How Much Weight Can A French Cleat Hold: A Short Guide

French cleats can save a lot of time and space. It’s also super strong. But there are multiple variables that determine cleat’s carrying capacity. That’s why you’ve to know about them before making a final decision. 

So, how much weight can a french cleat hold

French cleats are famous for being space sufficient and extremely strong. A strong french cleat can hold up to 200-300 pounds. But it’s mostly about materials and fasteners. For example, plywood can bear more weight than metal. Also, the mechanical fasteners can add up to 500 pounds without any issue. 

Anyhow, that was a quick glance at the entire discussion. There are a lot of calculations and factors to consider and take into account. 

So, keep reading if you wish to know more about french cleats in detail. 

What Is A French Cleat? 

French cleats let you hang cabinets, many other things on the wall. It’s a very renowned technique from the medieval era. 

The origin of the name “French Cleat” is actually unknown. However, many people believe it comes from frenching. Frenching means cutting something into thin straps; like french fries! 

But the most logical way to assume would be that it was invented by French people. The influence of the French was massive, so it makes perfect sense. 

How Does A French Cleat Function

How does a french cleat function? Questions like this are very common. Just like how much wood is equal to 1 ton of coal? To understand them you’ll need to know the science behind them. 

A French cleat has a 45-degree cut. There are two cleats; tool cleat and wall cleat. The latter is screwed to the wall stud. Then the tool cleat sits on the wall cleat with tools. 

The point where the object sits is called a pivot point. The closer the point is, the stronger the cleat will be. 

If the tool cleat is sitting vertically, it won’t cause any damage. Because the weight itself is being backed up by the wall. 

Just imagine a triangle where one side is connected. The hypotenuse below backs up the weight. 

Why Should You Use French Cleat? 

There are a lot of benefits you can have by installing french cleats. Let’s have a look at them below- 

Space Management

Space management is a common issue if you’re living in a small house. The small and medium rooms can benefit a lot from these cleats. 

See, normally, you would need a table to keep things. But the table can only do so much. Like, 2 shelves at max. 

How Much Weight Can A French Cleat ...
How Much Weight Can A French Cleat Hold: A Short Guide

On top of that, the upper area of the wall always remains unused. That’s when a french cleat becomes a necessity. By using them, you can make small cabinets that can be hung around. 

This gives you a lot of space where you can install or keep something else.


Another plus point of having a french cleat is the durability. French cleats are super durable due to their building structure. 

It sends a lot of the weight back to the wall. Because of that, a french cleat can last for many years. 

Usually, the nails are prone to come off or get weakened before the cleat. 

What Makes A French Cleat Extremely Tough

There are multiple factors that make french cleats stand out among others. The weight carrying capacity of a french cleat depends on these factors. They are material types, glues, and mechanical fasteners. 

So, to know how much weight can your french cleat carry, you should know these factors-


The material being used as french cleat matters a lot. It has to be tough and durable. Just like how finishing matters a lot for wooden coasters. Because if it fails, the entire cabinet will fall down. 

There are mainly 3 types of material used for the cleat. We’ve highlighted the weight holding capacity of both- 


Feature Metal Plywood MDF
Weight Carrying Capacity Moderate Very High High

Now, let’s learn the details-

Metals are the least strong that are used as cleats. They are super good for keeping light things. They are also super cheap too. 

On the contrary, plywoods are super dense and tough. They are also very durable and can stay intact for a long time. They hardly get sheared. 

People also use MDF as french cleats. But they are comparatively weaker than plywood. They’re also cheaper than plywood. 

Speaking of materials, here are some of our best recommendations for plywood french cleat- 


Plywood 1
Plywood 2


You can now choose any that you prefer and get started! 


Glues are very important for making sturdy holders. Without strong glue, you won’t be able to keep heavy things. 

Epoxy is a great adhesive to use. They are quite strong and usually lasts for 2-3 years without any nails. Silicone adhesives and wood glues are also great alternatives. 

You’ll also need some nails to carry even more weight. Using a nailer will help a lot. 

Mechanical Fasteners 

A mechanical fastener is used to join multiple objects. Remember to use construction-grade screws as fasteners. This way your french cleat will be able to carry more weight. 

There are multiple sizes of fasteners. Among them, we recommend using size 6 screws and size 8 screws. 

A size 8 fastener is really good for connecting the plywood to the wall stud. When multiple of them are connected, they can carry up to 500 pounds. 

As for the connecting holders, size 6 screws are enough. They can carry around 250 pounds of pull-weight. Together, these screws make the cleats extremely strong. 

Speaking of fasteners, here are top picks- 


Fastener 1
Fastener 2

You can now pick whichever you like and get started! 

Lastly, always remember to make a proper plan prior to the installation. Then go ahead and install french cleats for hanging your wall cabinets.


Question: How thick does a French cleat need to be?

Answer: The French cleats should always be ¾” thicker. Because this amount of thickness can withstand a lot of weight. So, overall it will provide more than 200 pounds of pull weight. 

Question: How do you cut a French cleat?

Answer: To cut a perfect french cleat, you’ll need a saw. Place the saw at a 45-degree angle. Then simply run the plywood through it. 

Question: Can I use 2×4 for French cleat?

Answer: 2×4 plywood is super good to use as french cleats. The weights are always evenly distributed. So, all you have to do is to cut in the middle and you’re done! 

Take Away

That was all we could gather on how much weight can a french cleat hold. We hope that we have provided enough to satisfy your curiosity. 

Last but not least, have a nice day! 

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