Shelving Solutions Our Guide to Shelf Types and Their Uses
March 12, 2024

Shelving Solutions: Our Guide to Shelf Types and Their Uses

Shelves are so commonplace in our homes and offices that we take them for granted. And while the basic concepts of shelving solutions are consistent across designs, there are different types of shelves to accommodate different needs. The key to all of them, in terms of reliability and durability, is construction. Build them right and they will last a long time.

SPAX engineered fasteners are ideal for shelf construction regardless of the particular design you choose. Our fasteners are designed from the ground up to offer superior holding power at every connection. Most require no pre-drilling when you are working with wood. They go in quickly and hold reliably.

1. Built-In Shelves

The hardest type of shelving unit to build is arguably the built-in shelf. For all intents and purposes, a built-in shelf unit is a recessed bookcase. It is not just in the wall; it is part of the wall. Built-in units used to be very popular in Victorian and Tudor-style homes. They fell out of favor when Capes and Ranches became popular. But they are making a comeback now.

Built-in shelving units are ideal for books, artwork, and heavy items that you wouldn't place on less sturdy shelves. Think family heirlooms and antique pieces.

2. Fixed Shelves

For a less intense but no less structurally sound solution, fixed shelves do the job. They are so named because they are fixed in place and non-adjustable. A fixed shelf is typically attached to the wall with one or two brackets held in place by screws. They can be made of wood, plastic, metal, or composites.

3. Floating Shelves

Homeowners who prefer a more modern looking shelving solution might choose floating shelves. Floating shelves give the appearance as though they are suspended in midair, thus the name. Yet they are anchored to the wall by way of a hidden bracket and screw. Floating shells require strong screws and brackets because there is no underlying structure to hold them up.

4. Fixed Bracket Shelves

Combine the best of fixed shelves and floating shells and you have the next shelf solution: the fixed bracket shelf. A fixed bracket shelf is a single shelf mounted directly to the wall with a visible bracket. The bracket sits under the shelf. It is attached to both the shelf and wall with screws. This type of shelf is ideal for lightweight books, plants, nicknacks, and more. It is extremely popular in the kitchen for storing spices and cooking supplies.

5. Pullout Shelves

Pullout shelves are a cross between shelving units and drawer cabinets. Think of each individual shelf as being similar to a drawer except with shorter sides. The main advantage of pullout shelving units is that they can be easily hidden away behind a door. You get all the benefits of a shelving solution but with easier access.

6. Ceiling Mounted Shelves

Homeowners in need of a space-saving shelving solution may opt for ceiling-mounted shelves. These shelves can be made with any number of materials depending on need. They are mounted to the ceiling with heavy brackets and heavy-duty screws offering maximum hold.

Each shelf type calls for a specific kind of fastener based on design and construction method. SPAX multi-material screws are a good choice for shelving of any kind. For example, SPAX® T-STAR plus Wafer Head HCR-X fasteners offer a low profile with a large surface area for the strength of the connection. SPAX Unidrive Combination Multi-Purpose construction screws are a versatile multi-material fastener solution for a wide range of interior applications. Both come in a variety of sizes and offer superior holding power.

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