DIY Adjustable Garage Shelving

One of the more traditional places for storage in homes without basements is garage shelving. In using garage shelving, particularly the adjustable type, available garage space can be increased and made more readily accessible. With the right instructions, materials, and tools many homeowners can build these storage shelves in their garages.

Assessing Shelf Space and Requirements

Before beginning your shelf installation project you should assess the overall storage situation in your garage. You'll need to determine where to build your shelves to make them accessible without interfering with parking of vehicles you normally keep in your garage. You'll need to know how high your shelves should be installed, which of your garage walls offer the best support, the approximate weight of storage items you'll be placing on your shelves, and the type of surface you'll be attaching your shelves to.

Determining Your Shelf Size

In addition to the information you'll need about space and support for your shelves, you'll also need to know how long, how deep, and how wide you will want them. Not only will this information be helpful in planning for storage quantities, but also for material cost factors. You should use a measuring tape to mark off the space you want to use for your shelves, make a note of these measurements, and use them to buy your shelving materials.

Choosing Shelving Materials and Installation Tools

In purchasing your shelving materials, look over your choices of shelving materials. Some of the choices you'll have will include pre-cut, unfinished shelving; pre-cut, finished shelving; and raw lumber that you'll need to cut. If you lack the equipment to cut your own shelves, but would like custom cut shelves, you can usually have them cut for you by store employees. Also, inventory the tools you'll have on hand. If you plan to use anchors to attach your shelves to a concrete block or brick wall, be sure you have the right masonry anchors along with the kind of drill that will make holes in the walls for these anchors. Decide whether you'll want your shelves painted or unpainted. If you want adjustable shelves, be sure to buy the right type of shelf brackets.

Installing Your Shelves

With your material having been purchased and brought to your garage, you should begin your installation by attaching your shelf brackets to the garage interior wall you have previously chosen for your shelves (we'll assume you will be using adjustable brackets). For shelves on which you will store objects of medium weight (up to 5 pounds per object), you should space your brackets about 35 inches apart. If you attach your brackets to sheetrock (drywall), make sure it is attached to wall studs.

Laying Your Shelf Board on Shelf Brackets

Attach your shelf supports to the adjustable brackets with spacing you've previously chosen. To keep your shelves level, make sure you mount all shelf supports at the same height.


If you want your shelves painted, apply a coat of primer to them before they are placed on the shelf brackets. Then, apply your finish coat. To protect the shelf surface you can add a final coat of epoxy sealer.