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Shelving system on plasterboard walls

(7 Posts)
MaryHays Thu 19-Jan-17 11:43:00

I'm installing some shelves in the kids' playroom. They're going in an alcove, in which the back of the alcove wall is a stud wall, as is the right side of the alcove. But the left side of the alcove is a masonry wall. The shelves are just going to hold toys, so nothing too heavy; but just in case an errant child decides to try and climb them, the shelves need to be secure. I was thinking of using a twinslot shelving system, so that the 2 uprights can spread the weight load of the shelves. But I was also wondering about putting a third upright run, going up the masonry wall too. This would mean that each shelf would be resting on 3 brackets, one of which would be at right angles to the others - so it might look a little weird, but it would be a bit stronger. Is this overkill, do you think? Or a good idea?

PigletJohn Thu 19-Jan-17 12:14:11

you have to work out where the timber studs are, and fix to them.

You can actually feel the nail dimples with your fingertips, if you stroke the wall, or see them if the light falls across the wall. Once you have found one, the others will be in a vertical column. There will also be a few horizontal noggins.

You can also find the studs by drilling a hole in any convenient place, then inserting a Special Tool and pushing it sideways until it touches the nearest stud. Then withdraw it, hold it against the wall and mark it with chalk. I sell these Special Tools at £50 each, or you can make your own by untwisting a coathanger and bending it into a gentle curve.

Do not drill directly up, down or sideways from an electric switch or socket, or within 150mm of a corner or ceiling. That's the route the cables are supposed to take.

MaryHays Thu 19-Jan-17 12:26:55

Thanks! Once I've found the studs, what fixings do you recommend? Do I just screw straight into them? Or do I need to drill, fix a wall plug etc?
And do you think 2 uprights will be enough? Or should I add a 3rd, on the masonry wall at right angles?

PigletJohn Thu 19-Jan-17 12:45:08

you need to drill.

You are screwing into wood, so drill a pilot hole no wider than the shaft of the screw (excluding the thread) or a little smaller. You use a wood drill (black, stamped HSS), not a masonry bit which is usually silver.

I often use 35mm x 4mm (an inch and a half no. 8) but it needs to be long enough to penetrate at least an inch into the wood, after deducting the thickness of the plasterboard and the shelf channel. So maybe a 50mm (2-inch) screw in your case.

Wall studs will be soft timber, so you can use a smaller drill as long as the point of the screw goes into it.

Putting screws into wood without drilling a pilot hole tends to crack or split the wood in some cases, and occasionally breaks the screw, so is not a good habit.

MaryHays Thu 19-Jan-17 12:49:36

Brill! Thank you!

PigletJohn Thu 19-Jan-17 12:55:00

btw I think, for strength and appearance, a wooden shelf system would be good, with uprights screwed to the walls at the sides of the alcoves.

That would enable the fronts of the shelves to span between two supports, which I think would be better than the Spur-type brackets which are only supported at one end.

Spur systems are fine for bookshelves and similar where there is hardly any weight on the front.

Testificateman Thu 19-Jan-17 17:41:24

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