There are a wide choice of shelving solutions available using a variety of materials and construction methods. Shelving materials include solid wood, blockboard, plywood, chipboard, MDF and glass. The material you choose will depend on where the shelves are to be situated, the objects they will support and your budget.
Shelves can be fixed to a wall using support battens or shelving brackets made from cast or wrought steel or extruded alloy. The method of fixing will depend on the weight of the object(s) that they have to support and how deep the shelves are.
For instance, shelving designed for a television set will need wall bolts to fix the brackets in place; however shelving for lightweight use can be fixed to the wall using 50mm screws. Shelving brackets should always be long enough to support the whole depth of the shelf.
To make a fixing in a plasterboard wall, choose a cavity wall plug. For shelves that will only hold light objects, use a screw and toggle fixing which draws the metal toggle against the inside of the cavity. Medium or heavy loads should always be supported by brackets fixed directly to the wooden studwork behind the plasterboard.
Decide on the position of each shelf according to what you want them to hold. Mark the heights on the wall with a pencil. Hold a spirit level at each spot to mark the positions of the fixing brackets. To stop shelves from sagging, make sure the brackets are no more than 600mm apart. If you have unfinihsed shelves, varnish or paint them before you attach them to the wall.
If fitting shelves in a anlcove, always measure the front and back of an alcove beforehand - often the walls aren't square.
Choose a masonry drill bit that matches the wall plug fixing size and drill into the wall. If you have solid brick or block walls, use adrill with a hammer action.
Drill all the screw holes to the depth of the wall plug. Make sure you drill to the right depth by wrapping a piece of tape around the bit as a guide.
Ensure there are no electrical cables or pipework in/behind the wall before you commence drilling. When drilling always remeber to wear safety goggles.
Screw the fixing brackets to the wall with a screwdriver or fit your drill with a screwdriver bit. Make sure the screws grip firmly. If not, try using a larger wall plug or cavity fixing. Choose screws at least 50mm long and wall plugs at least 30 mm long to give a strong fixing.
Unless the shelves are designed to clip into the fixings brackets, you should attach them with screws or panel pins so that the loaded shelves cannot tip forward in use.