attaching floating shelves to steel studs
Subject: Installation with metal studs
Message: Hello. The walls in my apartment building are framed in metal studs. I have successfully installed floating cabinets and plan to install a couple of your shelves. Are the screws that come with the shelves suitable for installation in metal studs? If so, is the recommended pilot hole size still 5/32″?
The lag screws provided will not work with steel studs. Floating cabinets are different from floating shelves. The force on the fasteners is totally different. For floating cabinets, you are dealing with a down shear load. Steel studs can handle that. For floating shelves, it is pullout force. Even if the fasteners don’t strip out of the steel studs, the studs can still flex, causing your shelf to sag. Steel studs are rubbish when it comes to hanging anything on them. I don’t think your installation will work unless you open up the wall and add bracing. You might be OK if the shelves are small. If they are just ledges, like 6″ deep, it might work okay, but if you aim to put deeper shelves and load them up with books or anything heavy then forget it, you need to open up the wall and add blocking, wood studs, or other suitable bracing to attach to as well as stiffen the wall. In any case, your best bet is to find a good contractor and let them figure out the best way to proceed.