Keeping a garage neat and tidy is one of the most overlooked practices around the home. The garage so often serves as storage for items which we don't have an immediate use or specific location for. By installing garage shelving we can help keep the area neat and organized, so we can find things should we decide to use or get rid of them. Building/installing garage shelving should be a fairly easy task for the do it yourselfer, but even if you don't consider yourself particularly handly, this is a job you can complete on your own in an afternoon. Of course, you may have so much stuff that you have to do some cleaning just to make room for the shelves, but it will be worth it.
Before you begin shelving your garage, work out the dimensions. Shelves on the end wall need to leave room for the car to get in without holding the garage doors open! If you are shelving the side walls, remember that when you put the car in, you need to be able to open the car door to get out! The scenario of being trapped in your car is to be avoided unless you are in the comic film business. (A narrow garage can still have shelves on the side walls, but you might need to go on a diet to achieve it.)
The first stage, therefore, even before deciding on the type of shelf, is to plan it carefully on paper. Decide how long and how deep your shelves are to be and how many shelves you want to have on the horizontal plane, taking into account the height of the items you want to store on them.
For shelving which will carry considerable weight, wood is the best material and has the added advantage of needing fewer supports to prevent it from sagging. You will need 18mm (3/4 inch) timber (it can be softwood). The brackets to support it should be 700mm (2ft 4in) apart. This now allows you to calculate the number of brackets you will need. Use 50mm(2 inch) screws, gauge 6 or 8 for securing the supports to the garage wall.
The brackets should be fixed into a masonry wall by using a masonry drill bit and rawlplugs. If you have wooden walls the brackets should, if possible, be fixed to the spurs.
There are 2 methods of putting up garage shelving. For each of them you need help, for about five minutes, at the early stages when you are marking the wall. You CAN do without, but it will need patience!
Fixing Individual Shelf Brackets
Start by making two vertical marks on the wall to indicate where the first two brackets will go. Hold the first bracket against the wall at your required height and mark the wall through the fixing holes. Drill into the wall and screw the bracket into place. Put one end of the shelf onto this bracket â€“ this is where you need help â€“ if you are alone and your shelves are more than 3 ft long, use any shorter piece of shelving or completely straight wood that you have to hand. Use a spirit level to ensure that the shelf is absolutely level and draw a short horizontal line across your earlier vertical mark to indicate where the top of the bracket should be. You can now fit the second bracket as you did the first, and then continue in the same way along the wall until you have all the brackets in. It becomes easier as you have more supports.
Once you have put your shelf onto the brackets, fix two screws into the shelves from underneath through the holes in the bracket.
Fixing a Shelving System
This is a far simpler, but more expensive, way of putting up garage shelving. The upright supports must be vertical. Begin by fixing the support lightly to the wall with its top screw. You can now check that it is vertical by using a spirit level. Mark the position of the bottom screw. Once you have both the top and bottom screws in place, it is an easy matter to fix the remaining screws. Insert a bracket into the upright which you have fixed. Insert a bracket at the same height in a second upright and then hold this second upright against the wall. It is now a 2 people job, but can, with patience, be done alone. Put a light shelf across the two brackets, check that it is vertical by using the spirit level, and mark the position of the top hole. Fix this upright as you did the first, and then continue along the wall. Fix the shelves to the brackets from underneath,
With either of these systems, it is a good idea to put battens down the ends of the shelves, just to stop things falling off. Check that the shelf ends are all in line. Screw two bits of wood, each a couple of inches wide by half an inch thick, onto the shelf ends with a single screw in each shelf. Start by putting in the top screw, check that the batten is vertical, put in the bottom screw and then finish off the other shelves.
Where Can I Find Garage Shelving Materials?
There is a good chance you won't have all the materials you need to build garage shelves lieing around your home. The good news is that you can find everything you need, whether you need tools, nails and screws, or wood, at a local hardware store (as well as pick up some helpful tips, if you feel you need them). You can also buy these supplies online, but if you choose to go this route, you will have to wait for the items to ship to your home. Amazon is one retailer that will have all the tools you need, but you should probably buy the wood locally in order to ensure it is cut to your specifications.