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Concrete Garages, Shelving and Catastrophe

To put back what came down...

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Iain Downs16/06/2020 21:46:01
688 forum posts
622 photos

I have a standard modern prefab concrete garage as my workshop.

To date, I've been hanging things up with no more nails, in this case some vertical battens (3) with 180cm high Spur shelving. However, this came a cropper this weekend when the shelving at carrying most of my milling tools fell down. I wasn't quite underneath it.

Interestingly, the no more nails had stuck to the concrete (I'd de-painted it) but released the wood. It had held up for around 6 months, so I was feeling quite safe!

I decided that this needed to go back up with more security and decided to use rawlplugs.

I managed to get one 6mm hole in the ribs about 30mm deep, but another 3 have foiled me cutting no more than about half a centimetre. This with a 750W mains hammer drill rather than my normal cordless (which probably wouldn't scratch this).

Some googling indicates that a SDS drill is my best bet, but that's by no means certain. It seems possible that there some rebar in there and not all SDS bits will bite. I'm also not keen to spend at least 50 quid on a drill that I will use once.

So I'm thinking of trying the same trick again, but with two additions. First, to cut some grooves of some kind in the wood battens to provide more for the no-more-nails to key on to. I would also consider a better no more nails than B&Q's best.

Secondly and more importantly, the spur actually reaches up to the wooden frame for the roof (4x4 by the look of it) and last time I glued some battens to the frame and screwed the spur to the battens. This time I would screw through to the frame which would then take much of the force.

I would appreciate any experience or suggestions. I have no desire for half a hundredweight of metal to fall on my head whilst I'm calmly milling away!

Many thanks in advance.


Steviegtr16/06/2020 21:59:59
1513 forum posts
163 photos

In my dads garage way back he just used the bolts that hold the garage panels together to fix angle brackets to. Then mounted these to his shelving. His were the 2 foot wide concrete panels, which are bolted together by something like 6mm bolts, panel to panel. The edges of those panels do have steel in them.


Ady116/06/2020 22:02:54
3865 forum posts
522 photos


I jammed / braced the top of my shelves along the roof space with wooden beams

You can get shelving from ebay

No "fixing to the walls" required

God knows how much weight they all have now, its a lot


Edited By Ady1 on 16/06/2020 22:05:30

Chris Evans 616/06/2020 22:03:08
1747 forum posts

If you where near me I would let you use my SDS. Maybe a local forum member has one ? Could you drill through and put a metal plate (big washer ) on the outside to spread the load ?

Steviegtr16/06/2020 22:06:42
1513 forum posts
163 photos
Posted by Chris Evans 6 on 16/06/2020 22:03:08:

If you where near me I would let you use my SDS. Maybe a local forum member has one ? Could you drill through and put a metal plate (big washer ) on the outside to spread the load ?

Not a good idea drilling right through a pre cast garage wall. The drill bit explodes out the back & you end up with a crator. I assume it is a pebbledash affair.


DMB16/06/2020 22:09:43
1014 forum posts

Hi Iain,

Why not use free standing shelving? Similar to Dexion which is no longer made. I have seen adverts for that type where the advertiser boasts about how strong it is and quotes max. weight. Not cheap but do you want to risk being flat packed? Concrete garages have internal strengthening as you found out and I wouldn't have considered drilling it. What about insulating, walls, roof? I think you could suffer serious rusting of machinery and steel stocks. Have a look back on past postings on this.


not done it yet16/06/2020 22:16:53
5026 forum posts
20 photos

Dunno what you mean by ‘standard’. Nor do you give any indication of the dimensions of your shelving. All useful information to make sensible suggestions.

Mine is over 25 years old and vertical panels are bolted together. I would either drill between the panels and secure from the outside or replace horizontal bolts with longer items and fit decent battens to those longer fixings.

I don’t like ‘no nails’ glue for that application. It is good for some things but, IMO, not all scenarios.

My garage has 100mm of celotex insulation against the panels, so not a choice for me. I put substantial uprigts from the floor to support any shelving at both the wall and outboard edge of shelves.

Cornish Jack16/06/2020 22:41:16
1173 forum posts
163 photos

I had a near replica of Iain's 'collapse only mine was 'Rawlplugged' in to the walls. Thankfully mine happened while I was absent, so just the mess to clear up!.

My remedy was as DMB suggests, Dexion frames, free standing for weight bearing but wall fixed for added stability, if that makes sense? No further traumas (fingers crossed!)



Ady116/06/2020 23:07:14
3865 forum posts
522 photos

We recently had a bathroom wall removed and it was basically cardboard egg carton with a skim of plasterboard

3 hammer blows could smash right through from one room to the next, it's pathetic

Yet there is a huge wall cupboard full of tins and dishes hanging from this piece of garbage wall in the kitchen which must weigh 100 kilos plus for the last 10 years

The way they did it was the obvious screw it to the battens bit but that's nowhere near enough for the weight being carried here, the internal verticals are like 3x3

The sneaky bit was the kitchen tiles, they are about an inch thick and support the bottom of the cupboard along the wall and transfer most of the weight down towards the floor

The other flats at my bit (3 of us) only have corner cupboards to the ceiling

Edited By Ady1 on 16/06/2020 23:26:01

Alan Waddington 216/06/2020 23:10:00
507 forum posts
87 photos

I use my mothers prefab concrete garage as an extra store.

Made some racking from hollow section

legs sit on floor, tops are bolted to roof joists

Reckon there must be going on for 1/2 tonne of steel sat on them with no issues.

Could easily be adapted for sheves, just by adding wood

Hopper17/06/2020 03:02:02
4812 forum posts
105 photos

When drilling holes in concrete I have found there are carbide masonry bits and there are carbide masonry bits. The pricier good brand-name ones will drill into hard concrete and seem to cope with rebar ok where the cheap hardware store junk masonry bits do what you have described: one good hole then lose their edge and grind away without going anywhere much. Brand I use here are IRWIN but no idea if they are available where you live. But basically you get what you pay for.

For heavy shelving I'd use the metal expanding bolts, not the plastic plug types.

Paul Lousick17/06/2020 03:15:15
1544 forum posts
579 photos

Use a hammer drill when drilling concrete. Heaps easier to drill a hole. Drill a pilot hole first for large holes and as stated above, use expanding metal bolts not the plastic plugs if holding anything heavy.


clogs17/06/2020 06:34:25
578 forum posts
12 photos


Irwin brand is available in the North of the planet......

wasn't that Stanley........?

mostley here tho u seem to find Bosch or Dewalt.....

Lucky ol me,I have 4 Hilti SDS's......diff sizes for diff jobs.....

for evil jobs always buy a new Hilti drill bit....these will punch there way thru rebar ........

Had to drill a hole into a concrete Wine Vat in France for a that was tough...never seen concrete like that befor.......hahaha

Sam Longley 117/06/2020 07:42:45
796 forum posts
28 photos

I have fully lined my concrete garage & in doing so have made lots of fixing points. I obtained some 25*50 *2.400 battens & some binding wire. I have some 8 inch steel fixers nips to twist the wire. I replaced the bolts to the joints in the concrete panels with lengths of stainless studding such that the ends stuck out 25mm both sides. This gave an anchorage point for the wire. One could do it by just slackening the bolts & working the wire behind them, but I have lots of studding left from a job so i just swopped it.

I placed the battens up the face of each joint. I passed the wire from one end of the studding round the face of the vertical batten back to the other end of the studding & twisted it really tight. I cannot recall if I did 3 or 4 per length This holds the batten really tight. The wire started to cut into the batten.

This then allowed me to place 25 mm celotex between battens,& face the lot with 4mm ply, up to 6ft high ( 1.5 sheets of ply wide)

However, back to your point. I can now screw things like my shelving (which is still supported at the front down to the floor) to the battens which are at 600mm centres round the garage.


Edited By Sam Longley 1 on 17/06/2020 07:53:31

larry phelan 117/06/2020 09:57:28
828 forum posts
17 photos

Would never depend on any sticky stuff to hold up shelves of any kind !

Hilti leads the way !!

Neil Wyatt17/06/2020 10:13:19
18240 forum posts
714 photos
77 articles

When I dry-lined my workshop into an ancient cast garage, I started with a brand new Woolworths rechargeable hammer drill. Amazingly it survived but I got through truckloads of carbide tipped masonary bits, usually melting out the brazed in tips.

I'm sure that the endless sessions swapping hands to force the bits in were the origin of issues with both arthritis and carpal tunnel issues taht showed up a few years later.

Lucky I didn't get vibration white finger too.


Watford17/06/2020 10:16:37
134 forum posts
11 photos

Never mind about you, what happened to the precious tooling??? face 5

Oven Man17/06/2020 10:19:58
70 forum posts
8 photos

According to my neighbour across the road drilling holes on a new concrete prefab garage will void any warranty.


Circlip17/06/2020 10:21:50
1198 forum posts

Made hangers that go over the top edge thickness (Like the ones the roof bars use) with a packer at the bottom to ensure they sit vertical. Was advised by Garage fitters NOT to drill into concrete walls as it could burst the panel. There is a difference in the concrete used for garage panels. There is a reason any holes for fixings are cast in at manufacture.

Regards Ian.

Roger Whiteley17/06/2020 12:11:10
19 forum posts

I bought some heavy duty shelving from Amazon (sorry), because we could get nothing else within a radius of 50 miles. But I'd want stuff fixed to the wall, *somehow*, if only to stop it tipping forwards.

I've had a sort-of-workshop in a cast concrete garage, about 60 odd years old, horrible stuff and yeah its got rebar in. I'd line it, for two reasons: 1. to provide space for insulation which is good for the condensation problem and 2. To provide something to fasten stuff to, which brings me to my present workspace..   I'd use 83x36 CLS at 600 centres, made just like a stud wall.

My current sort-of-workshop is a grounded refrigerated van body thick plastic lined, takes woodscrews a treat, even without a pilot hole.

But my reason for posting is that I've discovered the joys of French Cleats for hanging stuff from, a length of 2x1, OK 18x44 PSE, with a 20 degree corner sawn off, with screws every 150mm fastened horizontally to the wall will support practically anything - even those kitchen cupboards... It took me ten minutes to rip the corners off three 2m long strips with a Lidl cordless circular saw. And about the same time to attach to the wall and to the shelves I wanted to hang off them. When I move, I can leave the strips on the wall and just make some more, at heights that work for me in the next workspace. *sigh, nightmare*

Edited By Roger Whiteley on 17/06/2020 12:12:26

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