By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Installing wall shelves is a good way to put a blank wall to use. In a utility room, a single shelf over a clothes washer and dryer might be all that's needed to store detergents and cleaning supplies; in a home office, a wall of shelves can take the place of a bulky storage cabinet; and in a garage, shelves help bring order to chaos.
Among the many shelving systems available, we've always preferred vertical standards with brackets because they are easy to install and a good looking addition to a room. The standards are long, slotted metal strips with grooves that are fastened with wall anchors; the metal brackets fit into the grooves at the appropriate height. At home centers and hardware stores you'll find standards sold in various lengths and finishes with brackets with a small lip on the end that holds a shelf firmly in place.
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Do some investigating with a stud finder to find the location of the wall studs which is where you’ll install the standards that hold the brackets and shelves. To use a stud finder, here's help from How Stuff Works.
The wall studs bear the weight of the system and are likely to be 16-inches or 24-inches apart. Mark the wall with light pencil mark. If you don’t have a stud finder, look at the base shoe molding along the floor. There’s usually a nail head which tells you it’s nailed into the wall stud. Other tools you'll need are a measuring tape, electric drill and carpenter's level.
The project involves drilling mounting holes for the wall anchors and then using them to fasten the standards to the wall. When a standard doesn't line up with a stud, use a toggle bolt instead of a wall anchor. A carpenter or handyman will charge $262 to instill the unit and includes labor and material. You can buy the shelving components and install it yourself for $135 and save 48 percent.
The average price to install wall shelves noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself. Tweak the data by adding your ZIP Code to find a local cost.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020