There are not many homes today that do not have some form of shelving. Not surprising considering that shelving is probably the cheapest form of storage available.
Shelves comes in two basic forms:
- Individual, or a collection of wall mounted shelving on some form of fixed bracket.
- Shelving unit; that is made-up like a piece of furniture or some form of racking unit.
Before purchasing any shelving material, careful consideration should be given to the type of shelving that will be most suited to your needs, which is determined by what you intend storing or displaying on them and how they will look in your home.
Whatever your decision, one thing is paramount; Shelves should not fall down! The main culprits for this problem are;
- The wrong type or size of brackets.
- Fixing screws that are too short or not installed correctly into a particular type of wall or partition.
The second potential problem is 'sagging', to which there are two main factors to what can cause it.
- Shelf supports set too far apart.
- The shelving material is not of adequate thickness to carry the load.
Material such as blockboard (with its core running lengthways) or thick plywood will be stronger and less likely to sag than a veneered or laminated chipboard shelf and the supporting brackets can be spaced further apart. It is difficult to be specific about the spacing, as this depends on the weight of the materials you intended placing on them.
Shelf brackets come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate most needs, ranging from the ornate to the plain finish.
When fitting, the longer part of the 'L' should be fixed to the wall and the shorter to the underside of the shelf, this compensates for the leverage factor. The shorter part of the bracket should only be slightly shorter than the shelf that it is supporting.
Depending on the type of metal bracket used, there is usually two or three screws holes for fixing. The brackets can be fixed directly onto the wall or mounted onto timber battens which are fixed to the wall.
There are no strict rules on how brackets should be fixed; there are advantages and disadvantages with both options. It's all to do with considering your options and going for what suits you best.
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