Elfa is a multinational company based in Sweden that produces organizational products. In the United States, the Container Store is their distributor. Elfa shelving is modular, allowing buyers to pick and choose the sizes and components they need. You must first calculate the weight of your items, then determine the shelves that can carry that weight.
Buyers can calculate the Elfa shelving capacity they need by estimating the weights they want to put on shelves with a width of 36 inches. The Wardrobe Man, a closet installer, places the weight of a yard of fiction books at 44 lbs., office files at 66 lbs. and dictionaries at 132 lbs. CDs and a stereo to play them weighs 22 lbs., and a TV uses up 44 lbs.
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The Elfa BuiltRite Solutions catalog gives a basic capacity of 100 lbs. per linear foot, assuming the spacing between supports measures 24 inches. The depth of the shelves runs 12, 16 or 20 inches, supported by a top track that is mounted with Elfa anchors on 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch sheet rock. Other capacities are 125 lbs. per steel shelving bracket, or 500 lbs. total distributed between the 24-inch width of the vertical supports. Reducing the spacing below 24 inches can increase the rated capacity.
The Wardrobe Man recommends multiplying the number of screws in a shelf section by the following material ratings to get the total weight capacity of that shelf. The ratings vary by wall material: drywall or lightweight concrete – 66 lbs., particleboard – 88 lbs., brick – 132 lbs. and wood beams – 143 lbs. For example, a standard 24-inch shelf section with four screws can support 264 lbs. in drywall, 352 lbs. in particleboard, 528 lbs. in brick and 572 lbs. in wood.
Capacities also change depending on how vertical supports are positioned along the horizontal top track. The top track attaches to a wall through several equally spaced screws. Putting the supports near the screws on drywall or particleboard allows a weight of 155 to 198 lbs., with the first number referring to a support near the end of the top track, and the second referring to a support toward the middle. Capacities for wood are 286 to 617 lbs. -- and for concrete they reach 341 to 661 lbs. Putting the support in the middle space between two screws increases capacity on drywall or particleboard to between 220 and 264 lbs. Capacities remain the same on wood and concrete.