There’s nothing that saves space quite like shelving. Whether you’re in need of a new bookshelf, an additional vanity shelf in the bathroom or a set of storage shelves to help organise your office space, here are the top 10 tips to remember when fitting new shelves in your home.
1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Where you plan on placing your shelving has everything to do with what the purpose of the shelving is, and as a result, the purpose of the shelving will dictate the type of storage solution you need. If you have a large amount of books and need a bookshelf, you might want to install a freestanding, flat pack unit. However, if you need the floor space, a better option would be to mount shelves on the wall.
2. GET THE RIGHT TOOLS
Make sure you have the right tools for the task. You don’t want to be stuck mid-shelf only to realise that, despite your efforts, it’s just not quite straight. That being said, a skew shelf is the least of your worries when you have a labyrinth of invisible electric and gas cables running the length of your walls. By ensuring your have the right equipment at hand, you stand a good chance of getting the job done, right and with minimal mishap.
Essential shelving tools every toolbox should have:
- Metal detector to ascertain the whereabouts of metal piping within the walls.
- Try square
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
3. WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
If you’re mounting a simple shelving unit with wall brackets, be mindful of what you’re using the shelf for and the shelf’s length as, typically, the weight of your shelf will be carried by two supports screwed into the wall. If the shelf is holding heavy items or the wood material isn’t sturdy enough, or, the supports are too far apart the wood will bend in the middle.
4. GET SUPPORTS
Always add an additional wall screw and bracket if your shelf is longer than normal or needs to hold heavy items.
There are a few shortcuts to make your shelving hold should you lack additional brackets or your wood isn’t as hardwearing as you’d hoped. Add an extra strip of wood along the front of the shelf, as this gives the shelf additional support.
6. CHOOSE MATERIALS THAT LAST
Opt for heavy-duty wood and not plywood or a steel basket/aluminum shelf to hold tools or heaving equipment.
7. MAKE MARKS
Don’t be afraid to mark the walls. After marking the first hole check it against your bracket or support to make sure it’s accurate. Then, mark off the remaining holes and check again.
8. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SCREWS
Always make sure that you have the right screws and the right drill bit for the job. Drilling into a brick wall is very different to drilling into concrete, you’ll need an adequate drill bit. In addition installing a shelf into dry walling requires the use of plugs.
9. TRIPLE CHECK THE HEIGHT
No one wants a shelf that’s at the ideal height to hit your head on, especially if it’s in a high traffic area or in an unusually tight space. Think about the flow of people in and around the intended shelving unit and always make sure it’s installed in a clearly visible place and not in a blind spot.
10. WHEN IN DOUBT, USE A HANDYMAN
This is your best bet should you lack the tools, materials and know-how to tackle a project like this. Hiring a handyman, especially in this case, will probably cost you a lot less than buying all of the tools, materials and doing it yourself.