What Type of Wall Do I Have?

How do you tell what kind of walls you have? There are many different types of wall and it isn’t always straight forward working out what type you have. This is always the first question to answer before trying to fix something to your wall. This guide should help you work out what type of wall you have so you are able to order the correct product and get a secure fixing into it.

We aim to design our products to be compatible with as many wall types as possible to give the customer the best possible chance of fitment in all circumstances. In order to make this possible we designed our own range of multi wall floating shelf fixings.

We categorise walls into three basic types and we offer a different fixing method for each. Below you can find an explanation of each wall type, some tips on how to identify it, its makeup and what it might also typically be called by tradespeople.

Solid Wall


Solid walls can be made up of many combinations of materials but they are generally considered to be bare brick or brick with a plastered finish.

Solid walls will be very hard, if you tap on the wall whilst moving your hand around it is unlikely that you will see any flex or hear any hollow areas or voids.

Typical characteristics

  • Very hard, solid feeling wall with no flexing
  • Dull sound when knocking, rarely with hollow sounding areas

Also called or often referred to as

  • Brick/block wall
  • Exterior wall
  • Load bearing wall

Common materials

  • Plastered or tiled brick including; red, stone, breeze block, thermalite
  • Concrete

Suitable floating shelf fixings

Suitable general fixings

Suitable high load fixings

Dot and Dab Wall

Dot and Dab Wall Dabbed Wall Dry Lined Wall

Dot and dab walls are being used an increasing amount in modern houses. They comprise of a solid wall with plasterboard stuck on to it using “dabs” of adhesive. This creates a small void (usually around 10-20mm) in the wall which is faced with plasterboard.

Benefits to this type of wall are an increased insulation value and ease of adding additional services (such as cabling) to the area at a later date, due to the void. They also offer an increased speed of finishing due to the fact they don’t need to be plastered. They can however present issues when it comes to fixing items to them. Dot and dab walls have the benefit of the strength of a solid wall but long fixings are needed in order to get a secure hold.

How to tell if you have a dot and dab wall? The easiest method is to tap on the wall whilst moving your hand around. You will hear that the majority of the wall sounds hollow and may even have a slight flex to it, however there will be hard, solid points dotted around. These are the areas that have adhesive “dabs” bonding the plasterboard to the solid wall behind, these would typically be placed in a grid pattern around 300-500mm apart.

Typical characteristics

  • A solid feeling wall with slight flex in certain areas
  • Generally hollow sound when knocking with solid/dull areas dotted around

Also called or often referred to as

  • Dry lined wall
  • Drywall
  • Dabbed wall

Common materials

  • Brick or stone faced with plasterboard, insulated plasterboard, tile, or moisture board

Suitable floating shelf fixings

Suitable general fixings

Plasterboard Wall

Plasterboard Wall Stud Wall Partition Wall Dry Lined Wall Sheet Rock Drywall

Plasterboard walls are typically made from some sort of board material that is supported by a framework. They are almost always internal, non load bearing walls and therefore have a limited capacity for supporting heavy items.

Plasterboard walls can have a timber or pressed steel framework. This will usually run vertically at regular intervals between 300 and 600mm with short horizontals or “noggins” between each. Plasterboard walls will almost always sound hollow when knocking on them and have some flex or movement in them.

Typical characteristics

  • A slight flex or movement to the wall when pushing on it
  • A hollow sound when knocking with slightly more solid areas in vertical lines

Also called or often referred to as

  • Stud wall
  • Drywall (note can be called similar to dot and dab)
  • Sheet rock
  • Partition wall
  • Dry lined wall (note can be called similar to dot and dab)
  • Dividing wall

Common materials

  • Timber or pressed steel for framework
  • Plasterboard, sheetrock, moisture board, plywood

Suitable floating shelf fixings

Suitable general fixings

The above information is designed to give a basic indication as to the most common wall types and their typical characteristics. There are however many variations to this and some instances when walls might appear to be one type but when drilling into them they turn out to be something different. You may often see cases where a wall is made up of a combination of the above due to modifications over the years, such as covering doorways or fireplaces.

If you are uncertain of your wall type then you should seek advice by contacting us. We will always to our best to help but sometimes it will require being on site to properly inspect the wall makeup which may require drilling to investigate. In which case we would advise that you seek the help from a professional trades person.

How to Fit a Floating Shelf

How to fit a floating shelf on a range of different wall types. Across our range of concealed floating shelf brackets you should find a solution to almost every scenario in which you may want to fit a floating shelf.

Fitting anything to the wall in houses can present a world of problems. There are many different types of wall and each presents its own issues. Here you can find some advice on how to fit a floating shelf to different types of wall, along with an explanation of our floating shelf bracket range. If you aren’t sure what wall type you might have then also see our guide What Type of Wall Do I Have?.

How to fit a floating shelf floating shelf brackets heavy duty shelf brackets plasterboard shelf brackets drywall shelf bracket wall bracket floating shelf solid wall and dot and dab wall

Multi Wall Floating Shelf Brackets

Multi wall floating shelf brackets for plasterboard drywall dot and dab and solid wall floating shelvesHow to fit a floating shelf with our multi wall floating shelf brackets. This is versatile and simple to install in any solid floating shelf. All you need to install them is a hole in the shelf and a hole in the wall. There is no need for cutting complicated pockets or cutouts in the shelf. Due to their carefully sized barrels there is also no need for a locking screw to hold the shelf in place. Their offset thread offers fine levelling adjustment to the shelf after installation.

Our multi wall floating shelf brackets have an interchangeable thread system. We offer threads and plugs for solid wall, dot and dab wall and plasterboard wall types. You can remove the threaded part and swap it for another type should your wall surface be different to what you initially thought once drilled. In the event of you having to change plans, you can purchase the individual bracket components from us and swap them out.

How to Fit a Floating Shelf Video

Multi Wall Floating Shelf Bracket Ratings

By testing all of our floating shelf brackets in house we are able to offer definitive guidance on shelf size and weight ratings for each wall type. Below are the maximum recommendations for each wall type.

Solid Wall Floating Shelf Brackets

  • Max shelf depth: 250mm
  • Max weight per bracket: 10kgs
  • Min fixing qty: 2 per/m (3 per/m for 250mm depth)

Dot and Dab Wall Floating Shelf Brackets

  • Max shelf depth: 250mm
  • Max weight per bracket: 8kgs
  • Min fixing qty: 2 per/m (3 per/m for 250mm depth)

Plasterboard Wall Floating Shelf Brackets

  • Max shelf depth: 150mm
  • Max weight per bracket: 6kgs
  • Min fixing qty: 4 per/m

Heavy Duty Floating Shelf Brackets

How to fit a floating shelf with our heavy duty floating shelf brackets. These are ideal for deep, heavy shelves from 275mm to 400m deep. They have you covered for the highest load rating that you should ever need from a floating wall shelf. We have tested a pair of these up to 100kgs and were confident they could have taken more (if we had another bag of plaster). See our weight test video below.

These shelf brackets will hold floating sink basin shelves, media shelves for record players and amplifiers. You can use them to form floating bedside tables and a whole range of other uses along the way. If strength and reliability is what you need then these are the bracket to go for.

We only recommend that you fit these to solid walls due to the support that is needed on the main floating shelf support pin. You can fit these heavy duty shelf brackets to plasterboard walls but they will need substantial timber work in place behind the wall in order to offer the support needed. It is likely after all that the failure point will be the wall and not the bracket!

We recommend cutting a pocket in the back of the shelf to recess the retaining plate. This can be done using our Heavy Duty Shelf Bracket Routing Jig as seen in the video below. We also recommend installation using a chemical resin method for guaranteed strength, see below for our video on how to fit a heavy duty floating shelf.

How to Fit A Heavy Duty Floating Shelf Video

How to Drill a Shelf for Heavy Duty Fixings Video

Heavy Duty Floating Shelf 100kg Weight Test Video

If you are unsure of which of our floating shelf brackets might be best for your application then feel free to contact us and we should be able to offer advice on what might work best for you.