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I just put up some shelves using brackets from Home Depot and Canadian Tire. You can see them in the image below. The brackets themselves are rated for much more weight than I'm putting on them (like a thousand pounds each or something).

Shelves.

All the screws for the brackets are securely in studs except for the two centre brackets on the top shelf (i.e., the bracket over the door and the one to the left of that one). There weren't any studs around there that I could find (this wall's stud situation is very confusing). The screws fixing those two brackets to the wall are all fixed with these EZ Anchor Twist N Lock anchors, which claim to be rated at 75 pounds each. Each bracket is fixed to the wall with three screws in a vertical line.

My question is: How worried should I be about the strength of that upper shelf, particularly the parts held up by the drywall anchors? There's no recognizable wood to screw into above that door that I've been able to find. (I spent time looking up how studwork around a door is supposed to look, and couldn't make sense of what my stud finders were telling me).

A second question: As you can see, the two pieces of wood that form the top shelf don't line up perfectly. I believe the bracket above the door is just a fraction lower than it should be. Given that I can't just move the bracket up a little bit, is there a good way to fix this? I was thinking of trying to slip some washers or something between the shelf and that bracket.

Thanks in advance for whatever advice you have!

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  • Your stud finder isn't a flawless oracle, there should be two studs on each side of the door, verifiable by banging the wall with your firt and listening. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 6:02
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    I would guess that you'll be OK, even if you load it up with books like the shelves below. We tend to be an overly cautious lot here, because we don't want to give people a false sense of security. OTOH, reality is that a load of people install shelves less securely than you seem to have and they don't fall apart. It's possible that this will collapse if you store your gold bullion up there, but it'll most likely be OK.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 13:49
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    @FreeMan Maybe I should at least take my gold bullion out of my safe before putting it up there? Seriously though, I'm wary enough about it not to put anything crazy up there. I did put screws up through the brackets into the shelves, yes. 3/4" #8 wood screws.
    – Ivan
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 19:01
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    If you have screws into studs on each end I think you'll be fine. Worst case, the center will sag a bit, rather than letting go all at once.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 14:08
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    Another time, you would have been much better off using a single piece of wood for that top shelf. By using two pieces of wood, you've effectively made it two separate shelves, rather than one. Each of those shelves is supported by two secure brackets on one side and one not-so-secure bracket on the side towards the center. Thus, each of those selves will be substantially stronger in the area over their two secure brackets. I'd definitely keep most of the weight on each of those selves in the area between the two secure brackets.
    – Makyen
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 22:25

2 Answers 2

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part 2 - aligning the shelves.

Adding washers between the lower-shelf and the bracket will help a little now, but the wood shelves will move over time, likely at different rates.

You can also screw a metal strapping plate under both to secure them together. This will be visible below. If you choose to strap it on top, that can interfere with sliding things on/off the shelf.

Instead you could secure a thin strip of trim to the front, which will provide alignment and some additional strength. If mounted a couple millimetres higher, can also act as a safety ledge to reduce things falling off which can be an important consideration if this door is your only exit from the room.

Ideally you would have used one long shelf not two shorter ones, but that's not always possible. And the joint should have been aligned to be over one of the brackets. I'd have chosen two joints-over-brackets instead of a single unsupported butt-joint.

The main issue is that subtly-different loads there will bend each shelf different amounts, causing the cantilevered wood shelf to move visibly. It doesn't take much to be a visible difference.

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"How worried should I be about the strength of that upper shelf, particularly the parts held up by the drywall anchors?"

The mfrs gave you installation instructions. If you don't follow them, you should worry in proportion to the consequences. The ONLY cite-able answer is the instructions. Every other answer is pure idiosyncratic opinion, which should be down voted on SE-DIY, as should the OP for a blatant solicitation of opinion, and the shebang moved to one or another forum.

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    The manufacturer's instructions, if included at all, are surely garbage. It's not a UL-listed electrical device; the instructions aren't required to exist and have no binding force in any case. Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 3:41

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