My builder installed insulation board over the existing solid brick walls in our new kitchen. I need to install anchors for string shelf supports but haven't had any luck finding the right ones.

I've drilled through the wall to the brickwork. Depth from inside face of wall to brick is 110mm approx. There is studwork attached to the brickwork and then either 12 or 18mm plywood attached to that. Then the insulation board and plasterboard on top. My problem is that there is only approx 45mm gap between the brick and plywood so the anchors I've tried to install (link below) can't rotate up to grab the plywood as they need just a bit more room than I have. I tried shaving off some of the brick with a long sds bit but don't have the space to manouever it and don't want to damage the outer wall with my fiddling.

This is an image of how the builder explained it is laid out, and it seems to fit with my drilling: enter image description here

Here are the anchors I've tried. Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Sketch will help us figure this out. But my first question is why can't you use screws into the studs instead of anchors between the studs? Jun 19, 2018 at 21:51
  • We use plywood all the time to mount load centres and disconnects to walls some of these are quite heavy and I have not had one come down see @isherwoods answer it will work and not take a chance in messing up the brick.+
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


The plywood is robust enough that I'd hang your shelves on that with wood screws. If they're very heavy, hit the plywood and the studs. You may get some bending of fasteners, though, due to the span to the face of the wallboard, so use fairly heavy screws (#10 or better).

I see no reason to anchor into the masonry. By the time your screws pull out of the plywood you'll have serious damage to the drywall anyway. That's unlikely unless you go nuts with the decorative plates and load your shelves to an absurd degree.

  • So you mean screw straight through the plasterboard and insulation board in to the plywood and that should do the trick? (I realise that's exactly what you said, I'm just skeptical:) )
    – beirtipol
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:26
  • Yes. Your situation really isn't that different from a modern framed wall with drywall, aside from the insulation behind.
    – isherwood
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:27
  • Worth adding that this has held up pretty heavy shelving with heavy stuff on it for the past few years. Great advice, thanks again!
    – beirtipol
    Jan 21, 2021 at 17:12

I had a similar situation with 3” foam on an outside wall. I used 5” Tapcon screws and a 12” bit to drill the holes.

Good luck!

  • Tapcon is a brand of masonry screws.
    – isherwood
    Jun 20, 2018 at 14:10
  • @isherwood I think that's the point, the screws can be anchored to the brick if you drill deep enough.
    – greggo
    May 19, 2021 at 1:39
  • And my point that brand names sometimes don't translate well across nations and cultures. We should use standard industry terms. :)
    – isherwood
    May 19, 2021 at 12:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.