UK & International Delivery

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 Wall Brick Wall Block Wall Exterior Wall Load Brearing 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.

Floating Shelf Brackets and How 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.

Over the years we have had to turn down endless customers because our floating shelves wouldn’t be suitable for their wall. Even worse, we’ve had customers who have had their new shelf delivered, but upon drilling they have found their wall makeup wasn’t what they realised and the shelf can’t be used.

Floating shelf bracket options had previously been restricted to solid walls with a standard wall plug and that’s it. In a bid to give our customers the best fighting chance and greater flexibility, we decided to design our own range of floating shelf brackets. These would fall in line with increasing developments in wall fixings and are provided with the best quality wall fixings that are available (as cheap quality, product supplied fixings are a pet hate of ours). As of 2019 we are excited to have finally launched these fixings, all of which you can find in the hardware section on our website.

Floating shelf brackets heavy duty shelf brackets plasterboard shelf brackets drywall shelf bracket wall bracket floating shelf wide

Standard Solid Wall Floating Shelf Brackets

Floating shelf brackets medium duty solid wall long floating shelf bracket concealed shelf supports sqOur standard solid wall floating shelf brackets may appear very similar to current market options, but a few tweaks make them far more versatile. The high quality machined threads will not break during installation, as we have seen in many instances before with cheap quality floating shelf fixings. This variation is supplied with a Fischer UX10 wall plug. This plug far exceeds any others in our opinion, as the sharp wings on the plug prevent slipping during installation and the large expanding section of the plug will hold, should you hit a cavity in the wall during drilling.

Our floating shelf brackets all have an interchangeable thread system. You can remove the threaded part and swap it for another type should your wall surface catch you out. This means we can send you a different thread option without the need for replacing the whole floating shelf bracket.

You can see the recommended fitting method for our solid wall floating shelves in the video below.

Plasterboard Floating Shelf Brackets

Plasterboard floating shelf brackets gripit long floating shelf bracket concealed shelf supports for plasterboard sqBy changing out the thread section on our concealed plasterboard floating shelf fixings you can fix your shelf solely to a plasterboard surface, via the use of a Gripit brown fixing. If you haven’t already seen or used Gripit fixings then do go and check them out. Their fixings give incredible strength when securing to plasterboard and they are the sole reason that we are now able to offer plasterboard floating shelves.

This fixing will enable you to fit a floating shelf to only the plasterboard section of your wall, without the need for alignment with the stud work or any additional supporting structure. We test these plasterboard floating shelf brackets to a weight of 5kgs, on a 9mm plasterboard wall. For our test we position 5kgs at the end of a 120mm bracket which accounts for the leverage effect experienced with floating shelves. We do this in the worst case scenario of a 9mm, thin plasterboard wall.


Heavy Duty Floating Shelf Brackets

Heavy duty floating shelf brackets strong floating shelf bracket concealed shelf supports for solid walls sqOur heavy duty floating shelf brackets should 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).

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 installation using a chemical resin method for guaranteed strength and we’ve done a handy video to show you the process.

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.