I'm going to be building some heavy duty shelves in the basement, attached
to concrete block. The horizontal supports will be 2x4s, with 5/8 material
My plan was to attach the 2x4s to the block using tapcons. Pre-drill
through the 2x4s, then since the longest length tapcons I can find are 2
3/4, I was going to counter sink them into the 2x4 about 1/2".
Here is the question. Am I better off going into the block, or the mortar
joint? I've got a hammer drill, so that isn't an issue. I'm thinking into
the block, rather than the mortar, would be a stronger fit. Each set of
shelves will be 8' long, 2' wide. I was going to use 5 tapcons per 8'
section into the wall.
Open to suggestions. I've built these same shelves every house we've lived
in, but in the garage attached to the studs. First time trying with
Another option would be to attach a few verical 2x4s to the wall
(which will only require a few tapcons and therefore a few holes in
the blocks) and attach the shelves to them. Less damage to the walls
and easier to move the shelves if you ever need/want to.
Concrete blocks these days are not the robust castings of some years
ago. Given their delicate nature, the less you depend on Tapcons (as
good as they may be) the better off you will be. Consider the
suggestions above, and also generous use of construction adhesives.
What the other said, plus:
If you make the vert. 2x4s as long as possible, and let the bottom rest on
the floor (mebbe with a metal spacer for moisture), theoretically you would
just need one small screw at the top. Of course you'd use a substantial
screw at the top, but you'd need less-substantial screws further down, as
they are more for stability.
You could also use a butterfly anchor, but you'd have to make sure you're
hitting the hollow of the block.
What I've done, for very heavy shelving loads, is drilled *thru* the
concrete block, and nutted threaded rod from the other side -- if you have
Another neat option is this:
If the *opposing wall* is accessible, theoretically you wouldn't need any
screws at all.
Put up the vertical 2x4s, and *wedge* them with horizontal 2x4s, along the
ceiling, to the opposing wall. Small rabbet joints, etc would make this
Any screws/adhesives would be just for lateral-type stability, not for
I've actually done this a number of times, works great.
Plus, the horizontal wedging 2x4 is available for hanging all kinds of
stuff, etc. In which case you might want a vertical 2x4 on the opposing
wall as well.
These types of methods greatly reduce uncertainties/loads on existing
structures, and place the load/stresses almost totally on the shelving frame
itself, mostly in the form of compression. Tension/bending (like anchoring
to walls) is always dicey-er. Doable, of course, but dicey-er.
Yeah, sorry I forgot to mention that the 2x4s should at least rest on
the floor so that they are taking the weight and not the anchors. I
would at least put one anchor at the top and one at the bottom so
there's no chance of the the 2x4s shifting and leaving the weight on
Personally, I prefer to build self-supporting units so I can put them
wherever I want, but that's substantially more work to make them
Self-supporting shelves that are attached to the wall for safety or
stability purposes are much better than something built in that
requires structural support for each shelf via additional fasteners...
All that is needed is one 2x4 across the top front of the verticals, said
2x4 being held into place by fastening vertically into the trusses/joists
above. Of course, one *does* need to have the trusses going in the needed
Sounds good to me, going into the block not the mortar. I built mine
the same way. Only thing is my block was filled with concrete every 2
feet so it would actually be difficult to get a Tapcon to strip. If
none of your blocks are filled, just go easy and not too much pressure
with the hammer drill. And if you get one here and there that don't
hold well, just drill again a few inches over. Or, I hear people have
very good results with loose holes by inserting a piece of 12 or 14
gauge copper wire then screwing the tapcon in again. So hopefully you
have some extra romex around.
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