We have a wall in the workroom next to our kitchen where we'd like to put a long, shallow shelf. The wall is stucco, and I'm a little concerned about the wall crumbling or cracking around the pilot holes and brackets. Has anyone successfully installed shelves on a stucco wall?

My concerns:

  • Drilling the pilot holes: I don't want to crack the stucco, and there's a layer of what I think is concrete between the plaster and the studs in most of the walls in this house. I'm thinking a thin masonry bit would work here.

  • Laying the shelf brackets: Since stucco isn't perfectly flat, the shelf brackets won't be perfectly against the wall. (We're thinking we'll use a bracket like these.)

  • I updated this question. We changed our plan from using rail shelving to simple brackets under the shelf. Aug 14, 2010 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


I'd agree with the masonry bit (as well, stucco is rough on drill bits anyway) of whatever size is recommended for the wall anchors you're using.

I'd been reluctant to post a response, as I had no idea what do do for the wall without flattening down that section, but I have a completely untested idea --

If the stucco isn't too extreme in its texture, and you're not going to be putting lots of load on the shelf, you might be able to cut a piece of foam to use as backing, and then tighten it to the wall to compress the foam so it's not too bouncy. You're likely going to want extra (or heavier) bolts for this; there won't be friction against the wall, so the bolts are going to be taking the whole load in sheer. Also, you won't have the same support against moment.

I was thinking some of the stiffer spray-foam might work, but if you wanted to make it removable without damage (and if you didn't, you'd just flatten the wall), you'd need to add some release agent, which might stain the wall, or go through some hoops to pull this off:

  1. Make a frame the size of the bracket, open on the side against the wall, and an extra hole (see below).
  2. Figure out where you want to mount the bracket.
  3. Tape a plastic bag large enough to full the frame on the end of a can of spray foam.
  4. Stuff the bag in the frame through the hole.
  5. Hold the frame where you want to mount the bracket, and inject the spray foam.
  6. Wait for it to set up.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each additional bracket location.

You might be able to do something similar with other products to mold to the wall, but all of the ones I can think of have slower set times which would make it really slow going.

  • Can you clarify what you mean by a frame? A frame around what? Aug 15, 2010 at 15:07
  • @neilfein : if it were concrete, it'd be the forms - just something to give the foam shape on the sides that aren't the wall.
    – Joe
    Aug 16, 2010 at 3:08

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