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The Happy Handymen Guide to Shelving

Shelving types and installation

Hello and thank-you for downloading this guide.

I hope to show you the various options that you need to consider with shelving. I’m splitting this guide into two – firstly to decide how shelves go up and then to decide on the types of shelf.

Shelf installation

  1. The simplest, cheapest and quickest method is to use brackets. Usually 2 brackets is enough but you will need more if the span of the shelf goes over a metre. The bracket should be at least ¾ of the width of the shelf. People often don’t like that brackets will get in the way of items on the shelf but there are brackets out there that don’t protrude. These may not be as secure however.

    shelving installation
  2. Then we have baton shelving. This involves installing batons in an alcove which the shelves can then rest on. Usually used for mdf shelves. It takes a little longer than brackets and usually requires filling and decorating.

    how to make a shelf
  3. Box shelves. These are essentially baton shelves but the mdf is built around them so the batons are no longer visible. They have the appearance of fairly large floating shelves. This is a very neat solution but you will need to allow up to 2 hours per shelf plus the cost of the materials.

    how to build a shelf shelving
  4. Shop bought floating shelves. These usually come with a mechanism which is attached to the wall with metal spikes protruding which the shelf fits onto. We actually try and steer customers away from this solution as the shelves tend to sag. If they are to be used for decorative purposes with only lightweight items on them they are fine.

    ideas for shelves
  5. Bespoke floating shelves. If you are putting a floating shelf into an alcove we have various ways of doing this which would result in a really nice finish. Please contact us for details.

Types of shelves

This is a pretty personal choice but here are a few ideas:
1) MDF – this is used a lot, mainly because it holds its shape much better than wood. The thickness required will depend on how it is being hung. Please be aware that mdf cannot be stained or varnished so would usually require painting and it needs 4 coats of paint to finish it off properly.
2) Laminate. This can be bought – usually in white or wood effect colours, cut to size and then hung. It doesn’t need any further work and is pretty waterproof. Also easier to clean than painted surfaces. If it is cut to size you might want to consider edging strips along any cut edges that are visible.
3) Wood veneer. This is a really neat solution. If you cut your mdf shelves to size you can then take them a to a wood veneer shop and have them veneered in a finish of your choosing. Please do bear in mind that the veneer is made of real wood so they will require a varnish of some sort to protect it.
4) Wood – lots of options here but we tend to mainly use recycled wood – often something like scaffold boards like this.

make shelving

Once you’ve had a chance to read this document why not give us a call on 07419 73 42 73 and I’ll be able to work out an estimate for you.

Happy Handymen

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