How to Assemble Metal Shelving

Metal shelving can provide extra storage at a good price.
Metal shelving can provide extra storage at a good price. (Image: usasearch.gov)

Assemble metal shelving easily and with little fuss by following a few simple tricks. When you need extra storage space, metal shelving is a good alternative to more expensive shelving units, such as wood.

The durability of metal storage shelves and the variety of sizes makes this a good choice when you need more shelves. Metal shelves are good choice just about anywhere around the house and can be painted to match a room's decor if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal shelving unit
  • Directions, if available
  • Tools, such as screwdriver, drill, hammer, if needed
  • Patience

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Unpack the Box

Metal shelving units usually are sold in a box. If you're a woman like me who isn't big on hauling a big, heavy box into the house by myself, open the box in the car. Then carry the metal shelves and other pieces into the house a few pieces at a time. Do whatever is comfortable for you.

Find the Instructions

With the instructions in hand, lay out the metal shelf pieces in like groupings as shown in the instructions. This trivial step is actually crucial. It lets you determine if you have all of the pieces, and it helps keep things organized when you begin assembling the shelves.

Read the Instructions

This may seem like a given, but not everyone reads the instructions that come with metal shelving units. Take the time to actually read each step. Underline anything that says things like 'be sure to. . . ' or 'Repeat. . .'. Make sure the first step is correct before repeating anything two or three or four times.

If the instructions indicate a piece of the metal shelving needs to be used with the arrow pointing up, remember to look for the arrow before installing it. This will save you frustration.

Follow the instructions for ease of assembly.
Follow the instructions for ease of assembly.

Assemble the Shelves

Most metal shelving units come with posts (or legs), shelves, screws, and braces or brackets to secure the unit. Begin at the bottom assembling the four posts and the bottom shelf. If you are instructed to snap the shelf in place or screw in one stop screw on each four posts or something similar, do that before moving on to the next shelf.

Move to the next metal shelf and install it according to the instructions. When all shelves are in place, add any end caps and adjust foot levelers as needed.

Be Patient

Some people are just better than others at assembling things like metal storage shelves. With patience, deep breathing, and frequent breaks, you can assemble metal shelving like a pro.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask a handy, patient friend to help assemble metal shelving if this is a task too big for you. You'll learn from them and they'll appreciate the helping hand.
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