How to install a swag hook

How to Install a Swag Hook

Three Methods:

Swag hooks are often used to support plants and light fixtures that hang by a chain. Installing a swag hook can be tricky, but here's what you need to know how to do it right and ensure that it stays put. It's important to remember that the swag hook itself will probably support more weight than you'd ever consider putting on it, but the hardware the hook is secured with and materials it is secured to will give out much sooner.


  1. Consider the weight of the object hung by the hook.If swag hook should fall, will someone get hurt or will an expensive piece of furniture, etc. be damaged? If a plant, consider how much heavier it will become after watering, and if over watered, will the overflow damage electrical / electronic devices below?
  2. Determine installation hardware to be used, based on support material.A typical hook will have a threaded hole, and be provided with inserts that thread into this hole. One insert will be threaded with fine threads on one end, and wider threads and a point at the other end. This insert is designed to be used when screwed directly into wood or plastic anchor (some times called a "molly") that has been pressed into a drilled hole in brick, concrete, etc. (not wallboard!). An other insert is a 2 or 3 (or longer) inch threaded rod - threads running the entire length, lacking a point. It is works with a spring loaded wing-like nut, and is called a "toggle" (or sometimes a "butterfly") nut. Many manufacturers include them for different uses and identify them for use in wallboard. They are actually designed for use inhollow wallsconstructed of durable materials such ascinder block. They have better success when used in vertical wallboard installations for light loads, but use in ceilings should be discouraged except the very lightest loads.

Install in Wood

  1. To support a fixture or plant from a ceiling, the only method for safely installing a swag hook should be apparent as the type secured into wood.
  2. Locate wood strapping or joists in the ceiling nearest the desired location with a commercially available stud finder.Follow the instructions included for proper use.
  3. Select a drill bit small enough that the resulting hole will be smaller than the thickness of the pointed end insert.This is done by holding the threaded insert behind the drill bit - the threads should be fully visible from behind the bit. Select a smaller rather than larger bit. It is most important that not too much material be removed from the hole so that the threads can "grab". Larger holes provide less gripping strength than smaller holes.
  4. Drill in the center of the strapping where found previously with the stud finder to a depth just longer than the pointed end threaded portion of the insert (approx 2").
  5. Thread the non-pointed end insert into the swag hook.
  6. Twist the swag into the freshly drilled hole until the flange or base of the hook is pressed tightly against the ceiling.
  7. Once secured fully into the ceiling, apply downward pressure (greater than the weight of the fixture / plant) on the hook to test the "pull out" strength.
  8. If the swag pulls out - verify the location of the strapping with the stud finder again and drill another hole with a smaller drill bit nearby and reinstall the swag.Repeat until the swag does not pull out.
  9. Additional swags used to support the chain and power cord of a light fixture may be supported with the toggle bolt anywhere desired - as this weight is a small fraction of the fixture.
  10. Check for the presence of strapping or joists with the stud finder where additional swags are desired.If present, repeat the above procedure where needed.

Install in Wallboard

  1. If no studs (wall installation) or strapping or joists (ceiling) are present, the toggle method can be used.This method requires that the threaded rod be installed into the the swag, and the the toggle nut is spun only so far that the threaded rod protrudes out of the end by about two or three threads. The toggle nut should be installed so that the wings can be depressed against the threaded rod (towards the base of the swag hook). This same method is used to suspend objects from hooks in the ceiling. When using this method for ceiling installations, only the lightest loads or ornamental type loads should be considered, as this support method is the least robust.
  2. While holding the wings against the threaded rod, determine the diameter of a hole that would be required to push the toggle nut through.Holes 1/2" or greater are not uncommon.
  3. Drill into the ceiling only deep enough to penetrate the wallboard.
  4. Squeeze the toggle nut wings against the threaded rod, and press the toggle nut into the hole completely.Press the swag against the ceiling to ensure that the wings have popped open. Twist the swag hook clockwise whilegentlypulling downward.
  5. Twist the swag until the flange or base is firmly pressed against the ceiling.
  6. Repeat for as many swags as needed.

Post-operative Procedure

  1. Hang the fixture / freshly watered plant on the swag hook - keeping hands just underneath it - so it may be caught should the load prove greater that the capacity of the swag hook hardware or mount method.
  2. Once satisfied the load can be safely held, connect any chain / power cord through any additional swags.
  3. Check the swag regularly for indications of impending failure (bulging or cracking of ceiling around hook), and if found, take corrective action at once.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I install a swag hook if the ceiling is an eight inch thick concrete slab?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You may need to screw or screw & epoxy a 4" - 6" square of 3/4" plywood to the ceiling. You'll want to use 4 concrete screws rated for your load and screw them in about an inch back from the corners. You want over half of the concrete screw length to be in the concrete. You will need special concrete screws, hammer drill, and bits to make the screw holes. You may be able to rent the drill, don't go cordless. Screw on an appropriate thickness of wood for your swag hook and paint to match the ceiling. Once dry, install the swag hook following the wood instructions above.
Unanswered Questions
  • Can I do this on a concrete ceiling?
  • How do I install one in a cement ceiling?
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  • Never assume that existing swag hooks are secured into wood.
  • Do not attempt to hang anything of substance secured only to a ceiling supported swag hook. Make sure the hook is screwed into wood strapping or joists behind the ceiling surface.

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Date: 12.12.2018, 14:25 / Views: 83443