The Most Common Problems Experienced While Installing Floating Shelves and How to Overcome Them

Imagine this scenario. You have just purchased the perfect floating shelf, and you’re excited to put it up.

You have already watched countless videos on installing floating shelves, and have been thinking to yourself how perfect everything will turn out to be.

You follow every step diligently from using the most ideal screws, locating the studs, securely fixing the shelf bracket to finally attaching the floating shelf.

Everything’s going great until you decide to place your favorite pot plant on the shelf.

The shelf sags forward, and your plant starts to slide down.

Yeah, this happened to me too, and it was awful.

You’re probably wondering why the installation that you have put so much research and effort into hasn’t worked out. You also don’t want to restart the project or fix it somewhere else. So how will you fix the sagging/loose/leaning floating shelves?

The solution is easier and simpler than you think. This was what I did to fix the unfortunate sag on my shelf. Now, my shelf is floating seamlessly on my wall. Read on for some simple fixes.

Method 1: Using Shims

Materials You’ll Need
Shims or thin wooden/cardboard wedges (avoid any material that would shrink)


Clear out the floating shelf and push it upwards to a straight level that it should be.
Keep this level maintained.

Now, stack the shims/wedges together and below the shelf, push the stacked shims upwards behind the shelf. If the shelf is still loose, add more shims till it becomes tight enough to hold. Now you know how many shims you’ll need.

Stack and tape the measured shims together to make a shim block.
Remove the floating shelf from its screws and tape the shim block to the back of the shelf.

You should make sure to attach the shim block horizontally lined with the floating shelf’s bottom edge.

Carefully hang the shelf back on to the screws such that the shim block edge touches the wall last.

Make sure the shelf is perpendicular to the wall.


Your floating shelf is good to go! Style it keeping the weight limit in mind.

Method 2: Using Tape

Materials You’ll Need
You can do this if you don’t have shims or wood wedges. It will hold the shelf just as good.


Slide off the shelf from the bracket.

Unscrew the bracket and take out the wall plugs.

Tape the wall plugs on the outside repeatedly to bulk them up.

To check the right amount of bulkiness, place the taped wall plug over the hole and try to push it in.

There should be resistance when pushing with your hands, but you should feel they can be pushed in with the hammer.

Use the hammer to fit them back in. Make sure they are holding tight and flush with the wall.

Cut out the extra tape, if any.

Once you have taped and hammered all the plugs in place, take the bracket and screw it in place.

Slide back the shelf.

You’ve fixed your floating shelf! Decorate it as you please.

Method 3: Using Hot Glue

Materials You’ll Need
Glue Gun/ Glue Dots/ Silicone Dots

This is probably the simplest fix you can try.


Remove the floating shelf from the wall.

On the right and left lower edges of the shelf, add bumps of hot glue.

This will push the shelf away from the wall and bring it to the level.

Keep adding the glue till the shelf is in a sitting position.

You can use glue dots or silicone dots as well.

Voila! Your floating shelf is not sagging anymore.

Does this sound familiar to you?
” I purchased a 14″ bracket, and my wall studs are 16″ apart. What do I do now?”

My advice to you? Try blocking.

Materials You’ll Need

2 blocks of wood, most probably 2×6″ as they are easier to locate behind drywall.
Electric Drill/ Nail gun

It is nothing else but simply adding wooden blocks between the studs.

Blocking can be used when the bracket does not span the distance between the two studs and mounts only to one.

This method can also be used for extra support and strength because the gaps between the studs often result in sagging of the floating shelf after some time.

So, blocks of boards are used between the studs to fill up the gap.
The dimensions of the boards depend on the distance between the inner ends of the studs.


Place the blocks between the studs.

Place them ¼ inch from the joining point.

Nail in one toenail through 1 ½ inches of the block.

Slowly hammer the blocks into place.

Nail them in.

However, what should you do if you have floating shelves with keyhole-shaped hanging spots?

How should you hang them so they don’t lean forward?

You should try this out.

Method: Using Screws

Materials You’ll Need


Remove the shelf from it’s key.

Remove the key/keys from the wall anchors.

Now in place of the key/keys, fix a screw/screws in the wall.

Do not screw all the way in. Leave a portion of the screw.

Take your floating shelf and insert the screw inside the shelf’s keyhole.


If the screw is loose, remove the shelf and tighten the screw a bit.

The screw should fit tightly into the keyhole.

Remove the shelf, tighten the screws a little, and put the shelf back on again.

Repeat this process until the screw is secure and tight in the keyhole.

You’ve fixed your floating shelf!

Important to Note:

Make sure to always check the weight limit for your floating shelf and the dimensions of the shelf.
Always wear safety goggles if wall or wood chips are flying around.

Did any of these methods work out for you? I would love to hear your experience.

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