How to Hang a Shelf on Tile Backsplash

Installing shelves on a tile backsplash can add extra storage and display space to your kitchen. However, it requires some special considerations to ensure the shelves are securely installed without damaging the tile. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to hang shelves on a tile backsplash.

Choose Appropriate Shelves

When selecting shelves for a tile backsplash, consider the following:

Weight Capacity

Make sure the shelf you choose is rated to handle the weight of whatever you plan to store on it. Heavier items require more robust brackets and shelf materials.


Take measurements of the area where you want to install the shelf. Choose a size that fits the space appropriately. Leave a few inches of clearance on the sides.


Glass, wood, or metal shelves are suitable options. The material should be moisture-resistant if installing near a sink.


Choose brackets specifically designed for tile installation. Look for ones with tile ledges that sit flush behind the tile and distribute weight evenly.

Gather the Right Supplies

Installing shelves on tile requires specialty mounting hardware. You’ll need:

  • Power drill
  • Carbide drill bit (for drilling into tile)
  • Screws designed for securing to tile
  • Tile adhesive (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Protective eyewear

Make sure to use any supplied anchors, fasteners, or wall plugs recommended for the brackets.

Find the Wall Studs

Locate the studs in the area you want to install the shelf. Use a stud finder to detect them behind the tile. Mark their positions with a pencil.

The brackets must be anchored into the studs for sufficient support. If there is no stud where you want to place a bracket, consider using toggle bolts or hollow wall anchors.

Mark Bracket Locations

Hold the shelf up to the wall in the desired installation location. Mark where the brackets will go by tracing the inside edges.

Make sure the shelf will be level by using a level tool on the shelf. Adjust the bracket marks if needed.

Spacing the bracket marks evenly provides the most support. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how many brackets to use.

Drill Holes

Put on protective eyewear before drilling. Use a carbide drill bit the same diameter as the wall anchors you are using. Drill slowly through the tile and into the wall at each marked bracket location.

Press firmly and let the bit do the work. Apply light pressure at first until it bites into the tile, then push harder. Lubricating the bit with water helps keep it cool.

Drill perpendicularly to the wall, not at an angle. Drill deep enough for the anchors to be flush or slightly recessed.

Insert Anchors

Remove any debris from the holes and insert the recommended wall anchor or screw anchor hardware. Tap anchors gently with a hammer if needed to get them flush with the tile.

Consider using a tile adhesive around the anchors for extra holding power. Let the adhesive cure fully before attaching brackets.

Mount Brackets

Attach the shelf brackets to the anchors following the manufacturer’s instructions. Tighten all screws securely, but be careful not to overtighten.

Some tile ledges fit behind the tile. Others adhere directly to the tile surface. Ensure any adhesive or sealant has fully dried first.

Add the Shelf

Once the brackets are securely mounted, install the shelf onto the brackets. Some use a slide-on clip system. For others, lift the shelf so the brackets fit into the shelf channels.

Make any final adjustments to ensure the shelf is level and positioned correctly. Add any desired finishing touches like risers, brackets, or end caps.

Safety Tips

When installing shelves on tile:

  • Use a helper for large shelves
  • Protect the tile surface with cardboard or cloth
  • Follow tile drill bit speed recommendations
  • Wear safety glasses to prevent injury from tile shards
  • Use a vacuum to contain tile dust

Take care not to crack or shatter the tile. Drill gently, especially through grout lines. Use sharp drill bits designed for smooth drilling through ceramic surfaces.

With proper brackets and technique, you can add durable, long-lasting shelves to tile backsplashes. Just be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions for your chosen mounting system. Take it slow and steady.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight can shelves hold on tile?

With appropriate brackets anchored into studs, shelves can hold 50-100 lbs on tile backsplashes in most cases. Always check the shelf and hardware weight ratings.

What type of screws should be used?

Screws specifically designed for securing to tile and masonry work best, such as ceramic tile screws. Ensure any provided hardware is used.

What if there are no studs behind the tile?

Toggle bolts or hollow wall anchors can be used instead of studs. But shelves may only be able to hold lighter items. Anchoring into studs provides the most robust support.

Should extra adhesive be used under the brackets?

Construction adhesive or silicone provides extra bonding on tile, but check first if this is recommended for the mounting system. Proper anchors and brackets alone are usually sufficient.

How are floating shelves installed on tile?

Floating shelves have integrated brackets hidden within the shelf itself. The shelf can be secured right to the tile surface, normally using adhesives or tiles screws into grout lines.


Installing shelves on tile backsplashes is an easy way to add storage space in your kitchen. With the proper heavy-duty brackets and drilling into studs, you can create a secure mount for your shelf. Glass, wood, or metal shelves can all work as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Just be sure to thoroughly plan the layout, use appropriate hardware, and drill carefully into the tile. Take safety precautions and your new shelf will provide a useful display and storage space while complementing your backsplash style.