I really REALLY love the John Sterling Fast Mount Shelving system. I use it all over my house.

Presently I have been using #8 2-1/2" drywall Screws to attach the wall standards to the wall.

As of yet, I have had zero issues. I use these shelving systems for everything. My desk, bookshelves for my roleplaying book collection, wood storage, everything.

As I said, no issues... However, I have recently learned that these are not the best screws to use for this application considering the amount of shearing forces that this system places on the screws.

What would be a better alternative? I know that John Sterling sells a screw pack for these standards but they are overpriced and nearly impossible to find. I would like whatever suggestion I can get.

Also, learned that these standards use #10 screws not #8. So yeah Thank you in advance.

Here is a link to the standards on Menards so you can see what I am talking about.

John Sterling Fast Mount Wall Standards

And here are the screws that John Sterling sells for them.

John Sterling Fast Mount Wall Standard Wall Mounting Screws

Basically, I am looking for a readily available alternative to these screws to replace the drywall screws I am currently using.

EDIT: I am driving the screws into the studs. Just a clarification.

  • 2
    This question isn't at all specific to that particular brand. There are many manufacturers of such shelving standards, and the question applies to all of them.
    – isherwood
    Oct 2, 2020 at 15:10
  • I'm with you on replacing your screws, however: We had 6' long shelves on 8' tall standards held up to a plaster & lathe wall for the best part of 28 years. Over time, these shelves became more & more laden with books, paper, and the general cruft of life. They were mounted with drywall screws, run through the standards and into whatever was behind them - some hit stud, some hit lathe, some just hit plaster. We never had a bit of trouble. I'm not necessarily recommending it, but it stands as evidence that a drywall screw can hold significant weight over significant time.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 2, 2020 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


The factory screws look like #10 sheet metal screws with a flat head, just eyeballing it. You will want screws the same size so that the head fits just-right in the hole, too big and they won't sit flush. Sheet metal screws will be stronger than drywall screws, but wood screws or construction screws will be stronger than sheet metal screws.

  • So do you suggest like #10 2-1/2" Construction Screws? I was looking at some Spax construction screws.
    – Beniled
    Oct 2, 2020 at 14:55
  • Really, almost any screw that isn't black oxide will do fine. I've never seen silver or gold screws fail in such an application. Find screws that fit your standards well and call it good.
    – isherwood
    Oct 2, 2020 at 15:08
  • @Benfield - I'd bring a screw with you to match the diameter of the head, since I'm just guessing the size. Spax and other premium screws are great. I'd choose one that allows a square drive but that's just my preference. Oct 2, 2020 at 15:27
  • Square/Robertson drive or Torx drive far exceed Phillips head, but any of them will do the trick
    – FreeMan
    Oct 2, 2020 at 17:41

We will all assume that you have been and will continue to drive the mounting screws into wood wall studs. If you are not screwing into the studs then screw size is basically irrelevant because any size screw driven directly into plaster or wallboard has a high probability of pulling out.

On shelving standards, the number of mounting holes with screws varies depending on the length of the standard, but I feel that you have little to be concerned about. If you have already put up these shelves "all over" your house (including being loaded with heavy books) and they haven't catastrophically sheared away from the wall, they aren't likely to in the future unless you totally overload the shelves somehow.

#8 screws are plenty strong for your application; in fact I would guess that it would be nearly impossible for you to concentrate a load on those shelves such that it would simultaneously shear all the #8 mounting screws.

  • I generally agree, but drywall screws are hard and brittle and don't tolerate bending at all. If the shelf standard was to shift on the wall due to excessive loading they're more likely to snap than screws made of softer metals. That said, I've never seen it actually happen.
    – isherwood
    Oct 2, 2020 at 15:12
  • Yes, I am definitely going into the stud.
    – Beniled
    Oct 2, 2020 at 16:51

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.