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is there any (sensible) way of installing modular shelves on crap walls?

(5 Posts)
fasterthanthewind Mon 01-Dec-14 10:46:15

We want to put up something like this (first pic) in our living room. Problem is, the wall is terrible - blown lath and plaster from the 1840s.

I've been looking around online for ages, and I can't work out if it's even worth trying to make this work - all the advice I can find is about apartments in the States, and they're generally much more modern than our house, and possibly built differently anyway.

My understanding is that the only way to fix securely on a wall like ours is to fix into a stud - is that right? And if it is, then can anyone think of a cunning way that would still allow us these modular (oh so flexible but also so INflexible) shelves, as it seems vanishingly unlikely that the studs will just conveniently be in the places where the tracks need to go.

PigletJohn Mon 01-Dec-14 11:47:34

yes, for an L&P wall you must fix to the studs. You can find them by tapping, or by drilling a small hole and poking a wire coathanger in sideways. Or you could use something like Spur and fix the uprights to the studs, then make the shelves fit that spacing.

You can fix sturdy horizontal battens to the studs and fix shelving uprights to those, if the studs are not in the right place.

Your L&P will probably crack and fall off, so when you replace it with plasterboard you can (e.g if it is in a kitchen) fix ply to the wall before the pb, them you can screw into it anywhere.

fasterthanthewind Mon 01-Dec-14 15:34:45

ooh, thank you for the reply. I've been up in the attic (funny attic, runs alongside living room wall for a bit) and I can see the studs, and they are sound and evenly spaced (they will be, won't they - all the way along?!).

Battens do sound like our only option, and it'd be (relatively) easy to fit them, I think. How thick do you think they'd need to be? Shelves not intended (at present) for super-heavy stuff, but they won't be light - wooden shelves, desk, sideboard-y bits etc. etc.

DH now says how about chopping out (w an angle grinder) strips of the plaster, and fitting battens directly to the stud work before re-skimming. I'm dubious about this - won't the plaster all fall to bits and we'll be left with a hideous mess??

PigletJohn Mon 01-Dec-14 17:54:43

L&P falls off the wall without provocation, but you can make it fall off in big slabs quicker if you interfere with it.

I might go for battens about 12mmx40mm

The top batten needs to be especially strong because as well as weight, it will have a force trying to pull out and away from the wall. The centre and bottom ones only have downward weight.

You could stain or paint them to match either the walls or the shelf supports.

fasterthanthewind Mon 01-Dec-14 21:03:51

Oh, so really quite thin battens (or is the 40mm the thickness rather than the height? I guess it probably is, now I come to think of it).

Good point re top batten needing to be particularly well fixed and strong. You'd go for the same thing the whole way down though, wouldn't you, so it looks right.

I like your first sentence.

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