Ten Steps For Planning Steel Shelving

By: Adam Pink

You may have considered installing steel shelving in your basement or garage; if so, then you have probably also thought that you should do some planning before going out and buying a metal shelving kit or components. I've written up a quick 10 step guide so you can properly plan out your storage requirements before you go shopping.
1 - Pick a shelving unit style - open or closed. Depending on what look you are going for, and the items you have to store, deciding between open shelves where you can see and access everything right away, or choosing closed storage which presents a much cleaner storage space, is a combination of personal preference and practicality.
2 - Decide between solid or wire shelves. Wire shelves are less stable for storing small or uneven shaped items, though for larger items such as boxes this might be the better option. Solid shelves obviously give you a more solid surface to set things on.
3 - Figure out the space you have available to install shelving. Measure the wall space you will be installing your shelving units on. Make sure to remember that corners are generally unusable space and to subtract the depth of the adjacent shelving unit from each wall.
4 - Figure out the space required by the objects to be stored. Determine this by measuring the height width and depth of the objects, and sum the total of the objects to be stored. Keep maximum dimensions in mind for when figuring out shelf dimensions.
5 - Calculate the weight of the objects to be stored. Total the individual weight of objects by the number of units you will be storing per shelf, and multiply again by the number of shelves. Note that a shelving units weight capacity is generally calculated based on even distribution of weight.
6 - Calculate the width of the individual steel shelving units. Typical shelving unit widths are 36", 42" and 48". If you are storing a number of similar items, such as storage boxes, choose a shelving width that is slightly larger than a multiple of the objects width in order to maximize storage efficiency.
7 - Choose a shelf depth. Common shelf depths are either 12" 18" or 24". Keep the orientation of objects to be stored in mind ? sometimes it is more efficient to store objects lengthwise or widthwise, depending on the available space.
8 - Calculate the weight that each shelf will bear. This is related to step 5, make sure you determine the individual weight requirement of each shelf so you make sure to find a shelving unit with a sufficient weight capacity.
9 - Decide how high your shelving needs to be. The common heights for steel shelving are 75", 87" and 99". To make the most efficient use of your space, you can feel safe in stacking your steel shelving right to the ceiling, even if your garage is double height. Steel shelving has such a high strength factor that you shouldn't be limited in height, you just need to properly accommodate the expected total weight load.
10 - Decide on the final number, size and weight capacity of required shelving units. This is the final step where you take all the previous information and total them all up to come up with an accurate plan for the steel shelving components you require. With this, you should have a good idea about what you will need to make your storage project successfully come to life.

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