How to Square Shelves


Installing shelving and having it stay square and level can seem like a challenge at times. Out-of-square shelving not only looks bad, it's also hard to keep anything on the surface. Learning to construct or readjust a shelf so it is flat, square and level. -- and stays that way -- takes only basic tools and DIY skills.

Things You'll Need

  • Small level
  • Tape measure
  • Sliding square
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • Nails

Check For And Adjust Shelves To Square

  • Measure the diagonal corners of your shelving to determine how far out of square it is. Place the end of the tape measure on an upper corner and measure across to the opposite bottom corner. Repeat this on the opposite side, once again measuring from the top corner across to the diagonal bottom corner.

  • Subtract the difference between the two measurements to calculate the amount that your shelving is out of square. In order to return the shelving back to square lightly push the top corner of the side with the shorter measurement. You will most likely need a second helper to do this. As your helper holds the shelving, measure the diagonals again. The shelves are square once your measurements are equal on both diagonals.

  • Drill a small hole with a cordless drill and bit in the back of the shelving and into a wall stud while your helper holds the shelf at square. Drive a screw through the predrilled hole into the wall stud to anchor the shelf in place and square. If more screws are required now is the time to add them. Alternatively you can use a hammer and nail to hold the shelf in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • To further verify if your shelving is square or to fine tune it into square, you can place a sliding square on the corners of your shelving to get an even more accurate measurement.
  • Use caution when operating power tools and always read and follow manufacturer's directions.

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