How to Fix a Floating Shelf

Updated February 21, 2017

A floating shelf is secured to a cleat that is attached to a wall in your home. The cleat is the bracing for the shelf and is attached to the studs in the wall. When a floating shelf cracks or breaks it will need to be fixed. This can be done by constructing a new shelf from various types of wood, such as Poplar. You can fix a floating shelf by first removing the old shelf from the cleat.

Remove the nails or screws from the shelf with the nail puller or power drill.

Pull the damaged shelf from the cleat on the wall. Examine the cleat to make sure that it is not damaged as well.

Measure the height and width of the cleat with the tape measure. This will give you the opening that will be needed for the new shelf. Measure the depth of the old shelf.

Transfer the measurements in Step 3 to a piece of Poplar. Cut one strip the height and width for the front of the frame. Cut two additional pieces the height and depth for the sides of the frame.

Measure the width and depth of the old shelf with the tape measure. Transfer the measurement to a piece of Poplar. Cut two sections of Poplar for the top and bottom of the shelf.

Apply wood glue to one end of the pieces of Poplar for the height and depth of the frame in Step 4. Set the piece of Polar for the height and width onto the ends.

Apply wood glue to the top edges of the framing and then set the a piece of Poplar for the width and depth on top. Secure the Poplar with the staple gun.

Turn the shelf over and apply wood glue to the edges of the framing. Set the other piece of Poplar on the frame and secure it with the staple gun.

Set the new shelf on the cleat and attach it with nails or screws onto the cleat.


Wipe any excess glue off of the new shelf with a cloth or rag. Fill and sand the nail holes with spackle or wood putty.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail puller
  • Power drill
  • Tape measure
  • Poplar wood
  • Table saw
  • Wood glue
  • Staple gun
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About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.