How To Hang Pictures On Concrete Walls

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Decorating your walls is a great way to add personality to a room. It can cover up ugly and boring walls, or highlight a life of adventures. Showcasing pictures is a great way to remember loved ones and cherished moments. Perhaps this is why pictures adorn the walls in almost every home. But if you happen to have a home with concrete walls, you might wonder if it is possible to hang photos on these hard walls.

Three popular and effective methods to hang pictures on concrete walls include hardwall hangers, adhesive hooks and masonry screws. Each of these methods has pros and cons.

Adhesive hooks or strips are an easy way to hang light objects when you can’t or do not want to drill holes into the concrete. Masonry screws and hardwall hangers are more reliable and permanent fixtures, better for heavier and permanent photo frames.

If you are worried that it will be impossible to hang anything on your seemingly impenetrable concrete walls, don’t be. Not only is it possible to hang pictures on concrete, it is actually fairly simple. Before you choose a hanging method at random, however, you should ask yourself several questions.

The questions below will help guide you towards the picture hanging method that best suits your needs.

Questions To Ask Before Hanging Pictures On Concrete

Can I Drill Holes Into The Concrete?

This is perhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself right off the bat. If you are renting a unit that forbids drilling, then this limits your options. Or perhaps you don’t own a drill or are wary about drilling holes into the load-bearing wall.

If this is the case, don’t worry, there is still an option for you.

How Much Money Are You Willing To Spend?

Your budget is also something you need to take into consideration. Some wall photo-mounting options are a bit more costly than others. Some require little-to-no tools or expertise, while others require some basic knowledge and use of power tools and other things found in a toolbox.

How Heavy Is The Picture?

The picture’s weight is also something to consider. While there are several effective ways to hang pictures on concrete walls, some are stronger than others. Some methods are very simple, but might not have the strength to hold a heavy photo.

How Permanent Is This Photo Placement?

You should also consider if this is a temporary decoration, or something permanent. Temporary decorations mean you don’t need to think so much about the longevity of your hanging method.

If, however, you want the picture to hang for years or decades, you really want to make sure the method you choose is reliable and permanent. After all, if the hanging method fails, your picture and its frame may tumble to the ground, and potentially endure significant damage.

How Large Is The Picture And Frame?

In addition to the weight of the frame, you also need to factor in the size of the photo. Even if it is on the lighter side, a large picture frame might require a more specific or heavy-duty hanging method, simply due to gravity and surface area.

Using Adhesive To Hang Pictures On Concrete Walls

Adhesive strips and hooks are a popular choice for those looking to hang pictures on a concrete wall without drilling a hole. Adhesive hooks use a strong sticky substance on the flat side that is designed to adhere to flat concrete for an extended period of time.

These hooks are great for lightweight frames, especially when they are only expected to hang for 1 or 2 years.

Some adhesive hooks can withstand several pounds, depending on the manufacturer. In general, however, adhesive hooks cannot withstand picture frames heavier than 10 pounds.

In fact it usually requires at least two adhesive hooks to hold up a picture frame weighing 5 or 6 pounds.

Steps To Installing Adhesive Hooks On Concrete Walls

Step One: Clean And Dry Concrete Surface

The first step to installing adhesive wall hooks is ensuring the surface is perfectly clean and dry. Any filth or dust will take away from the adhesive’s overall effectiveness.

Make sure the surface is completely dry, as moisture will also work against the strength of the adhesive.

Step Two: Mark Desired Location

Never “wing it” when it comes to your hook placement. Make sure you find the exact desired height of your photo frame. Once you find the desired height, find the necessary height for the adhesive.

Mark this location using a marker.

Step Three: Remove Protective Paper Lining And Press On Hanger

When you press the adhesive on the marked location, press it for upwards of one minute (check the label for instructions).

Pros Of Adhesive Hooks


Adhesive hooks are generally a cheap option. You can purchase them at any home goods store, as well as any major online retailer. They also come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and varieties.

User Friendly

Another great feature of the adhesive hooks is that they are easy to use. Anyone who has ever stuck tape to a wall should have no problem installing adhesive hooks.

The key is just making sure the wall is clean, and you mark the right spot.

Don’t Require Tools Or Drilling

Adhesive hooks are great for those who don’t have any tools, or are forbidden from drilling anything into the walls. They leave no trace, which is ideal for renters.

Cons of Adhesive Hooks

Can’t Hold Heavier Objects

If you have a heavier picture frame, an adhesive hook might not be a possible option. This includes pretty much anything heavier than 10 pounds for the most part.

Not Ideal For Longevity

Eventually adhesive wears off, especially if you live in a humid climate, or hang a slightly heavier photo. If you want a durable and reliable hook, you might want to choose a different option.

Using Hardwall Hangers To Hang Pictures On Concrete Walls

Hardwall hangers are the next level up when it comes to strength, durability and also difficulty of installation. Hardwall hooks use thin metal nails that are hammered into hard surfaces like drywall, cement and even concrete.

Most hardwall hangers have three thin nails that are less than an inch long. These nails act as an anchor, and allow you to hang heavier pictures than adhesive hooks.

In fact, some more heavy-duty hardwall hangers can hold picture frames up to 20 pounds with ease.

Steps To Installing Hardwall Hangers

Step One: Mark Location For Hook

Finding the right location is key. Don’t eyeball it. Instead mark the exact location so nothing is left to chance.

Step Two: Hold Hook In Place With Nails

This step involves holding the hook in place with the nails in position. It can take a bit of patience and balance. Just be sure the hook is level and at the right angle before moving to the next step.

Step Three: Carefully Hammer Nails

Make sure you do not hammer too hard. This can damage the hook, wall and your fingers. Just tap the nails into place, as tapping them too far can actually lessen the effectiveness of the hooks.

Pros of Hardwall Hangers

Handle More Weight Than Adhesive Strips

One great pro of hardwall hangers is that they just require a nail and some patience, but can hold lots of weight. This makes them a great option for someone looking to hang a heavier picture, but does not have a drill.

More Permanent

Hardwall hangers also offer more longevity. This makes them a great option for those looking to hang a picture for a very long time, since the nails can stay in place for many years.

No Drilling

They are also great for those looking for a stronger and more permanent solution without using a drill.

Cons of Hardwall Hangers

Might Not Break Through Some Concrete

If you have particularly strong walls, then the nails might not break through the concrete, making some of these hardwall hangers useless.

Not As Strong As Masonry Anchors

While hardwall hangers are stronger than adhesive, they are not as strong as masonry anchors.

Using Masonry Anchors To Hang Picture On Concrete Walls

Masonry Anchors are the strongest solution for those looking to hang pictures on concrete walls. They have a design close to hardwall hanger, but instead of using a few small and thin nails, a masonry anchor uses a screw that is drilled directly into the wall.

This drilling technique, and use of a thicker screw, makes masonry hooks capable of hanging heavy items, and in a permanent fashion. Depending on the design and model of masonry anchor, these hooks can hold upwards of 50 pounds.

Pros Of Masonry Anchors

Hold Significant Weight

One of the top pros to masonry anchors is they hold lots of weight. This makes them a go-to option for those hanging heavy picture frames.

Most Permanent

They are also quite permanent, which is great for those looking for a permanent and reliable hook on the wall.

Cons Of Masonry Anchors

Require Drilling

One con is that masonry anchors require drilling. If you do not have a drill, or are not allowed to drill into your concrete walls, then this is not an option.

More Tools Required

Masonry anchors are not too complex, but they do require some tools. A stud finder, power drill and other tools might be required.

Final Thoughts On How To Hang Pictures On Concrete Walls

If you are looking to hang pictures on your concrete walls you have three great options. Adhesive hooks are a cheap and easy way to hang lighter pictures without using tools. They are not able to hold heavier photos and are not ideal for longevity.

Hardwall hangers can hold more weight and are a more permanent solution. They require a hammer but no drill.

Masonry anchors use a drill to create a strong and permanent picture hanger. They hold the most weight, but do require a power drill.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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