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.
The ALL-IN-ONE solution from Grapplefix represents a significant breakthrough in heavy duty plasterboard fixings. They are designed to be simpler (no moving parts to adjust), quicker to install and stronger than the current leading designs. They sit on the back of the board, not on the fragile front render and therefore don’t require a front retaining flange to prevent loss into the cavity (bolts can also be removed without losing the fixing). This is a big deal as the front flange protrudes and prevents items from being attached directly to the plasterboard – there’s usually a gap preventing structural lamination with the board that’s important for TV plates etc. Also, if the small flange sinks into the cardboard surface it may become loose over time.
The fixed back plate is safe for ceilings and the 16 mm ‘over-sized’ circular boss prevents ‘tear through’ in walls due to a large surface area within the hole. 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 (ceilings) and shear planes (walls). The fixing simply screws (self-taps) into the rear of the plasterboard and is retained by the back plate itself.
It locks into place and is prevented from any further rotation or spinning – a common nuisance with traditional spring toggles that also wander in the hole; the hole required to pass the toggle is always greater than the diameter of the bolt.
Grapplefix is designed as if access into the wall cavity and the BACK of the plasterboard is unhindered – the challenging cavity access problem was solved separately so as not to compromise the optimal design for plasterboard!
The current leading products insert from the front. This means:
There are 3 sizes of the fixing M4, M5 and M6:
The fixing uses a 16 mm hole (we recommend using a flat or “spade” shaped drill bit or hole saw). This is an optimum size for the reasons given below:
A larger fixing using a 20 mm hole. This is an optimum size for a larger fixing using our design:
Large Pictures, Wall hangings
Shelving (large and small)
Ceiling extractor fans
Boilers, Water Heaters
Television Brackets (VESA)
Grab rails for the disabled
Industrial applications such as cable trays
M4 and M5 Fixings
Curtain rails (light and heavy)
Venetian and Roman Binds
Wall hangings, Pictures
Bathroom fixtures and fittings
Thermostats, Boiler Timers
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!
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.
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.
The Glass Filled polymers we have chosen have outstanding tensile properties and importantly, protect against creep over time under static loads.
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 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.
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"