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Questions & Answers: What is a Floating Shelf?

Questions & Answers What is a Floating Shelf

If you aren’t sure what a floating shelf is, simply put, it’s a shelf that appears to have no means of support and looks as if it’s floating on the wall. There are supports, though, in the form of a floating shelf bracket. Modern shelf brackets are made from strong steel and welds that can hold a decent amount of weight, provided they are installed properly. Floating shelves offer a clean, contemporary look that can increase a home’s overall value. A large majority of homeowners believe spending money to improve a house always increases the value, so this improvement is worth the cost. Read below to learn more.

What’s the best way to mount a floating shelf?

Drywall anchors are not strong enough to hold the bracket and shelf. If you want to put anything on your floating shelf, you should anchor the bracket into the wall studs. The only problem with that is most studs are 16” apart, and if you have a short bracket, you may not have two points of attachment. This means the shelfs won’t be as strong. Mount to the studs in as many places as you can, then use toggle bolts in the other holes on the bracket. This will make the shelf sturdy and strong.

How much weight can they hold?

There is one factor that determines how much weight a floating shelf can hold: depth. The further the shelf protrudes from the wall, the less weight it can hold. What you plan to put on the shelf will dictate how deep to make the shelf. Books typically don’t need more than 10”, so use that as a starting point. The number of rods the bracket has will factor in too, as more rods mean more load capacity. If the shelf is mounted properly, it should hold anywhere from 25-250 lbs.

How big a bracket should be used?

The size of the shelf and what you plan to store on it will determine the size of the bracket. You don’t want to test the strength of the shelf or bracket by overloading it. That may lead to damage to your wall and costly repairs. A good rule to follow is to use a bracket that has one rod for every 15” of shelf. So, if you have a 4 ft. (48”) long shelf, use a bracket that has 3 rods.

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