So, you are staring at your vacant wall space and wonder how much weight can it hold if a shelf is fixed right over there? Will it collapse and fall on the head of the person sitting on the sofa below it? Fear not, with a shelf properly installed, it will be able to support whatever item you wish to place on it.
Shelves are space savers, functional yet aesthetic and it is no wonder that you can see them almost everywhere. In general, a shelf can hold a lot of weight, up to 600kg. Of course, there are also shelves that are suitable for home storage or commercial purposes in garage, cabinets, office and even between walls. There are several points to consider when deciding the load capacity:
a) Approximate weight and dimension of the items
Whether it is a collection of hard case books, a grandpa clock or a massive heavy fossil, you need to have a rough idea as to the items you wish to place on the shelf and its estimated weight, length and width as they will determine the kind of shelf to be mounted on your wall. If heavy books and encyclopedias are to be loaded on the shelf, then go for shorter shelving lengths as long one may deflect on heavy capacity.
b) Wood type
Different types of woods have different mechanical properties affecting its strengths and viscoelasticity. If your shelf is going to support heavy duty item such as washing machine, then choose a stronger and thicker solid wood rather than simple chipboard for safety purpose.
The type of bracket is also a determining factor for weight capacity. The strength of the bracket varies greatly and can support up to a few hundred kgs of load. You need to ensure that the correct number of brackets are installed to properly support the weight and the need to be spread out evenly to distribute the load so that each bracket takes less load allowing the shelf to hold more. Metal brackets are also the more durable and versatile compared to wooden brackets.
If the shelf is long and is required to support a great deal of weight, and you are still concerned about the safety and want to be at the extra cautious side, then opt for reinforcing measures to provide for additional strength by installing reinforcement brackets or plates.
The way the shelves are installed also plays a role as to the weight that they can support. For example, if you have a drywall (wooden and plasterboard) then make sure you attach the brackets to the wall studs behind the drywall with the help of a stud sensor, if required. A bracket system also offers more support than a simple freestanding unit. Longer screws provide better stability than shorter ones.
Even though it is not possible to determine a definitive calculation on maximum weights that wall mounted shelf will support, with the above guidance, you will have a rough idea as to the type of shelf and installation suitable for your need. Just make sure you know what you are going to place on the shelves and its layout to find one that will best suit your need. You can then find the perfect shelves to decorate and display your items.