How To – Installing Wire Rack Shelves

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    Wire rack shelves can be used in many places in our homes to provide sturdy storage areas in our kitchens, closets and utility rooms. For the most part they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install however storing fradgile or smaller object can be a problem.

    Here we will cover the basic choices and install methods.

    The first thing you need to do is measure the area where you want the shelves to go. You need to get an accurate measurement between the two walls because your shelf will need to be cut to within about a half inch to fit.

    Cutting The Shelf
    Although the place that you buy your shelves at will cut them to the rough measurement you will probably need to clean them up at home. Using a Hack Saw is good and is your least expensive option if you don’t have a lot of tools. You can also use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade or your best bet is probably a cutoff wheel in a 4 inch grinder.

    Attaching the Mounting Brackets
    The next thing you want to do is get the shelf mounts installed to accept the shelf.
    There are 2 different types of mounts you will use.
    The Larger ones hold the shelf at the front edge.
    The smaller ones are clipped onto the shelf and attached to the wall with a screw.

    The best way to install the shelves is to draw a level line using an umm level where you want the shelve to hang. If you don’t have a level your next best bet is to measure down from the ceiling in a few places and get an average height. Even if you don’t want to buy a large 4 foot level to install a few shelves you can probably pickup a small level at Big Lots or a dollar store. It will be good to have for other projects.

    Once you have a level line where the top of the shelf will be you can start installing your brackets.

    The two large front ones should be installed first and you will need a drill to install the anchor.

    Drill the anchor holes then insert the anchor and nail used to attach the bracket to the wall. When you hammer the anchors into the drywall use a small block of wood so you don’t damage the wall with your hammer. Another trick is to install the screw in the anchor and tap it in by hitting the screw lightly but don’t messup the anchor.

    Once the front brackets are installed you can work on installing the clips that hold the back part of the wire shelf to the wall. They also require plastic anchors but use a screw to fasten the clip to the anchor. Try to make sure that the shelf is level while you work.

    Additionally you will use angle brackets to support larger spans of shelf from the underside. Read the manufacturers recommendations on how many brackets you need to place under your shelf but for a general rule about every 2 to 3 feet depending on the weight of the items you will place on the shelf. If you have a shelf that is attached to the wall on one side but hanging free on the other side you will need an additional bracket to support the end.

    There are a number of different options you can select when installing your shelves.

    The first is the width between the  rungs. Most are about 3/4 of an inch apart but if you will be storing smaller items like jars and cans in your kitchen pantry it may be worth it to go for smaller spacing. You can also place a piece of plastic on the shelf to support items and make sure spilled flower or detergent doesn’t run on to lower shelf items. I would suggest that you look at using some plastic sheets that are used in overhead lights for suspended ceilings. They come in 2×4 foot sizes and can be cut with a utility knife.

    Shoe Racks are another option for closet storage. You can design your own or use premade racks just for shoes.


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