If you are maintaining an older closet or installing a new one, a new closet rod is going to be something to consider. These rods typically break or sag and are always a part of a new closet redesign. Various options for replacing them. Wood dowels are one way to make a cheap, customizable closet rod.
A closet-rod dowel is usually between 1 1/4 inches to 1 3/8 inches in diameter. This diameter allows for plenty of hanging strength. It resists breakage, and will not bend when properly supported. These dowels are most often hung between two round wall brackets secured to the wall with screws and drywall anchors. Alternatively, they are laid into a U-shaped support that is part of the angle bracket supporting a shelf over the closet rod.
Dowel length depends on the size of your closet and the amount of clothing you intend to hang. Usually, a 4-foot long closet rod is enough to hang the clothes for one person. Bear in mind it takes about an inch of space to hang one garment, so plan your length with this as a guide. If the dowel is to be hung across the width of the closet, it should be about 1/4 inch shorter than the width of the closet, measured from wall to wall. The 1/4-inch difference is to accommodate for the two brackets mounting the dowel; each one is about 1/8 inch thick. If the dowel is set into an angle bracket that holds the dowel in a U-shaped support, the dowel length is the same as the width of the closet. Normally, dowels are sold in lengths of 6 feet and 8 feet, although dowels up to 10 feet long are also common. Simply cut the dowel to length using a hand saw. Some dowels are also priced per foot, so you can buy only the length you need for the rod.
If you intend to use double hanging rods, your dowel diameter should still be between 1 1/4 inches or 1 3/8 inches. However, the length of the dowel is much shorter. Double-hung rods are typically 4 feet long each. Usually, one person takes up about 4 feet of closet-rod length. Whenever you hang a shorter rod, the diameter of the rod may become smaller, so leaning towards the 1 1/4 inch dowel in the case of double-hung rods is normal. Metal dowels may be thinner, as little as 1 inch in diameter, because metal is a stronger material than wood.
If you intend to hang a dowel from the closet rod to create a hanging rod for additional space use a smaller diameter dowel. A 1-inch dowel makes an ideal hanging rod. It is large enough to support the weight of shirts and pants, and small enough to be lighter in weight than the closet rod itself. This places less strain on the closet rod, which must support the weight of the dowel and the clothes on the dowel. If you are using dowels to create towel bars, 1 inch is also an acceptable diameter.
Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.