Shelves are essential in a home to make it look clean and organized or for more space. Knowing how to make it is necessary, no matter your reason for wanting a shelf in your home.

Not only installing them but how long it will last or also hold matters. So, the screws you use while installing the shelf are vital to how long it will hold firm.

Then you wonder if drywall screws are good for shelves since they’re cheap and everywhere.

You can use drywall screws for your shelves. Although there are better options than drywall screws, it’s still okay. However, you have to be careful with these screws because they are for drywalls, so they are brittle and can snap easily. You can also use anchors to secure the drywall screws to install your shelves correctly.

In this article, I’ll explain whether or not drywall screws are suitable for your shelves and what weight your shelf can hold on drywall. Also, which screws are the best for your shelves?

By the end, you’ll know if you can use a drywall screw when installing your shelves. If not, you’ll know which screws are best for your shelves.

Ready for a Drywall Quiz?

Can I Use Drywall Screws for a Shelf?

Are Drywall Screws Good for Shelves

Yes, you can use drywall screws for a shelf. These screws are cheap and easily accessible, so it’s much easier to get and use them to put up your shelf.

Although the manufacturers of drywall screws didn’t design them for hardwood, if you’re using the drywall screws on hardwood, it might not hold.

The drywall screw head will break off, and the rest of the screw will be in the wood, which isn’t good. 

The reason that happens is that drywall screws are brittle. So if you were to remove the broken drywall screws, it would take time, but you can remove them.

So they can’t withstand the installation process and snaps off. As the name indicates, it’s a drywall screw for drywall, although we use it for many things since it’s easily accessible.

You can put shelves up the wall with drywall screws and a shelf bracket. Use the anchor to hold the drywall screw with the bracket to the wall, and add wood to secure your shelf.

Which Screws Are Best for Shelves?

To know which screws will be the best for your shelf, you have to consider what wall your shelf will be on. We have hollow and solid types of walls.

So it depends on which wall you’ll be installing your shelves on before deciding the screw that will be the best one to use.

The table below shows the difference between hollow and solid walls.

Hollow WallSolid Walls
It is also known as dry walls.They are of wood walls or solid materials.
You use wall anchors to attach screws to it.The screws required to attach something to it depend on the type of material.

Another thing to note when deciding which screws are best for shelves is the type of shelf you want. 

For example, a bookshelf will weigh more than a toy shelf, so the weight of the screw also matters. That’s because a light screw might not be suitable for a bookshelf.

However, if your wall type is a hollow wall, the screw that is best for you are the self-tapping screws of the E-Z Ancor line.

These self-tapping screws are suitable for different purposes, and you can easily install them without problems.

However, if your wall is solid, the screw I recommend you use for your shelves is the Lead anchor. You drill a hole in the wall, then put the anchor and insert this screw into it.

After the installation, the lead anchor screw fits into the hole and bonds with the wall, holding the shelf tightly.

Those are my first recommendations; however, other screws are good for your shelves installation.

For drywall, you can use a Toggler anchor to install your shelves. It can hold up a shelf weighing 65 pounds if you use it correctly. You can also use GRK screws or Torx screws for shelves.

So the key to knowing which screws are best for your shelves depends on the type of wall and shelf you want.

How Much Weight Can a Shelf on Drywall Hold?

The shelf on your drywall can hold about 20 pounds. If you place a shelf weighing more than that, you might damage your drywall and the shelf itself.

However, you can get your drywall to hold more than 20 pounds; it can hold up to 100 pounds. It depends on whether you use wall studs, the right tools, and which nail or screw for your shelf.

So with these conditions in place, you can build a shelf that weighs above 20 pounds on your drywall, which will support it.

You should know that there are different types of drywall, and they have different thicknesses, which you should consider when building a shelf.

Also, consider the length of your nail or screw before considering your shelf’s weight. That’s because your screw length helps hold the shelf firmly to the drywall.

For example, a 1½ inch is a good nail length if your shelf weight is 20 pounds. However, a nail of that size won’t do for a shelf weighing more than that on your drywall.

If you want a shelf weighing more than 20 pounds, you have to select a nail that is sturdy or of more length. You can also use screws for this purpose.

However, ensure that the screw you’re using is size #4 or more; in this case, you need wall studs. 

Just ensure that the screw goes one inch into the stud; any more than that might damage the screw. Also, if it is less, it won’t penetrate the stud so it won’t hold firmly.

Knowing the anchor and wall stud types is also essential because it will help you know which suits you based on the shelf weight. Know that drywall anchors are an alternative to wall studs.

Here are some drywall studs and anchor types below;

  • Expansion Anchors: You use these anchors on small weights, say between 5 – 25 pounds.  
  • Threaded Anchors: It is thicker than the expansion anchors and can hold more weight. It can hold about 25-75 pounds.
  • Sleeve Type Anchors: You can use these anchors for weights between 25-50 pounds.
  • Toggle Bolts: These anchors can hold up to 100 pounds. They are of two types, namely metal and plastic toggle. The plastic toggle can hold weight up to about 20 pounds. 

Should I Use Nails or Screws for Shelves? 

When using nails or screws when installing shelves, you need to be careful, and it depends on what kind of shelf you want.

Know that screws can handle more weight than nails, even more so when you use them with anchors or studs. So it also depends on the weight of the shelf you want.

A nail would do quite nicely if you want a shelf weighing about 10 pounds. However, if your shelf weighs more than that, you should use a screw.

These screws help the shelves grip well to the wall. So you don’t have to worry about your shelves falling off after some time.

You can even use anchors to increase the capacity of the weight the screw can handle. 

Although both the screws and nails have different purposes, as that under pressure, nails can bend, and screws grip better than nails.

So if you need to use force when installing your shelf, a nail might be best for you. But generally, I recommend you use screws for your shelves.

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