Setting up an office, a kitchen, or a simple set of bookshelves or narrow bookcases in your library are the type of tasks that necessarily include brackets. Shelf brackets are the architectural parts of a shelf that serve structural and decorative purposes, carrying the weight or strengthening an angle. They can be made of metal, wood or even stone depending on the location and origin of the shelves. Brackets come in various types and sizes, but are usually produced in a right angle.
Common mistakes when installing shelf brackets and ways to avoid them
Installing a shelf is a relatively simple task, and you can do this at home yourself. However, there are simply tricks that can help you avoid major mistakes. When hanging shelves you will need to drill holes in the wall where you want to locate the shelf and then screw on the brackets correctly. Once the brackets are well installed, you can then proceed to install the shelves. Nevertheless, like we said before, there are many small, but detrimental, mistakes that can be easily made when screwing in the brackets. These “small” mistakes may end up bringing the whole shelf down. Below are a few of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Skimping on screws and holes
Most people find the number of screws that are required on the brackets to be excessive and end up making only a few of them. However, this is very dangerous. In this case, if the anchors aren’t properly placed, you can be sure that any deafening noise coming from downstairs in the middle of the night is not a ghost… It’s just your shelves crashing down. So, use most, if not all, the holes provided in the brackets for maximum anchoring.
2. Drill holes evenly
When hanging a unit, it’s important to make sure the shelves are lined up in a straight line so that you don’t install loop-sided pieces. If you make a mistake when drilling one of the holes, it’s more advisable to remove it and start again, than to try to fix it later and have shelves that are slanted to one side! Redo the screws and patch up the mistake later.
3. Find the right location for the shelf
Most people place the shelves oncertain spots on their walls only to realize much later that the walls are sagging and threatening to fall out. To properly install shelves, such as glass shelves, make sure you screw the bracket screws into the studs in the wall. The studs are the upright frames used to hold up the sheets of drywall (sorry if we’re speaking a lot of gibberish…), the parts of your walls that are made of metal or poles of wood. Got it now? Good, screw your shelf screws on to those!
4. Using the wrong brackets for the job
You must know that different kinds of brackets can support varying weights. So always ensure you read the instructions on the amount of load each bracket can hold before installing them to place the shelves. Wooden brackets are not as strong as steel brackets and this means they will support a lot less weight.
5. Using the wrong braces in the wrong kind of shelves
When you’re trying to have a lower profile on a shelf, choosing a wooden bracket is not a smart idea. They are bulkier, more visible and generally more decorative. This makes them perfect for fancy cabinet and bookcase shelves. Ff you prefer a low profile cabinet, try metal.
6. Failing to make the necessary preparation for the shelves
When you want to install shelves in a location where there aren’t studs, you will need to find a different way to secure the shelves. Luckily, there are a few types of anchors such as plastic toggle bolts, molly bolts and self-tapping bolts that will help to replace the studs. However, make all the necessary preparations and put the appropriate anchors ahead of time.
7. Placing the shelves in under poor lighting
While installing the shelves (especially in the case of bookcase shelves), make sure you check your electrical plans to find out where the electrical fixtures are located. This will ensure you have excellent reading light and prevent you from straining your eyes.
8. Using the wrong equipment for the right job
Building a shelf can seem like an impossible chore, especially if you don’t have the right tools for the job. Don’t use nails in place of screws during the hanging process of the shelf brackets (again, this is not a smart move, as it will make your walls sag.) Make sure you always have the right tools for the job and don’t forget to follow the provided instructions.
Some common shelf brackets
Shelves will vary depending on the location and what purpose you need them for. Some of the more popular brackets are London brackets. They are very low-cost pressed metal brackets with medium load ratings and, although they aren’texactly attractive, they serve the purpose. They are usually found in gray and white finishes and may be paralleled in order to hold a greater load.
Other kinds of shelve brackets include high load brackets, which can handle very heavy loads, microwave brackets, which have a high load rating, an extendable support and no braces. Corner braces have a flat strip that is bent to 90 degrees and are well-suited for smaller closets or shelves in bookcases. They are the most readily available kind of brackets and can support even larger weights.
Before you hang a shelf or screw on your shelf brackets, ask the experts for some professional advice or read some useful shelving unit tips. At least, you’ll know you’re actually doing the right thing.