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I'm trying to anchor an IKEA Billy bookcase to the wall it doesn't contain screws for the wall (I don't think any IKEA furniture does). And their instructions don't explain how long the screws need to be.

How long does the screw have to be to go into the wall (stud)? I have a 1 inch screw on hand, would that be enough?

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The screw should go into a WOOD stud a minimum of 3/4” to develop “full strength “. Add 1/2” for gypsum board wallboard (probably) plus the thickness of the backing on the bookcase...probably 1/4”. So, I’d use a screw about 1 1/2” long (#8 screw, but check the length because they come in various lengths.)

I’d use two screws (studs are usually 16” apart) near the top and keep it about 1 1/2” from the top edge of a WOOD bookcase. (If you’re worried about breaking the back of the bookcase during “loading”, you could use a washer. )

Pre-drilling a hole is ok, but don’t use too big a bit. It should be slightly less than the “shank” of the screw. Remember, the threads are holding it in withdrawal.

  • Thank you! I have a #10 screw 1 1/2" long too but too scared of wires in wall to use 1 1/2". Should I keep it under 1 1/4" to avoid wires? My stud finder shows wires on the right side of the bookcase so at this point will only have one spot (left side back) to secure it. And there is no other stud on the right side . Or would wood shims be an option for helping to stabilize it? – padma Nov 20 '17 at 1:56
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    I doubt if the wiring is within 3/4” of face of stud...but shortening the screw length by 1:4” seems wise. – Lee Sam Nov 20 '17 at 2:46
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    Do not screw through the bookcase backing Backings are extremely flimsy, you might as well screw through a paper towel, and I don't mean bounty. IKEA provides kits (usually with all furniture) including an L-bracket that screws into the actual particleboard of the side or top piece. Often there are holes predrilled for this. – Harper Nov 20 '17 at 3:02
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A really robust answer to this requires some idea as to whether the IKEA bookshelf is sitting on the floor or if it is meant to hang up on the wall with no support from the floor. For the case that you are proposing that there would be no floor support I would strongly suggest that you abandon that idea and stay with the unit sitting on the floor. This style of unit really needs good solid support under the vertical side panels.

You do not want to secure the BILLY bookcase by screwing through backer material into the wall. The back of these units is basically a paper board material that slides into some side grooves and gets a couple of nails at the bottom. It will not be a secure anchor point.

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To prevent tipping from the wall you need to use the supplied bracket or a similar separately purchased item. It would look something like this:

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The installation directions will show how to install the brackets in a way that they are attached to the wall using a user supplied screws. The screw should be a #8 or #10 size screw and penetrate the wall stud at least 1" to 1.5". Make sure to accommodate the thickness of the wall covering such as 1/2" drywall when selecting the screw length.

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  • It's on the floor and I have those brackets so would attach with the bracket screwed into the top of the bookcase. – padma Nov 20 '17 at 2:30
  • Yes, +1 for anchoring to bookcase “frame” rather than bookcase “backing”. Trouble is, the frame width may not align with spacing of studs. – Lee Sam Nov 20 '17 at 2:43

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