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How much weight can DRYWALL hold?

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  • Mar 19th, 2007 10:07 pm
Deal Addict
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Jun 12, 2003
2763 posts

How much weight can DRYWALL hold?

This is not my first choice, but something I am now considering because this is the only option unless i scrap the whole idea.

I want to mount a shelf like this onto drywall:

I have read that proper anchors such as molly bolts can hold up to 50lbs. I am still not convinced though. The shelf I am planning is going to have 30lb weight on it. It will have 2 screws in each bracket, making a total of 4.

My Q: Is this safe to do? Will the dry wall "bow" out (as in the shelf will be secure, but the dry wall will start to stretch out). What are some other possibilities of a disaster?
8 replies
Deal Addict
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Jul 24, 2003
3787 posts
if it's drywall on wood studs, and you use anchors, i don't see why not

if it's on metal studs, unless they are cross braced, i wouldn't do it, imho

i have a shelf mounted similarly in my laundry room that's bearing way more than 30 lbs, and has done so for over five years. . .
Deal Fanatic
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Feb 25, 2004
5655 posts
New Westminster
Assuming wood studs ... Mount the shelf brackets through the drywall so that the screw goes directly into the wood studs. Not picture handing bolts required .... a #8x2.5" screw will be good for quite a lot more than 30lbs IF you hit the stud.

Can't do the studs. Check this page out (http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/inff ... chor.shtm). Use toggle bolts. They will hold just about anything you can throw at them.
Sr. Member
Dec 22, 2005
751 posts
The majority of the weight of the shelf is directed down not out. That makes a big difference in the amount of weight drywall can hold.
Deal Addict
Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
I've got those ikea hardware-less shelves (meaning they don't SHOw any mounting hardware) and they hold a decent amount of weight. I've got the super long one mounted on drywall only, no studs and it holds my entire dvd collection. Granted iv'e got like 8 toggles in there so hat shelf is going nowhere.

For a shelf of books though I think I'd be kinda scared but that's probably psychological. I've got a shelf mounted on concrete with 4 screws that are rated for like 125 lbs each and i'm still leery of putting books on there. The math says I could sleep on the freaking thing but still....
Deal Addict
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Mar 5, 2005
1913 posts
use toggle bolts and you shouldnt have a problem

should be more then enough for your needs if you are worried you can put a wood brace under the shelf or even add another L-bracket.

have you tried looking for the hardware less shelfs that coffee adict suggested if you can get the color black it would look more sleek with the system you have currently

i am guessing this is to hold your speaker you posted in another post ?
Deal Addict
Jun 9, 2003
1680 posts
here's the shelf i was mentioning:
http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/stores/s ... r=00103630

I got the black-brown ones as they match my exisiting furniture but the black ones aren't bad either. They're a matte finish and look like your standard ikea faux-wood finish with a faux wood grain (like the surface has an actual texture to it, not just painted in). If you use wood oil on it it has a much much nicer look to it. Just don't over oil it or you could affect the glue holding the wood together. The lamination might bubble.

If you ever get a system like this measure like 3 times 'cause if you're off by a couple of millimeters it CAN make the mounting a real pain because not all of the holes in the mounting hardware are oval in shape, i.e. adjustable on the horizontal plane.

None of the holes are adjustable on the vertical plane but that should go without saying.

EDT: I've seen shelves like this elsewhere but I can't recall where. Ikea was the absolute dirt cheapest though for this kind of installation
Jr. Member
May 31, 2006
153 posts
Steel or wood studs make no difference. Cross bracing is done by the drywall itself. While steel studs look wimpy it isn't after its all screwed together.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2005
1703 posts
i've got a bunch of those toggle bolts into steel studs at work, and even just two bolts hold my entire weight.. your results may vary.