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I'm looking to use the "twin slot" uprights and brackets for wall mounting a shelf to use as a work surface for laptop, printer, working on admin etc.

For strength is there any advantage in using longer uprights (down to floor level) when the lowest shelf will be about 4' from the floor? To distribute the weight - or does it not matter?

It would be on a "party" wall, brick with plaster.

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The concern is mostly pullout strength, and not shear. The bulk of the leverage of the shelf pulling away from the wall is above the shelf. Therefore, screws above the shelf carry most of the pullout load. It's unlikely that you will have insufficient shear strength if you use 3-4 screws per standard.

My point is that you probably won't need the standards to extend downward from the shelf, but some length upward is a good idea.

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    This, eggg-zactly. Go up, use good anchors. Down helps little if any. – Ecnerwal Jan 31 '16 at 20:51
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Yes it would be stronger because you could attach more screws. also if resting on the floor gravity wouldnt pull the bracket downward.

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