Basement Shelf Bracing - Router Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Default Basement Shelf Bracing

I want to put up shelving in my unfinished basement. The walls are studded....2 X 4's with sole plate and tops nailed to floor joists....fiberglass battts and foil covering. My plan is to screw 2 X 4 horizontal ledgers to the studs and attach angled bracing to an upper and lower ledger. I want the floor area unobstructed so I don't want studs standing on the floor. I will make the angle braces from 2 X 4's ripped lengthwise. The braces will be either 12 or 18 inches wide to support plywood shelving. 45 degrees is probably the strongest angle but wire shelving braces are around 60 (?) degrees. Is there are optimum angle for strength but taking less room from the shelf storage space? The shelves will be used to store books, tools, paint cans, etc.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:38 AM
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Jim - are your shelves going to be enclosed or are they just the boards that run horizontal? If enclosed have you considered using French cleats to suspend them?
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Jim - are your shelves going to be enclosed or are they just the boards that run horizontal? If enclosed have you considered using French cleats to suspend them?
Just open shelving....nothing fancy.....horizontal plywood supported by the angle brackets. I want to use the horizontal 2 X 4's for angle bracket attachment so that I'm not restricted to attaching the angle brackets to the vertical studs. Lots of stuff cluttering the floor and piled on my work benches. I just need barebones shelving. The basement has been unfinished for 25+ years and will not be finished in my lifetime.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:10 AM
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Jim - my son-in-law just put up some open shelving in his basement a few weeks ago and asked about braces. My advice to him was to install his braces so that the brace attached to the shelf and the wall at equa distance. So that's 45 degrees. His shelves weren't overly large so he made his braces from 2x2 material. You could probably get away with 60 degrees, as long as the 60 is at the top (under the shelf) if the shelf isn't too wide. Otherwise, the shelf would cantilever off the end of the brace and may have a tendency to tip or the weight or downward force wouldn't be transferred to the studding which is what the braces are designed to do. I'm not sure that my explanation makes sense, but what I'm trying to say is, you don't want too much of the shelf hanging over the front edge of the brace if that makes sense.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Jim - my son-in-law just put up some open shelving in his basement a few weeks ago and asked about braces. My advice to him was to install his braces so that the brace attached to the shelf and the wall at equa distance. So that's 45 degrees. His shelves weren't overly large so he made his braces from 2x2 material. You could probably get away with 60 degrees, as long as the 60 is at the top (under the shelf) if the shelf isn't too wide. Otherwise, the shelf would cantilever off the end of the brace and may have a tendency to tip or the weight or downward force wouldn't be transferred to the studding which is what the braces are designed to do. I'm not sure that my explanation makes sense, but what I'm trying to say is, you don't want too much of the shelf hanging over the front edge of the brace if that makes sense.
That make sense. Thank You!!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:07 PM
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I have a shed with 24 inch on center studs, anchored to 2x4s on the top. the place where I wanted my open shelves has a 60 inch, single pane window that has 2 inch foam insulation plugging it to keep heat in or out, depending on the season.

Attaching directly to the studs wasn't going to be enough, given the weight and the questionable nails used in the shed's construction.

My solution was to buy some HD, 1x4s and attach them to the top 2x4s and the studs, as well as to the window framing where possible. If you add insulation and dry wall, this will also work to reinforce the shelf mounts. I use screws to mount things like this so I can change my mind later.

I think that if you are storing really heavy stuff on those shelves, that you will want to reinforce the connection of the studs to the joists with metal straight or angle brackets

I just used simple metal sheving brackets since the shelves are not that deep. Another option would be to mount the long brackets with movable shelf brackets (found where they display the wire shelving systems), but they can interfere with storage since the brackets can be up to 3 inches high. The advantage is that you can re-space your shelves, although I bet you never will once you set it up.

French cleats are neat, but you'll have to make a lot of fitted parts to hang stuff up. Make sure you always cut cleats' mating surfaces to the same angle!

Here's two pictures of the open shelving in my little shop. I don't keep tool cases on the shelves since I have another place for those. The first picture is of the wire shelf construction 18 inches deep. The second picture is the 1x4 I described, which has a max depth of 12 inches. The top 3 shelves are just 9 inches deep.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:03 PM
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At 45 deg there would be as much pressure outward as downward...at 60, more pressure down than out...yup, 60 at the top is better

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:58 PM
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I'd love to have a big window like that in my workroom over my workbench, but my workroom is in the basement. Too bad you need the wall space and have to cover it up.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 09:37 AM
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Jim, Can you attach legs to the rafters above to support the front of the shelves, and eliminate the angle braces completely? Angle supports always seem to get in the way.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 09:58 AM
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Jim, Can you attach legs to the rafters above to support the front of the shelves, and eliminate the angle braces completely? Angle supports always seem to get in the way.
I'd think the braces themselves would get in the way. Using 3 decent weight L brackets per shelf (every 2-3 feet) should be able to support a lot of weight and only take up an inch or so of vertical height.
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