What is a French cleat?
A french cleat is a product used for mounting and joining items together by using a minimal amount of materials, with minimal damage to the wall. The method is simple, and dates back many hundreds of years, showing the value of this method of mounting items. By mounting one diagonally-cut piece of wood to the wall, another can be slid into it, using gravity to hold it safely in place.
A french cleat is two pieces of material that interlock, one piece is mounted on the wall and the other attached to the item you are hanging. The upper cleat is attached to the item being mounted, and the lower cleat will be attached to the wall. The upper and lower cleat are joined together for a secure mounting. When hanging heavy casework like wall cabinets or shelves, it can be one of the best methods used for a strong and secure hold.
French cleats are a great way of securing mirrors, pieces of artwork, shelving units, cabinets, or other objects to a wall. The extruded aluminum versions of the french cleat, such as the Eagle Z Clip, are a modern substitute for the wooden french cleats. The aluminum z clips are stronger than the wood french cleat versions. Since the aluminum z clip is much thinner than a wood french cleat, there is less stand-off or space between the product and the wall.
What are the Benefits of Using a French Cleat Over Other Methods?
Other methods, such as nails and brackets, require additional installation time which is often not ideal. In addition to this, many nails will need to be driven into the wall which will later need to be filled to bring the wall back to a decent appearance.
Keyhole hangers or keyhole slots are other methods used for hanging objects but need special tools or router bits requiring modification of the wood item you are mounting. A French cleat only needs a few screws to hold it in place and is known to be significantly stronger than many other mounting methods.
Once the french cleat is secured to the wall, the object can be simply placed and lowered onto it for final installation. Adjustments to the lateral position of a mounted object can be easily moved to the left or right for the optimal position with ease.
Cabinet Maker Favorite
French cleats are often used to secure cabinets to walls but can also be used to build modular shelving units that can help organize your workspace. French cleats have been a favorite among cabinet makers to hang cabinets, but they can be used for many projects, even hanging a simple birdhouse.