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Our wooden shed in the back garden is filling up with items that are currently stashed on the floor. I'm planning to construct some kind of shelving to store things. Whilst none of the items are hugely heavy, I imagine that each shelf would need to bear 20-30kg. I will put in 4 or 5 shelves on/against a wall, each with a depth of at 30cm (or more, if I can).

The shed is sound. The main structure is constructed out of 2 x 1 timber studwork. It has a standard peaked roof.

I can think of three options, here listed in what I believe to be increasing order of difficulty and cost:

1) Can I use regular slot shelving (e.g. plywood) attached to the timber studwork, or are those not strong enough to support well-loaded shelves? I don't want to overload the structure of the shed and risk damaging it.

2) Or should I construct shelving out of 2 x 4 timber and screw that onto the studwork? That way I can attach to three walls in total (assuming I span the entire wall)

3) Alternatively, I will build a free standing solution, but this will require more work and more wood.

I'm concerned that I can't find any images / articles about slot shelving in wooden sheds, so perhaps (1) is cutting too many corners.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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    What is "regular slot shelving" ?? and "2x1 timber studwork" ?? An explanation would be helpful. – Alaska Man Mar 2 at 21:00
  • Apologies, I thought that these terms were fairly standard - my mistake. By 'slot shelving', I mean shelves that are supported on metal brackets that are hooked into slotted metal uprights that are screwed to the wall. By '2x1 timber studwork', I mean timber battens that are approximately 25mm x 50mm. I hope that helps. Thanks. – Gabriel Mar 3 at 19:10
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So, from the comments, I assume you mean "slot shelving" to be shelf standards like this: Shelving

If this is what you mean, then you should be able to use them, and are quite handy for adjusting the spacing. Biggest issue here is getting the proper ones for the weight of the shelves. More standards (the upright slotted bar) you have will allow for better weight management. Using a double slot standard, and you have better weight capability also. Now, depending on the mounting method, the standards used, the brackets, and the shelf materials, you will be able to determine the weight you can add. The components will list the max weight. But be sure you add the weight of the brackets and shelf material. If it says 100lbs, and the brackets are 1lb and the material is 5lb, and you have 2 standards, 2 brackets and 1 shelf, then you have a limit of 93lbs per shelf. Just a simple example.

Now, building your won from 2x4 studs and attaching to the framework studs of the building, would in essence be the same thing, but would increase the weight of the shelving system, reducing how much weight the shelves can hold.

Your best bet, would be to build free-standing shelves as you are only limited by materials you use to build them, you can even build them to have movable shelves with slots and pins, but this would change the weight limit. This method would have no weight bearing on the structure.

So, in closing, you could you any of the 3 methods you have mentioned. I have used the slotted shelf standards like pictured in my new pantry so that I can adjust the shelves as needed. In my shed I have free standing shelves that I got free from a business tossing out old shelving systems. My garage has a combination of free standing plastic shelf systems, as well as the slotted standard shelf systems, because I was cheap and used what I had from various other projects. I even have some shelves that are mounted to decorative shelf brackets. That is also an option for you.

Not finding info on shelves in a shed is not an issue, because every shed is built differently. Plastic, metal, wood, lean-to, free-standing, attached or detached. In my case it is an attached with one wall of the shed being the rear wall of the garage.

  • thank you very much - lots of useful information! I'm fairly confident calculating weight limits of the shelves in terms of brackets and shelf material, but my main concern here is the structure of the building itself. I am worried that the fairly lightweight construction will buckle if I attach too much to the framework studs. I can envisage a situation where the standards, brackets and shelves remain firmly attached while the whole structure falls down! Any thoughts? – Gabriel Mar 12 at 17:09
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    If it is made with true 1x2, then I wouldn't, personally, attach anything to the structure. Maybe use a hurricane/tip/fall strap just to make sure that the free standing unit, if you go that route, will not fall over as easily. How about a picture of a wall inside? – Jeff Cates Mar 12 at 18:34

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