The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends securely anchoring heavy objects like bookcases to walls or the floor in areas at risk for earthquakes, but if you have small children or pets in your home, safely anchoring top-heavy pieces of furniture to the floor makes good sense in any case. This is especially important for very tall shelves or those holding large books or other heavy objects. The simple anchoring process is well worth the effort to guarantee against accidents.
Things You'll Need
- Wood glue, optional
- Heavy-duty angle brackets, 4 minimum
- Wood screws, sized to fit angle brackets
- Carbide-tipped masonry bit, appropriately sized
- Masking tape
- Stud finder, optional
- Wood bit, appropriately sized
- Concrete anchors, optional
- Wood screws, minimum 2-inch-long, optional
Inspect the bottom of your bookcase to ensure that the wood there is sturdy enough to attach fasteners without fear that they will pull out under pressure if the shelf begins to topple. If the wood is thin or made of a soft, composite material like particleboard, build up the underside of the shelf with standard lumber glued and screwed to the bottom shelving or sides before attaching the anchor brackets.
Lay the bookcase on one side and use a screwdriver to attach an angle bracket near the front and back corners, using appropriately sized wood screws -- keeping the bottom of the brackets even with the bottom edge of the shelf and using the longest and heaviest screws that will fit through the holes of your chosen brackets. Make sure the screws seat securely in solid wood on the bookcase. Repeat for the opposite side of the bookshelf.
Stand the bookcase up in the place it will permanently occupy and use a pencil to mark the positions of the holes in the brackets on the floor. If the floor beneath the tile is wood, find the floor joists first with a stud-finder, then place the shelf so that the brackets align over them and you can anchor the bookcase directly to the joists. This does not apply if the subfloor is concrete.
Remove the bookcase, and place masking tape over the tile where you marked the drill holes. This will keep the drill bit from slipping on the glassy surface. Using a carbide-tipped masonry bit – sized slightly smaller than the diameter of the bracket screws -- carefully drill through the tile at each marked point.
Continue drilling using the masonry bit if the floor beneath the tile is concrete. Drill to the recommended depth for your chosen concrete anchor-style. Concrete anchors should penetrate to a minimum depth of 1-inch for a 1/4-inch diameter anchor, but larger diameter anchors require deeper drilling and give greater support. Let the height and weight of your shelf be the guide in choosing the size of your brackets and anchors.
Employ a wood bit if the subfloor is of wood. Use a bit sized slightly smaller than the screws you will use to anchor the brackets and drill directly into the floor joists to a minimum depth of 2 inches.
Replace the bookshelf over the drilled holes and firmly fasten the brackets to the floor with the bracket screws.
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