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Short on shelf space?
Story Updated: Feb 7, 2012
Home Sweet Solutions: Quick Fix
Short on shelf space?
By Jean Nayar for Home Sweet Solutions
One of the easiest ways to add accessible storage to a room is to install a wall shelf. Wall-mounted shelves are available in different formats. Free-floating shelves are designed to support lightweight objects. Stand-alone shelves that are supported by L-shaped or decorative brackets can support medium weights (between 30-50 pounds). Shelving systems mounted on metal standards and adjustable brackets can support heavier weights if they are mounted onto wooden wall studs.
Mounting shelves to studs is preferred, regardless of the weight that the shelves will support. Doing so, however, isn’t always possible. If there’s no stud in the area where you want to place your shelf, you’ll need to use hollow-wall toggle anchors to secure the shelf in place. The following directions explain how to install medium-weight shelves mounted on metal standards with adjustable brackets. These instructions are intended for a standard two-by-four hollow wall construction. (NOTE: Hollow-wall toggle anchors can’t be used in plaster or concrete walls, narrow walls or walls filled with rigid foam insulation.)
Stud finder (optional)
Finish nail (optional)
2-3 twin-track metal standards
2-3 adjustable shelf brackets per shelf
Drill and screw bits
2 1/2-inch-long flathead screws
Phillips screwdriver (optional)
Shelves, cut to fit the width of the brackets
1 1/4 inch-long flathead screws
Hollow-wall toggle anchors (optional)
1. Locate the studs.
Following the instructions on the stud finder, locate the positions of the studs by moving the electronic sensor horizontally along the wall until you see a red line or hear a beep. Mark the location of the stud with a pencil.
Slide the stud finder toward the mark from the opposite direction to find the stud's other edge. Mark the edge once you’ve found it. Move 32 inches away from the location of the first stud and repeat to locate and mark the position of the second stud (in standard U.S. drywall construction, studs are placed 16 inches apart on center). If you have wood-lath plaster walls, use a stud sensor with a metal setting to locate where the lath is nailed to the stud. If you have metal-lath plaster, punch tiny holes with a finish nail along the wall near the baseboard until you hit a stud.
2. Drill pilot holes.
Hold one of the standards on the wall between the marks of one of the stud’s edges. Lightly mark where the top screw hole falls on the stud. Using a drill, bore a 1/8 inch-diameter pilot hole at the pencil mark.
3. Screw in the standards.
Hold the standard in place and, using the drill and a Philips screwdriver or a Philips screwdriver bit, drive a 2 1/2 inch-long screw through the standard into the pilot hole, making sure the screw is snug but not over-tightened.