Why Re-hanging Things is Often More Involved Than it May Seem…

Why Re-hanging Things is Often More Involved Than it May Seem…

Have you ever taken down a nail used to hang a picture, shutter, or like item and the nail that you initially used to hang it up with did not seem to quite do the trick when you went to re-hang the item?

This can be a frustrating experience.

It may be likened to if you ever have seen wood clapboard siding on the exterior of the home have a nail pop out and when the nail is attempted to be banged back in, success is only temporary as the nail pops back out a short time later.

Why does this type of situation occur and how can it be avoided?

This phenomenon happens because the nail that is used to rehang whatever it is that is getting rehung, is essentially sliding back into a hole that has already been formed and it no longer is tightly held in the wall area around it.


The nail, ever so slightly, had to be loosened out of its original hole (even if it did not feel as though one was loosening it significantly when it was being taken out of the hole).

When this was done, the initial nail instantly becomes obsolete, there is no logical way for this nail to be reutilized in its same hole moving forward.

This same type of situation occurs on the outside of the home in the siding example where although nature did the loosening, the same nail cannot be reused and possibly be expected to correctly fasten down the siding.

In all these types of instances, the only way to successfully rehang the picture or correctly tighten down the siding, etc., would be to use a nail that is either longer or wider than the nail that was used in the first place.

By working in a nail that is either longer or wider, you are forcing your little hanging system to either go a bit deeper or expand around the shaft area to truly hold whatever it is that you are trying to hang/fasten.


Be careful of situations in newer homes, where the plaster is much tighter than the plaster of older homes (where horsehair plaster was frequently used).

In these newer homes, if you try to reuse an existing nail, the plaster can often give the false initial impression that it has “grabbed” your nail and that whatever was hung can be safely rehung.

All is fine and dandy until BOOM!! – your family portrait that you have treasured as the centerpiece of your home for years comes crashing down!

Truly the safest way to avoid this type of disheartening scenario is to remember this rule of thumb – when rehanging an item where a nail has been taken out or if you ever are trying to put a nail back in place (whether it is on the exterior or interior of the home) that has come out of its original hole for one reason or another, always use a nail that is either longer or wider than the original one (assuming you are putting it back in the same hole it came out of).

Approaching things in this manner will provide comfort that the nail will correctly hold its place and steer you clear from a situation where something potentially very valuable to you or family gets unintentionally smashed to smithereens!!

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