problem – some more successful than others.

Finally a next generation plasterboard fixing with all the advantages and none of the drawbacks. Drill. Grapple. Fix.

  • Next Generation LOAD-BEARING Cavity Fixings
  • M4, M5, M6, or M8 reusable bolts - no fiddly screws
  • Grapplefix screws into the BACK of the plasterboard and is therefore Universal
  • All plasterboard thicknesses, including double thickness boards – it doesn't matter!
  • Integrated boss screws into board so no toggles or front retaining flanges needed
  • Oversized 20mm boss so won't tear through under shear loads
  • Full-size Back-Plate so won't pull through therefore optimised for ceilings as well as walls
  • Takes HEAVIER LOADS – designed without compromise
  • 20 Second Installation
  • Design prevents spinning – no crude anti-spinning lugs required weakening the rim of the board
  • No Moving Parts. No Adjustments needed ensuring Failsafe Installation
  • No other Tools required and no Cutting Down required
  • No protruding front flange therefore easy to cover. Fixtures finish flush with plasterboard – no gaps!
  • Integrated Vapour Barrier
  • Reusable and Recyclable "metal replacement" polymers
  • 10 year guarantee against creep

Simpler, Faster, Stronger

Grapplefix represents a significant breakthrough in heavy duty plasterboard fixings. They are designed to be simpler (and therefore cheaper), quicker to install and stronger than the current leading designs, some of which have significant and fundamental shortcomings. For example, they sit on the front render and require a front retaining flange to prevent loss into the cavity, which prevents items from being attached directly to the plasterboard. This is problematic both from a cosmetic and structural perspective. Most struggle with more demanding ceiling installations, which require additional strength under lateral (“pull-through”) load rather than just in shear (e.g. downward force in a wall) and where more than one bolt may be required.

Grapplefix utilises larger hole sizes to prevent "tear-through" but also exploits this access opportunity to enable not only a back plate to pass through (as with the current captive-toggle devices) but also (and uniquely), an attached chamfered circular boss, which sits securely in the back of the board. Grapplefix therefore not only benefits from a full-sized back plate, but also an over-sized boss that prevents “tear through”. However, because the boss is integrated, there is no need for a toggle or front retaining flange and this combination is what makes Grapplefix uniquely strong in both lateral and shear planes. The fixing simply screws (self-taps) into the rear of the plasterboard and is retained by the back plate itself.

Beats out the competition

The current leading products insert from the front. This means they are compromised by one or more of the following shortcomings:

  1. They usually have a separate front boss, which sits on the unstable front render (usually 3 mm thickness) – not a good idea
  2. Their diameter is too small and they simply tear through the board under load – this applies to even so-called "heavy duty" fixings where their diameter is 10 mm or less
  3. The boss requires a front retaining flange to prevent it from being pushed too deep (or lost) into the cavity – this prevents anything being fixed flush to the board, which is a major drawback
  4. They have a depth limit, preventing use on double thickness boards unless you create a substantial hole in the second board, which negates the purpose of using double boards for strength
  5. The surface area of the fitting sitting behind the board is very small (typically 1-2 cm2 ) – less than adequate for more critical ceiling applications and prone to lateral "tear-through"
  1. Thread lengths are often short, with only a few turns available in ductile (unfilled) plastic, which again is a limiting factor for ceiling applications. Over time these may fail due to creep, as will any unfilled back plates. Please refer to our section below on FEA testing

Designed Without Compromise

  1. The all-in-one cost effective design exploits geometry to insert fully through the board and can be installed in 20 seconds (excludes drilling) with no tools – apart from the reusable grapple key supplied
  2. No fiddly screws – just reusable M4, M5, M6, or M8 bolts – easier to take down as well as put up
  3. Integrated boss – no toggles or front retaining flanges. A detachable grapple key (a simple tool that can be used hundreds of times) allows the Grapplefix to pass through the board and then for the central circular boss to be screwed securely into the back of the board. The back plate rotates in a clockwise direction until it “locks” against the rear face of the plasterboard. Grapplefix does not rely on a friction fit or crude anti-spinning lugs. Due to the clockwise thread, once it is screwed and locked into position, it is automatically prevented from spinning caused by inserting the central bolt or screw. The whole operation takes seconds
  4. The integrated boss sits in the back of the board, not on the render. That's a first!
  5. Universal fixing – all plasterboard thicknesses, including double thickness boards – it doesn't matter!

Grapplefix Has Arrived – A Quick Fix

There are 2 sizes of the single boss fixing:

The smaller size uses a 16 mm hole (we recommend using a flat or “spade” shaped drill bit). Again, this is an optimum size for the reasons given below:

  1. Smaller holes e.g. 10 mm still show a tendency to tear (in shear) through the board under high loads
  2. A 16 mm hole has just over two-thirds of the surface area of a 20 mm hole, so it weakens the board far less
  3. A 16 mm hole can be easily covered by smaller fixings such as curtain rail brackets – anything larger becomes problematic when fixing smaller brackets, especially when they protrude. Front flanges typically add an extra 5 mm to the diameter of the hole to be covered so a 16 mm fixing would normally require 21 mm of coverage
  4. This fixing uses a standard M4 or M5 reusable bolt (as supplied). Ideal for curtain rails

Coming Soon...

The larger size uses a 20 mm hole. This is an optimum size for a larger fixing using our design:

  1. The larger surface area of the underside of the drilled hole gives rise to increased load bearing capabilities (in shear)
  2. The larger hole allowed us to increase the width of the back plate and gave us the ability to use M6 or M8 bolts
  3. Interestingly, we did not need to go any larger than 20 mm as this would in fact weaken the board. Other manufacturers rarely reach this crossover point – usually their back plate “tear-through” occurs much earlier, well below loadings where the board weakening becomes relevant. This highlights the optimised nature of our design

List of Applications Suitable for Each Size of Fixing

Large Fixing (20 mm)

Large Pictures, Wall hangings
Shelving (large and small)
Ceiling extractor fans
Towel rails
Boilers, Water Heaters
Kitchen Cupboards
Cooker Hoods
Air Conditioners
Light Fittings
Ceiling Fans

Television Brackets (VESA)
Grab rails for the disabled
Industrial applications such as cable trays

Small Fixing (16 mm)

Curtain rails (light and heavy)
Venetian and Roman Binds
Wall hangings, Pictures
Bathroom fixtures and fittings
Thermostats, Boiler Timers
Wall Lights
Kitchen utensils
Smaller brackets

A note on Captive Toggle fixings:

There is one group of fixings that also employs a back plate fed through the plasterboard hole. These have been around for a while and utilise some form of toggle (usually a nylon string or strap) to hold the back plate in place while a front facing boss, retained by the toggle or toggles (sometimes there are two, one either side of the boss) is slid into position into the front of the plasterboard. Like Grapplefix, these fixings have some advantages as the back plate has a substantial surface area.

The front facing (detached) boss requires a front retaining flange to prevent over-insertion into the plasterboard hole. This type of fixing therefore exhibits most of the drawbacks of other front facing fixings (albeit with a superior back plate), which sit on the unstable render and do not allow attached items to sit flush against the plasterboard. Grapplefix has replaced the requirement for a toggle, by using an integrated boss that can be screwed directly into the rear face of the plasterboard!

A note on Dot & Dab plasterboard walls:

We recommend that you use the supporting wall behind the plasterboard. It's the most obvious, cheapest and strongest solution. There are frame products designed just for this purpose.

A note on polymers and FEA Testing:

The Grapplefix design has been subjected to a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) study to ascertain loading capabilities (including thread stripping) in different planes (representing wall and ceiling applications) analysing the relative performance data of shortlisted structural "metal replacement" polymers.

Although considerably more expensive than standard Nylon 66 or POM (Acetal), the Glass Filled polymers we have chosen have outstanding tensile properties and importantly, protect against creep over time under static loads.

IMPORTANT: Using standard self-tapping screws or threads in unfilled ductile plastics such as Nylon or POM (Acetal) is also inadvisable as they may fail over time.

Grapplefix passed certified FEA testing at a loading of 150 Kg (this was set as the initial boundary condition) for all applications, including the ceiling application. The 150 Kg loading parameter fell well within the calculated "safe" tensile modulus, which also takes into account factors such as moisture, test uncertainty and material processing e.g. fibre orientation. These factors, when taken as a whole effectively halve the "break point" tensile modulus. In other words the "safe" modulus is approximately half the value of the "break point" modulus. The fixing also passed for creep with minor permanent displacements and with permanent displacements after 11 years (100,000 hours) of continuous application of the static load well below 1mm.

It should be noted that load ratings for plasterboard fixings can be highly misleading as there are many site specific variables that determine actual performance in situ. For example, the type of bracket being used (on the front of the plasterboard) will determine overall performance as will the thickness of the plasterboard.

Supported by
Oxford University

Grapplefix Limited is supported by Oxford University Innovation Limited, which is wholly owned by Oxford University.

The University's innovation strategy states "We aim to be a world-leader in research-led innovation and enterprise creation through collaboration with external organisations"

We are here to help with any questions you may have about our products or queries regarding this website. We can be contacted by email or phone. Please note you cannot purchase products directly from us either over the phone or via this website.

Email: enquiries@grapplefix.com

Phone: 0203 409 9000 or 0333 123 0450 (Free from mobiles)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

Registered Address:

Harwood House
43 Harwood Road

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