How to Fix Sagging Storage Shelves

Written by jason brick
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Shelves sag because they bear more weight than the material can hold. As a general rule, only wooden shelves sag significantly. Metal shelves, though stronger, are more brittle and less flexible than wood. They tend to snap or shear rather than sag. Repairing a sagging wood shelf is a matter of adding more braces, a project suitable even for novice do-it-yourselfers.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Power drill
  • L-braces that match existing braces
  • Wood screws, 2 inches long
  • Drywall anchors

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  1. 1

    Remove all items from the shelf. If the shelf does not become straight, remove it from its supporting braces. Set the shelf on a flat surface with the bend facing up. Place something heavy and flat on the bend for a few hours. If the bend returns when you pick up the heavy object, the shelf board is permanently warped. Replace it with a board of matching size and colour.

  2. 2

    Locate the wall studs between the existing shelf braces. Use a stud finder for this, or simply measure 16 inches from known studs. Most studs are spaced 16 inches apart standard.

  3. 3

    Mount a new L-brace on each stud between the existing shelf braces. If there are no studs, mount one brace on centre between the existing braces, using drywall anchors to ensure a secure mounting.

  4. 4

    Replace the old L-braces if you were unable to match the new L-braces to them.

  5. 5

    Replace the shelf in position. With the extra braces for support, it should be able to hold the extra load.

Tips and warnings

  • These directions are for standard shelves supported by a wall brace. You can apply the same principles to other kinds of shelves. For example, you can shore up a bookcase design by installing a 1 by 1-inch post in the middle of each shelf, providing additional support.

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