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Types Of Dowels – Which Dowel For Which Wall?

Are all dowels the same? Far from it, because the list of the different types of dowels is long, even very long! There are, for example, all-purpose dowels, expansion dowels, spiral dowels, frame dowels, insulation dowels, aerated concrete dowels, spring folding dowels, heavy-duty dowels, nail dowels, cavity dowels and many more. How do you keep track of so many types of dowels? And how do you know which anchor is suitable for which wall? Don’t worry, and this article gives an overview of the most common dowels.

Dowels and their classification into anchor types

For the sake of simplicity, we divide the dowels into three different types, namely standard dowels, cavity dowels, and special dowels, and describe the most important representatives here. We go into the respective purpose of the anchor to make it clear which anchor is optimally held in which wall. Detailed information about a specific type of anchor can be found in the linked material articles for each anchor.

The standard dowel

Expansion anchor

The best known and most important representative of the standard dowel is the expansion dowel. Although this is still included as standard mounting material, it is only really used very rarely. Due to the lightweight construction, which is very widespread today, this dowel can hardly be held on the wall.

Expansion dowels get their name from the technology used to screw in the screws: The elongated pins stretch like an umbrella and thus ensure a firm hold. Thanks to this principle, expansion anchors are suitable for solid anchoring in concrete and solid stone.

General-purpose dowels

In terms of usability, the expansion anchor, which was previously required so often, has been replaced by the so-called all-purpose anchor. All-purpose dowels are the all-rounders among dowels. Thanks to their variety of shapes, they are suitable for all those installations where no particularly heavy loads have to be mounted. So perfect for everyday life.

They can be found in almost all substrates such as concrete, solid brick, hollow brick, wood, chipboard, or lightweight walls, except for aerated concrete and insulating materials. All-purpose anchors are, therefore, the first choice for all “common” installations.

The cavity dowel

Metal cavity dowel

Thanks to the lightweight construction that is widespread today, our tool cases can no longer be imagined without cavity dowels. All-purpose anchors are usually sufficient for moderately heavy components. But with what should heavier components such as massive wooden shelves, metal structures, or even plasma televisions be mounted on a wall? In these cases, special dowels such as metal cavity dowels should be used. These dowels are suitable for all plasterboard or chipboard on walls and ceilings.

Spring anchor

The hinged spring anchor has a special shape for the cavity anchor. So there are representatives with hooks, for example, for the assembly of hanging flower pots, but also heavyweights to be able to assemble entire sinks. This anchor has a very wide range of possible uses, even if the individual application is rather special.

The special dowels

Insulation dowels

Not used that often, but extremely valuable are insulation dowels. The simple assembly of objects on facades would not be possible without this practical type of dowel.

Aerated concrete dowels

Aerated concrete dowels are dowels specially developed for this material. Regular dowels do not find a hold in walls made of aerated concrete or aerated concrete.

Frame dowels

With their long shaft, frame dowels ensure that heavy, reliable components are held appropriately even on thick walls with a large diameter. They are the ideal choice for push-through installation.

Spiral dowel

Spiral anchors are a mixture of two types of anchors, namely cavity wall anchors, and insulation material anchors. The name comes from the characteristic spiral thread, which is also responsible for the necessary hold in plasterboard and insulation material.

Nail dowels

These dowels are suitable for the particularly fast assembly of workpieces or construction frames on the wall, ceiling, or floor. Nail anchors are mainly used in the assembly of lightweight walls.

Heavy-duty anchor

The name heavy duty dowel says it all. When things get really difficult, these representatives help. There are many different types of these dowels – either as bolts, anchors, or nails. They are all designed for really demanding tasks, such as the assembly of stairs and railings.


Types of dowels – the right choice counts

Not all dowels are the same – neither in form and color nor in purpose and stability. The world of dowels is very diverse, and not every dowel holds in every wall. It is, therefore, particularly important to always select the right anchor from a large number of different anchors. After all, the assembled objects should remain in place. A picture falling from the wall may even seem funny in some cases – but the fun stops at the latest when the extent of the damage increases or even your own life is threatened.

expansion anchor
General purpose dowels
Metal cavity dowel
Spring anchor
Insulation dowels
Aerated concrete dowels

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