Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Project That Nearly Killed Me {Hanging Shelves on a Concrete Wall}

Ok, so where I left off yesterday was I had neglected to buy masonry bits for my drill and therefore could not finish hanging my shelves on the concrete wall (technically it is drywall in front of concrete, but the drywall is not thick enough to hang shelves from). Well yesterday I took my butt to Canadian Tire and I picked up a set of 5 masonry bits! These bits are specifically designed to break through concrete. However...please note...having the proper drill would help as well.

A hammer drill works well for smashing through concrete. I did not have such a drill. I honestly thought I could drill through concrete with a regular drill set to "high torque" and use these special drill bits. Oh my- how wrong I was. 3 hours of my evening looked like this:

Yes, I am in my jimjams. That's how I roll
This picture actually doesn't do this task justice. I had to lean my whole weight into the drill to get it in. Each hole probably took at least 10 minutes. PER HOLE. Sometimes I had to stop and take a break and then tackle it again. It was ridiculous. Probably the hardest workout I've done in a month.

But you know what? I got those dang holes done and plugged!! Yay!

Here are my tips for drilling into concrete:
- Buy/rent/borrow/steal a hammer drill
- Listen for a squeaky noise when drilling. That noise means the drill is working through the concrete (at least it seemed so)
- Take your drill bit out every once and while, while keeping it twirling. That helps remove the dust from the hole
- If a hole is real stubborn, try a smaller bit to drill a tiny hole in and work your way up to the size you need
- Use all your muscles and body weight!
- Be careful to keep the drill straight. My holes got all off
- Take lots of breaks
- Pat yourself on the back when done.

Now, before I get into showing you the final project, I wanted to go over how I got my brackets nice and level. Firstly, it should be noted that I bought shelves that were very close to the same length as my table, so I used my table as a guide!

1. Set up a ridiculous way to hold your measuring tape in place and mark off where the shelves are supposed to go so they are evenly spaced. I used purple chalk for all my markings because it washes off easily.

2. Using a giant level (these can be obtained for free in your father's basement!), mark a straight line at each tick mark from the previous step. This is your horizontal guide line for the screws. Be sure to take more than one photo, but then only have the random creepy smile one end up being the most in focus. Lovely.

3. Figure out how far in from the sides you want your brackets to be. I did about 4 inches, but it is all personal preference! Then use your giant level to draw a tick for each bracket along your horizontal lines. Be sure to crop your giant butt out of the photo (yikes!)

And now you have nice, even, level crosses where you need to get your drill on!

Now drill drill drill until you have holes.

Finally, stick in your plugs and screws, fight with the evil brackets that refuse to pop onto the screws and ta-da! You have level brackets!

I was actually shocked that they ended up level because the drill always seemed to be drilling the holes slightly off (because of where I was throwing my body weight I think).

Now, I ran out of screws to attach the boards to the brackets (Yes, I was just at Canadian Tire. Let's not discuss). But I thought I would throw them up there (and clean up a bit) to show you just how sexy they look!

I looooove them! I can't wait to style them!

For the record, I ended up using Ekby Osten shelving and Ekby Hensvik brackets. They are actually two slightly different shades of white and I originally considered painting the brackets, but once up on the wall you cannot tell at all, so thank goodness for that! I also loved that the shelves are only 7.5" deep, so they really don't stick out of the wall as much as a more common 11" shelf does.

Now please all pray that they don't fall down. I will be back later this week to show off styling once I have secured the shelves to the brackets.


  1. Looking good! I'm so impressed with your mad skills and I love how the shelves turned out. I'm looking forward to seeing them full!

    1. Yes I am considering a starting a contractor business. It would give Mike Holmes more TV opportunities (as in, my clients would have to call him to come fix my work)

  2. Great job, Casey! I can't wait to see the finished product. My walls are plaster, so I have been fighting with my drill a lot lately. My advice - lean into it! It is quite the workout, like you said!

    1. Lord honey, I was leaning with all the lean I had!!! Hmm there must be some tip for plaster. Have you googled it? I imagine its finicky (and dusty!)

  3. Concrete is the hardest stuff! Kuddoes to you, Casey, for sticking with this task. Totally worth it as the shelves look grand and will be fun to load up. :) I know that I sure could't have done that job; great work. Enjoying your progress up there!

    1. Thanks Karen! I think I am just crazy to be honest :)

  4. Wow, this looks like an enormous amount of work! It turned out really good, though!

    1. it was way more work that I realized but I am so happy with them now!!


Pin It button on image hover