How to Use Z Clips

While many woodworkers are familiar with and comfortable using Monarch Z Clips or panel clips for installing panels, we thought it would be helpful to have a simple primer on how to use them. Many architectural specifications call for back mounting accessories for installing and leveling architectural woodwork (architectural millwork) or panel hangers.

Monarch Z Clips essentially replaced the French cleat for installing panels. In the past, to avoid having any surface nails or screws, woodworks would cut two boards at a 45 degree angle, mount one board to the wall and mount the other board to the back of the panel to be installed. While this technique is time tested and successful, it is time consuming cutting the boards and more difficult to shim and level.

Panel clips work in a very similar fashion. For a typical 4’ by 8’ panel, you would mount three continuous lengths of the z clip to the wall at three different heights, parallel to each other. While it is not an exact science, and you will develop your own preferences over time, generally we find installer mount the continuous lengths 1.5 feet from the bottom and the top and then in the dead center of the panel. When mounting these to the wall, a laser level is a great way to make sure that you are perfectly parallel.

The Monarch clips are designed to be used with a #8 Pan Head screw that is appropriate for the substrate to which you are fastening. This is important because the head of the screw needs to fit between the z clip and the opposing panel or wall. The specification for the head of a #8 pan head screw is .098’’ and the clips are designed to have .125’’ of room for the head with a tolerance of +/- .008’’.

On the back of the panel you can either create a template to fit over the back of the panel or have a “story pole”. This template would be marked at the heights along the panel where you would install the mating shorter z clips. Woodworkers generally prefer to use the shorter clips on the back of the panels because this allows for a less perfect fit when mounting a panel that can be difficult to maneuver on the job site onto a wall that is inevitably crooked. Once the panel clips are installed it is as simple as mating the clips to the continuous length mounted along the wall.

Advantages of Zclips are that they are cost effective, faster to install, reduce the projection of the panel from the studs, allow for the removal of damaged panels in the future and allow the installer to have a finished panel without having any face nailing or screws.

Watch a Video of our Monarch Z-Clip hanging system at