I am building out a french cleat wall for a home office a la the below photo. The cleats will be 3/4 inch plywood ripped to 4" strips and attached directly to the studs (through the drywall). I plan to put in two fasteners at each stud for each cleat.

What are the best fasteners to use? Are lag bolts necessary or are 2 1/2 inch screws sufficient? The various shelves will have books and plants and pictures, etc. so not a ton of weight.

enter image description here

  • 4
    Use hardwood, it'll look 100x better. Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 23:38
  • It will also work much better, books are heavy like wood blocks the same size.
    – Jasen
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 11:19
  • 1
    @Jasen It seems that wood choice doesn't matter that much.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 15:55
  • 1
    OTOH, @whatsisname, if a nice sheet of plywood is purchased, there's nothing wrong with the look of plywood.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


If you are screwing to every stud and they are spaced at 16" and you're not hanging anything incredibly heavy and not climbing, doing chin-ups or doing anything else involving supporting people or repeatedly pulling on the cleats, ONE 2.5" screw per stud is plenty. I expect the weak point will be the top edge of the plywood where you shape it to hang the fixtures. If that's the case, multiple screws per stud or lag bolts will add nothing. Wouldn't be a bad idea to do a regression test on one piece attached to 3 studs. Just pile on weight slowly til something breaks, then you'll know what not do do but you may find that no reasonable amount of weight will break anything if you take reasonable steps like hanging larger shelves from two places as in this photo.


Get these or the equivalent at your local supplier, they are basically the perfect general purpose wood screws:

Coated, self-tapping deck screws

As the other poster said, you only need a single screw per stud. I don't know what their official rating is, but independent testing shows these have a pullout strength of upwards of 1000 lbs per screw, it's quite impressive.

For shelves and things like french cleats, friction is what holds the cleats up on the wall, not the shear strength of the screws. Instead, the preload of the screw is to keep the cleat rigidly against the wall, providing that friction. 1 of these per stud sufficiently tightened will be more than up to the task.

Normally, with soft woods the self tapping is all you need. If you are using hardwoods though, you'll probably want to drill pilot holes through the cleats, as well as counter sink the heads, for a flawless appearance. You'll have to do a few practice drills and countersinking to get the right balance of how much squishing your hardwood will tolerate, because you'll want a nice, flush or slightly recessed screw head, but you still need sufficient preloading.

  • I would note that there's nothing particularly magical about that brand. Any of the similar style "decking" screw will be perfectly acceptable. Also, 3" may be a bit of overkill, but that may depend on the thickness of the drywall on the garage walls. You'll want about 1.5" of screw in the stud (any more than that and you risk hitting plumbing/electrical that's been run through the stud), so do the math on screw length - add up the thickness of plywood and drywall, then add 1.5"
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 16:19
  • also simillar chipboard screws will work.
    – Jasen
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 19:41

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.