We got our fireplace tiled recently and bought a floating mantel shelf. It is a 5 foot long mantel shelf that weighs 15-20 pounds. It is hollow and is 4” tall. There are only metal studs available to hang the wooden cleat for the mantel.

See below pictures for location of metal studs, the tiled fireplace, and the wooden cleat.

Would we be okay to install the wooden cleat to the metal studs using toggle bolts? Do we need to install toggle bolts on all 4 studs, or could we do goggles on the ends and drywall anchors in the middle?

The studs on the far ends are 4” wide. The middle studs are a couple inches wide and seemed more flimsy.

Don’t want our mantel to come crashing downfireplace collage

  • 1
    Are you going to place anything on the mantel? The metal studs should hold that weight along with a couple of pictures/light stuff.
    – crip659
    Aug 13, 2023 at 20:34
  • A couple stocking holders for Christmas and some pictures. Thought about a soundbar but don’t know if that’s too heavy with the mantel
    – Chiguy06
    Aug 13, 2023 at 21:05
  • 1
    I would consider a sound bar in light stuff. You should be good to add another 20 pounds, unless it is a 10,000 dollar ming vase.
    – crip659
    Aug 13, 2023 at 21:28
  • Thanks. Also didn’t want our TV to come crashing down. Looks like that was mounted in the middle - not sure if our installer used the middle studs or just did toggle bolts / hung through the drywall
    – Chiguy06
    Aug 29, 2023 at 0:28

1 Answer 1


You may do well to use toggle bolts in the 4" wide metal, provided you use a new drill bit to drill through the metal so distortion is kept at a minimum and a clean hole is provided.

One nice thing about metal studs, you can put screws in metal to a ridiculous degree, and it will not split like wood. I believe with that 4" filler/backer that goes to the wall before the mantel is installed was laden with self drilling tapping metal screws, something like 2 screws in the first upper 1" of the backer and a few more below in the remaining backer, that would have at least 16 to 20 screws holding the backer in place. The screws I am referring to are easy to do, and adding another 30% more will not damage the metal studs and if you predrill the backer it will not harm the backer either.

Do not try to set the screws in too far, just set the heads snug, you may be able to sink the heads, but there is a chance the threads may strip and you will hear a clicking sound when that happens and the screw will spin freely. If so, run another screw a little more to the side or below the other, simple as that.

  • Thanks. You’re saying to add a few more self drilling metal screws before installing the metal cleat? Do you think just doing two toggle bolts on each far end would be enough? What would you recommend for the skinnier metal studs in the middle?
    – Chiguy06
    Aug 26, 2023 at 18:38
  • Perhaps I made a couple of wrong assumptions based on the picture in lower right corner, it looked like the mantle is above another piece of wood with other wood blocks attached to it that, so I thought, was the mounting that is screwed to the wall first then the mantle slides over it to cover it. So there is a metal mounting bracket? The place I was referring to to place the screws was not adding more into the drywall, that will not do anything to hadd holding power for the mantle, but mounting the bracket that holds the mantle with a lot of screws through the mounting bracket.
    – Jack
    Aug 27, 2023 at 2:51
  • You’re correct. The bottom wooden piece with 4 piece of wood sticking up is the mounting bracket. The mantel slides over to cover it. Was going to use toggle bolts on the furthest ends over the 4 inch studs to mount the bracket to the wall. I can definitely get one toggle bolt on each end but not sure I can get two on each end. On the two smaller metal studs in the middle, haven’t figured out what to do there yet. Makes sense on trying to get more screws through the bracket. They sent with the mantel a total of 8 screws for mounting
    – Chiguy06
    Aug 29, 2023 at 0:10
  • The screws they provided are most likely for wood studs, they are of no value for this application. The link I provided for the self tapping sheet metal screws is all you will need for the install. You can use toggles if you like, if you are not comfortable using the screws I suggest, although it is a very simple fast way to get the mantle to stay. If you do go wit the self tapping screws, they will need to be 2 1/2" long to get to the metal framing, not the 2" the link points to.
    – Jack
    Aug 29, 2023 at 1:53
  • Thanks for all the input! I’ll probably go with the toggles on the ends, and screws you suggested for the middle since the metal studs are skinnier. Good call on the length - I’ll make sure they’re long enough to get to the framing.
    – Chiguy06
    Aug 29, 2023 at 2:46

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