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Frequently Asked Questions

About the shelves

We supply premium quality solid floating shelves ready for installation and painting. Strong to carry any reasonable book weight and elegant for precious item display.

Whichever product you choose (single shelf or single corner shelf, bookcase or corner bookcase, or alcove shelves), once installed each Shelfbar kit is designed to be painted to blend with your chosen colour scheme, achieving a truly professional fully fitted finish. Create a wall with shelves — not just shelves on a wall!

  • Our unique fixing system combined with solid premium grade materials allows you to create your own high performance floating shelves . No bend, no wobble, and no sag.
  • Precision engineered solid floating shelves supplied ready for installation and painting to blend with your colour scheme for the best professional result
  • For bookcase kits, we supply our unique integrated super strong combined wire bookend/support system. You decide the precise distance between shelves (max 45cms)
    Alcove shelves are supplied cut-to-size to fit your alcoves’ unique angles and dimensions
  • Alcove and corner shelves have additional side-wall fixings (also concealed from view), making these floating shelves super strong
  • Minimal wall penetration, suitable for solid walls and/or plasterboard onto wooden stud walls and/or plasterboard onto dryline/dot&dab walls
  • Practical to install with full userview accredited step by step instructions. Fixing pack with screws and fixings included

This question can be answered a number of ways, but we think “can they take my books?” is the load measure most people want to know.

All Shelfbar® designs have been tested on a range of solid wall and plasterboard surfaces and we are confident that they can easily support as many books as can reasonably be fitted onto them.

Click here to find out more about our shelf strength


The wall needs to be able to provide a strong fixing and the shelves are best fitted to a flat and regular surface.

The wall plugs we supply as standard have been tested by us on a range of solid walls and also plasterboard onto wooden stud walls (see for more information/specification.) For plasterboard onto dryline/dot&dab we supply special fixings. .

Few wall surfaces are perfect and once the shelves are fixed in position, use decorators flexible filler to fill any gaps and provide a good seal — enhancing the shelf’s strength and looks.

If you suspect that your walls may contain wiring or pipes, use a pipe and cable detector to check before starting work. If you are thinking about putting shelves in a bathroom or any area prone to moisture, as with any MDF product, ensure that once installed the shelves are properly and entirely sealed/painted before they are exposed to any moisture.

Although we know customers do install shelves successfully onto tiled surfaces, we cannot recommend this and this type of installation is at the customer’s own risk. Please check with us before installing onto any tiled surface.

Single Shelves
Practically no planning is necessary for a single shelf — the answer is anywhere there is enough good wall.

Bookcase Kits
For the bookcase kits, only a little planning is required. This is because installation always starts with the bottom shelf — so it’s useful to think ahead to where the top shelf will be. So before starting, assess the approximate desired position of the shelving on the wall.

From an ease of installation point of view, there is no need to be very precise about this, because during installation our bookend wire supports are designed to ‘self-adjust’ to whatever the final gap is between the shelves (subject to maximum gap 450mm approx). Pre planning should take account of the approximate gaps you want between the shelves (subject max 450mm approx ) and remember to allow sufficient space above the envisaged top shelf for coving/ceiling etc — and below the envisaged bottom shelf for any furniture.

When planning how much of a gap to allow between the shelves, we suggest a minimum of 20cms for small paperbacks and a maximum of 450mm for larger books or display items. Remember to allow for the thickness of the shelf itself (standard 22mm).

As a general rule, it looks better to reduce (rather than increase) the gap between each shelf as you progress up the wall. Or you may decide to keep the gaps exactly the same.

Because all fixings, (including the holes in the wall) will be concealed by the shelf itself once it is fixed in position, there is no reason why the surrounding area should be damaged during installation providing you take care during drilling and fixing. Once the shelf is installed, use masking tape (low-tack masking tape is best on papered walls) to protect the surrounding decorations during painting. Warning: if planning to install your shelf onto a wallpapered surface, check that the low-tack masking tape will not damage the wallpaper when it is peeled off.

Yes. Although installation of our shelves is straightforward, we do recommend at least a quick read through the instructions before you start because you can get into difficulties if — for example — you skip certain stages. Always check your measurements and do not be tempted to skip any stages when measuring and marking — or in the drilling order

We recommend you do not use glue, as it should not be necessary for any of our standard size shelves and if applied unevenly may even reduce the shelf’s strength. However, for some special sizes and unusual applications — including some of our very small shelves, for example any small shelf required to support large audio speakers — careful application of standard wood glue can be applied to achieve maximum strength possible. Please email for advice.

This won’t be too difficult, providing you’ve followed the instructions and only inserted the dowels at the final stage — i.e. once you’ve firmly and finally fixed each shelfbar support in its desired position.

Either way, the best way to take a shelf down — and at that same time protect the wall surface — is not to pull the shelf directly off its shelfbar support, but instead carefully slide a strong blade (e.g, set square/steel ruler) between the shelf and shelfbar support and — working your way carefully along the shelf length, gently prise the shelf away from the shelfbar support.

Yes. We have tested and supply special wall plugs for plasterboard onto dot&dab walls and the results are excellent – these can be selected during checkout .

No. During installation there is no need to locate the wooden stud to rear – the fixings we supply will fully tighten onto the plasterboard only.

Alcove Shelves

Our Alcove shelving is a bespoke product as all alcove angles/dimensions are irregular. We will supply the shelves to fit your alcoves’ unique angles. Fill in the actual measurements — e.g the dimensions of the alcove front and back — as requested on the Alcove Measuring Form and email to us.

We will assess your alcove angles and email you back with our suggestions for the best cutting widths. This email will also include our full quote based on website prices + quick checkout link.

The shelfbar® design accommodates all alcove angles and dimensions — however irregular. For most installations, providing you measure with reasonable care, no cutting onsite is needed. However, if cutting onsite is preferred (perhaps for pro installers) or does prove necessary (perhaps if a mistake has been made in measuring) there is the comfort that up to 5mm approx (more towards the shelf rear) can be removed onsite from each shelf end without damaging the concealed side-wall fixings.

To assess the narrowest and widest points of your alcove, take width measurements at various points — see our drawing contained in the Measuring Cutting Width Form.

When assessing the best cutting width, allow for alcove angles by leaving a gap between the shelf ends and the adjoining alcove wall. The minimum gap recommended at each end of shelf is 2mm — even if your alcove angles are pretty nearly perfect. This gap will vary by approx +/- 5mm at each edge according to the alcove wall angles. If required , gaps of up to approx 10mm at each edge can be filled successfully post installation with decorators caulk or flexible filler — but usually gaps of this size can be avoided. For best advice please use our Alcove Advice Service.

We know most of our customers use a metal tape measure. Some customers use use lazer measures — these are great too , especially for larger widths , but nb please do quick double check with metal tape to ensure the laser factory settings are correct!) While taking care to be as accurate as you can, the measurements do not need to be 100% accurate as the shelfbar installation system is “forgiving.” Take advantage of our alcove advice service (included in the price – please see answer above). Most customers install without the need for trimming onsite — but if required, you have the comfort of knowing that up to 5mm from each edge can be cut onsite without damaging the concealed side-wall fixings.


Shelfbar® shelves are available with “rounded” edge finish (which includes rounded corners) or “straight” (square) edge finish. When ordering select your preference from the drop-down menu.

Close-up photos below show a comparison between ’rounded’ v. ‘straight’ edges. This illustration shows our bookcase product which has the additional bookend wire supports.

The same comparison applies to Single Shelves and Corner Shelves (minus the additional bookend wire supports shown below) and Corner Bookcase Shelves.

Any Rounded or Straight edge finish is applied to exposed edges only,  so – for example – the Alcove Shelf product has a finish on front edge only , and Corner Shelf product has a finish on front edge plus 1 x side edge.

Rounded Edge
rounded edge floating shelf
Straight Edge
straight edge floating shelf

Your shelves do need to be sealed and — to achieve a beautiful, fully fitted professional interior finish — painting is worth the effort. All aspects of finishing, including painting and the application of Decorator’s Caulk /Flexible Filler will add to the shelves’ strength and fitted look.

But if your shelves are for the studio or workshop, you may decide to leave them as they are.

Yes , providing that as soon as installed your shelves are then painted/sealed before being exposed to moisture.  The paint type should be resistant to moisture and the shelves should not be positioned where they will be exposed to direct wetting — ie positioned too close to shower — but otherwise they will be fine.

To achieve the most professional result, once the shelves are installed — and after Decorator’s Caulk / Flexible Filler has been applied to all gaps and joins and allowed to dry — begin by applying masking tape where necessary. For bookcase kits this will include protecting the wires during painting — please see photo (click to enlarge).

Now apply one or two coats of combined primer/undercoat. Quick smooth the shelf edges using the sanding pad supplied between coats — not before application of the first coat. For the final coat, choose a satinwood or gloss paint. For long shelves, you may find using a mini roller useful, brushing off if required as you proceed.

(Tip for pro installers: A convenient time to apply masking tape to walls during the installation process is just after each shelfbar support is secured — i.e. just after step 5 of the instructions — see photo and click to enlarge.)

If you would like help with assessing the best cutting width to fit your alcove:

Click here to download Measuring Cutting Width Form Microsoft Word Version
Click here to download Measuring Cutting Width Form PDF

Please email the completed form back to

The size of gap between shelves is entirely up to you — subject to a maximum of 450mm. The precise gap need only be decided during installation. Some customers prefer the same gap between each shelf but some prefer a larger gap between the lower shelves and reducing the gap between the higher shelves etc.

Not always – in fact the opposite can be true because good quality MDF can outperfom natural wood in many ways. All our shelves are supplied in solid premium grade MDF . When combined with our fixing system, this makes the shelves very strong and once installed and painted will prove resistant to temperature and moisture changes.

Walls are rarely perfect and often it is only when installation starts that the extent of any irregularity or “bend” becomes apparent — especially for longer shelves.

Wall bend will result in gaps — these gaps may be located between the wall and the shelfbar® support — and/or (once the shelf is fully installed), between the shelfbar® support and its matching shelf.

The Best remedy depends on the degree of bend , please see below .

For Minimal Bend or Gaps

Small gaps of 1mm-2mm up to approx 3mm maximum over a 1510mm width shelf are fine.
Remedy: as per instructions, just fill all gaps with Decorator’s Caulk / Flexible Filler once the shelves are fully installed

For Larger Bend or Gaps

It should become apparent early in the installation if the bend and resulting gap is likely to be larger than approx 3mm.

In this situation any larger gap is best packed out between wall and shelfbar® support, in order to remove or more evenly distribute the gap.

pack out, when tightening, by inserting insert a correctly-sized packing piece. This can be a small or scrap piece of wood — e.g. old matches, even cardboard , just less than 22mm in diameter so as to be covered by shelf thickness . Position the packing piece adjacent to the nearest screw fixing point and tighten carefully. This will ensure the shelfbar® support is kept as straight as possible.

Whatever the remedy, ensure the shelfbar® support achieves a secure fixing onto the rear wall.

As per instructions, once fully installed, fill all gaps (including packed areas) fully with flexible filler/ or decorators caulk.

If gaps are large, a second application of flexible filler may be required. This type of filler tends to shrink as it dries, so it is difficult to overfill. If required — and in order to completely remove any trace of gap & achieve perfect razor profile, a final small application of traditional sandable type filler can be applied.

If you have a question not answered above, or just need some general assistance, please don’t hestitate to Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help.

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About Shelfbar...

Do you want beautiful floating shelves – ranging from a small shelf positioned ‘just so’ to take everyday bits and pieces, or a larger shelf above a radiator...

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What Our Customers Say

Sarah Holmes

“ Really happy with the quality of your product - I needed some heavy duty shelves for my office but wanted them to look good too. This product ticks all those boxes! ”

Michael Durbridge

“ I was incredibly impressed with the service, quality and fittings for the shelves you supplied. They look amazing and I am very pleased with the end result. I would have no hesitation in recommending you to my friends and family! ”

Mrs Aston

“ We have been delighted with the service firstly and the product is amazing. We have previously had floating shelves and they were useless. The Shelfbar design is faultless! ”
floating shelves bookcase shelves floating shelves Read More Testimonials

What Our Customers Say

floating shelf

Our unique design and fixing system

The Shelfbar® system works through a combination of a unique design and fixing system applied to the best quality engineered materials and manufacturing. All painting is after installation to achieve the best fully fitted finish. Not just for trade professionals, these high performance floating shelves can be successfully installed using everyday DIY skills

How strong are Shelfbar shelves?

We could answer this question in several ways, but we think “can they take my books?” is the load measure most people want to know.

All Shelfbar® designs have been tested on a range of solid wall and plasterboard surfaces and they can easily support as many books as can reasonably be fitted on them. With no bend, no wobble and no sag.

We have put some of our products through some additional extreme testing - Please take a look at the photos of these at How Strong?
strong floating shelves

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