Do Floating Shelves Ruin Walls? (Quick Answer!)

Getting a floating shelf is a great way to create extra storage space and add to the décor of your living area.

This article is just for you if you’re a super cautious homeowner or leaser with some concerns about mounting these furnishings on your wall.

Floating shelves are mounted on a wall in such a way that only the shelves are visible, but they are quite strong even though they don’t look as sturdy as traditional shelves.

In the below points, we’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about installing these storage/display units and possible problems you might face after they’re installed.

Here’s if Floating Shelves Ruin Walls:

As long as your floating shelves are correctly installed and within the load-bearing capacity of your walls, they shouldn’t cause any damage. There are many ways to mount a floating shelf. Using the wrong method on your walls can cause significant damage. Let’s take a closer look at why floating shelves might ruin your walls.

Why Floating Shelves Might Ruin Walls?

There are two possible reasons why a floating shelf might ruin a wall, the first reason is that your walls are weak and the second reason is that a wrong installation approach was employed.

It’s also possible for your floating shelves to ruin your walls if you’re loading them with way too much weight.

Once you notice your shelf brackets coming loose from the wall or stress or cracks in parts of the wall where the shelf is anchored, you should offload your shelves immediately.

Also inspect your walls closely, it could be that they have weakened significantly due to structural issues and can no longer support the weight of your shelves.

Drywall or plasterboard walls tend to have little load bearing capacity compared to other wall types like concrete.

So, ensure that your wall type is compatible with the type of floating shelf you want to install.

How to Prevent Floating Shelves From Damaging Walls?

The following pointers will help you keep your floating shelves from damaging your walls.

  • Avoid placing very heavy items on the shelves to prevent them from sagging or getting overloaded
  • Ensure to check the weight rating of the shelf when buying so you don’t install a shelf that isn’t compatible with your wall type.
  • Ensure the different sides of the shelf are properly aligned during installation
  • Ensure that the screws and anchor plugs are properly drilled and fitted into the wall before hanging the shelf.

How Do You Hang Floating Shelves Without Damaging Walls?

Below you will find a detailed guide on how to install floating shelves without causing any damage to your walls,

Step I: Be Sure of What Material Your Wall is Made of

  1. Is it a solid brick or masonry wall or a drywall or plasterboard? You must know because different walls require different techniques for hanging floating shelves on them.
  2. If it is a masonry or solid brick wall, then you can simply just drill into your wall and set a shelf bracket. But if it is a drywall or plasterboard, you will need to use anchor plugs in setting the floating shelf bracket.

Step II: Be Sure of What is Within Your Walls

  1. Are there water pipes, electric cables, boxes, screws or other obstacles within the wall? You need to know, so you can correctly decide which spot is safe to drill to add anchor plugs without damaging the wall fittings and installations.
  2. If you are not sure of what is within the wall or having a hard time finding out, you can get a strong magnet or any other professional device like a stud finder or digital detector.
  3. Also, if you are experienced, you can use the “knock and listen” method

Step III: Mark and Dent Pilot Holes for Drilling

  1. If you are hanging the floating shelf on a drywall, then you need to place the shelf bracket on the wall where you want to mount it and mark out the holes for the anchor plug.
  2. If you are hanging the floating shelf on a solid brick wall, then you should simply place the shelf next to the wall and mark out the holes for drilling.
  3. Ensure to use a spirit level to ensure that the shelf is straight and holes/marks are rightly aligned with where the anchor plugs will be drilled into, as this is necessary for you to install the shelf perfectly.
  4. It is also advisable to use a hammer and counterpunch to make a small dent or pilot hole around each hole/mark, as it makes it easier for your drills not to slip from the hole mark. This is often helpful for every kind of wall.

Step IV: Drill and Install Plugs for Hanging the Shelf on the Wall

  1. If it is a drywall, simply drill the anchor plugs into the dents made earlier, with the worm-like ending going into the wall first. When you are done, cover the marks on the wall with sellotape so the plaster doesn’t crack.
  2. If it is a solid brick wall, drill the masonry sleeves into the dents made earlier, using a hammer to get it in firmly. Then install the fasteners carefully, letting the tip pass through the holes.
  3. Once this is done, simply get the shelf brackets and screw them properly into the anchor plugs or masonry sleeves.
  4. Remember to use safety glasses or a dust mask to protect your eyes when drilling the solid brick wall.

Step V: Slide and Secure the Shelf

  1. Once this is done, slowly slide the floating shelf into the bracket. Next, try to secure the shelf by looking for holes on the different sides of the bracket and screwing it to keep it balanced while floating.
  2. Finally, check if the shelf is moving or not. If it is not, then you are not done yet.

What Are “No Damage” Wall Shelves?

No-damage wall shelves are common types of shelves that you can mount without drilling holes or inserting nails into your walls. It typically involves the use of urethane adhesive glue on both the wall and the brackets.


Floating shelves make great additions to any living areas. But as simple as it is to install them, you can still make some mistakes or errors along the way. So be sure to hang these furnishings right so that you don’t end up damaging your wall.