Home & Garden

Floor to ceiling bookshelf

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 23rd, 2010 6:44 pm
Tags:
None
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2006
2438 posts
212 upvotes

Floor to ceiling bookshelf

Hi everyone.

I was thinking about getting the Ikea expedit... but I really want a floor to ceiling bookshelf. I've got about 92 inches high and 96 inches wide to work with (in a new condo). I don't have to do anything crazy (like go over a door)

Does anyone have any tips/hints on how to do it best/easiest/cheap?

I don't know where to start!

I'm in GTA...
14 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 8, 2002
3545 posts
482 upvotes
Ottawa
You can get pine or mdf boards cut to whatever length you need at Home Depot. Then put it together at home.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
12844 posts
571 upvotes
poorwingman wrote:
Nov 11th, 2010 9:11 pm
Hi everyone.

I was thinking about getting the Ikea expedit... but I really want a floor to ceiling bookshelf. I've got about 92 inches high and 96 inches wide to work with (in a new condo). I don't have to do anything crazy (like go over a door)

Does anyone have any tips/hints on how to do it best/easiest/cheap?

I don't know where to start!

I'm in GTA...

Ikea Billy and top section is about 92-93 inches..
Member
User avatar
Nov 19, 2009
460 posts
37 upvotes
Easy to do if you have some basic carpentry skills or know someone who does. I've built a few built-ins using both stock lumber and a combination of stock lumber and ready-made cabinets/wardrobes.

Couple things you need to consider 1st.

(a) is there crown molding/baseboards in the room? - a built in looks best if trim wraps around it

(b) what colour bookcase are you going to buy? - white would be easiest to match with existing trim in your condo

(c) is it going to cover a full wall? - a built in looks more built in if it fills in an entire area or goes wall to wall. If you are covering a full wall you can reuse the baseboard...you can't always find an exact match of the same profile trim that was used in your condo at HD or a lumberyard.

Others have suggested using stock lumber which is fine if you have the skill/tools/space to do the cuts/joinery. You indicated it is for a condo so it might be easier for you to use a pre-made bookcase as you have suggested. Also once you add up the price of stock lumber, paint/finish, glue, fasteners, clamps etc. you may be further ahead both in time and $ to use the IKEA bookcase.

If the bookcase is shorter than the height of your ceiling this is ideal. What you can do is build a 3" box of sorts that the unit rests on, then you can apply trim to the this box to cover it and integrate it into the wall.

It would help us provide suggestions if you could post a picture or two of the space that you want to put the bookcase.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2006
2438 posts
212 upvotes
nalababe wrote:
Nov 12th, 2010 11:47 pm
Ikea Billy and top section is about 92-93 inches..

the website says it's 93 1/4.. and i've only got 92" to work with :(

edit: i'll post a pic tomorrow when i've got the help of some natural light
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 6, 2002
4705 posts
4639 upvotes
Toronto
poorwingman wrote:
Nov 22nd, 2010 8:20 pm
the website says it's 93 1/4.. and i've only got 92" to work with :(

edit: i'll post a pic tomorrow when i've got the help of some natural light

If you're at all handy you can relatively easily cut down to size. Here's a pic of some Ikea "Bonde" series I had to trim down 3cm to "fit" in the wall in my condo. It's not really permanent, just three modules attached horizontally with sleeve bolts, and screwed to a backing plank attached to the wall for stability. It's about 2.5" narrower overall than I'd like, but it's pretty decent for being "crappy Ikea bookshelves". :)


Image
Yes, Here's to the few
Who forgive what you do
And the fewer who don't even care.
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
178 posts
18 upvotes
Maritimes
It's unlikely that IKEA or any other store would have bookcases/shelving which would exactly match the size of your wall. However, you could stack different bookcases/shelving units to fit the space almost perfectly.

Image
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/look ... tem-079813

The above installation uses 149x149 Expedits on the bottom, 149x89 Expedits in the middle, and small Expedits on the top.

I built something similar in my home. It cost around $500.
It would look more professional if you box in any gaps between the perimeter and the walls & ceiling with drywall or something, and crown molding, but that depends on your taste and skill. If you have to hire someone to do that, it's probably not worth it.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2006
2438 posts
212 upvotes
hoob wrote:
Nov 22nd, 2010 8:53 pm
If you're at all handy you can relatively easily cut down to size. Here's a pic of some Ikea "Bonde" series I had to trim down 3cm to "fit" in the wall in my condo. It's not really permanent, just three modules attached horizontally with sleeve bolts, and screwed to a backing plank attached to the wall for stability. It's about 2.5" narrower overall than I'd like, but it's pretty decent for being "crappy Ikea bookshelves". :)
i was worried about getting all the stuff.. and then realizing then realize that i would need to cut out a vital piece that was needed to hold everythign together
noahboady wrote:
Nov 22nd, 2010 10:59 pm
It's unlikely that IKEA or any other store would have bookcases/shelving which would exactly match the size of your wall. However, you could stack different bookcases/shelving units to fit the space almost perfectly.
genius idea. i actually wanted floor to ceilign expedit.. using black sot eh white wall would show through, but i didn't see a tall version and i didn't realize that these were stackable!
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
178 posts
18 upvotes
Maritimes
poorwingman wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2010 4:43 am
genius idea. i actually wanted floor to ceilign expedit.. using black sot eh white wall would show through, but i didn't see a tall version and i didn't realize that these were stackable!

Yes, you can stack them, but you should probably attach everything above the lowest unit to the wall. Your baseboards may complicate things because the lower bookcases won't sit flush against the wall, but you can take care of that with wood shims attached higher up on the wall (try to attach these to studs, not just drywall), then attach the upper bookcases to the shims.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 4, 2007
1504 posts
140 upvotes
Vancouver
Hi,

You can notch out the bottom shelving to clear the baseboards. You may need to shim the bottom shelves if the floor & wall aren't square to each other. You should secure the unit to the wall 2/3s of the way up in several places if it's a large unit.
[OP]
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2006
2438 posts
212 upvotes
Fraser River Rat wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2010 9:11 am
Hi,

You can notch out the bottom shelving to clear the baseboards. You may need to shim the bottom shelves if the floor & wall aren't square to each other. You should secure the unit to the wall 2/3s of the way up in several places if it's a large unit.

I tried to google it but couldn't find it.. so those are 2 different options?
1. shim...
2. notch out the bottom shelf? does that mean cut out? my baseboard comes out b/w 1-2 inches. that's a good idea.. but is it easy to do? i'd imagine that everyone that puts this particular shelf would want it straight up and flush against the wall...
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 6, 2002
4705 posts
4639 upvotes
Toronto
poorwingman wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2010 7:53 am
I tried to google it but couldn't find it.. so those are 2 different options?
1. shim...
2. notch out the bottom shelf? does that mean cut out? my baseboard comes out b/w 1-2 inches. that's a good idea.. but is it easy to do? i'd imagine that everyone that puts this particular shelf would want it straight up and flush against the wall...

Depending on how permanent you want this to be, you have three options to make it flush to the wall.

1. Carefully trim and cut/remove the baseboard to exactly the depth of the bookshelf. ie, remove the baseboard precisely where your booksheld will be, so it can go flush to the wall/floor at the corner. There's a "screw up" risk for this in case you cut wrong, don't do a clean cut, etc. You can fix up this with paintable putty or caulking though. As someone else mentioned, you might not be able to find matching baseboard segments to replace anything you screw up. And it's a more permanent modification, of course.

2. If your baseboard is 1/2" by 4" high, notch out the bottom outer 1/2 by 4" from your bookcase structure. Some of the Ikea designed have about a 1"-2" frame so you should be able to do this. But you would need access to a router table or table saw to do this effectively. This lets the bookshelf sit flush on the floor and against the wall, but the notch you cut out sits "over" the baseboard.

3. Leave the bookshelf and baseboard as-is, which would leave a 1/2" gap (or whatever) between the shelves and the wall. Fill that gap in with trim, painted as needed for your decor (same as baseboard/highlights, same as wall, same as shelving, as needed.)

You can of course just leave the gap there, of even intentionally make it a bit wider so you can store tall thin things there.

As mentioned above, you may need to shim the entire unit so that it is level with the walls. You will notice a crooked gap with the wall much more than a slightly uneven shimmed floor. In my case in the picture above, no shimming was needed since the wall and floor were sqare, but the bulkhead wasn't "level" so the gap there at the top is crooked. Grr..

Anchoring to the back wall is a must. It's common sense for safety -- You wouldn't want a full wall of books falling on you if you accidently trip and instinctively grab a shelf (or any other conceivable situation that could lead to accidental tipping.)

If your bookshelf is "clear" with no backing, it will be more difficult to do since your anchor points won't match up to studs. You will probably need to anchor at the top and bottom, using normal brackets and such available from home improvement places.

If the bookshelf backing is opaque, it will be easier. The approach I used is to solidly attach backing boards to the wall, onto studs. These boards are the same thickness as the baseboard, so the shelving pushes up snug to them. Then, you have the freedom to anchor the booksheld to those boards ad any point horizontally. This also makes eventual removal, if needed, easier, since the wall damage is limited to the few points you attached the planks.

In the end it's really not that difficult if you're comfortable with using tools (and have access to them.) Go wild and have fun!
Yes, Here's to the few
Who forgive what you do
And the fewer who don't even care.
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
178 posts
18 upvotes
Maritimes
There are some good suggestions above about cutting the bookcase to fit over your baseboards. However, most IKEA shelving/bookcases aren't made of wood, they're made of MDF. MDF contains formaldehyde. It chips and breaks easily. Once it's broken, that whole section or piece is useless; you probably won't be able to repair it. It's also considered toxic. If you break or cut part of it, the toxic gases will escape. You've seen how clean and shiny finished MDF products look - you'd have to finish any cut sections just like that, yourself, to prevent it from crumbling and the toxic gases from escaping. Also, cut, unfinished MDF looks terrible. So even if you don't care about the environmental and structural issues, make sure it's not going to be visible.

http://www.ehow.com/list_6425880_charac ... -wood.html

So unless you have skills and experience, MDF probably isn't a product you want to start cutting apart.

Some IKEA bookcases have notches cut out of the bottom, sized so they will fit over certain baseboards. Unfortunately the Expedit doesn't have any notches.

Image

In the shown example, the Expedits are stacked like a pyramid. The higher ones sit further back than the lowest one. It looks fine that way.

These bookcases come with pre-drilled holes and products and instructions that allow you to attach them to the wall. The only extra step is that you will actually be anchoring the bookcase to a shim, a piece of wood which you have attached to the wall. You won't have to cut the MDF bookshelf and deal with it probably crumbling and falling apart if you just attach a piece of wood to the wall behind it so you can use the pre-drilled holes and included products to attach it to that piece of wood.

You can paint any visible part of the wood shim(s) so it matches the colour of the bookcase and/or the wall, and nobody will ever notice it.
Member
User avatar
Nov 19, 2009
460 posts
37 upvotes
noahboady wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2010 1:56 pm
There are some good suggestions above about cutting the bookcase to fit over your baseboards. However, most IKEA shelving/bookcases aren't made of wood, they're made of MDF. MDF contains formaldehyde. It chips and breaks easily. Once it's broken, that whole section or piece is useless; you probably won't be able to repair it. It's also considered toxic. If you break or cut part of it, the toxic gases will escape. You've seen how clean and shiny finished MDF products look - you'd have to finish any cut sections just like that, yourself, to prevent it from crumbling and the toxic gases from escaping. Also, cut, unfinished MDF looks terrible. So even if you don't care about the environmental and structural issues, make sure it's not going to be visible.

http://www.ehow.com/list_6425880_charac ... -wood.html

So unless you have skills and experience, MDF probably isn't a product you want to start cutting apart.

Some IKEA bookcases have notches cut out of the bottom, sized so they will fit over certain baseboards. Unfortunately the Expedit doesn't have any notches.

Image

In the shown example, the Expedits are stacked like a pyramid. The higher ones sit further back than the lowest one. It looks fine that way.

These bookcases come with pre-drilled holes and products and instructions that allow you to attach them to the wall. The only extra step is that you will actually be anchoring the bookcase to a shim, a piece of wood which you have attached to the wall. You won't have to cut the MDF bookshelf and deal with it probably crumbling and falling apart if you just attach a piece of wood to the wall behind it so you can use the pre-drilled holes and included products to attach it to that piece of wood.

You can paint any visible part of the wood shim(s) so it matches the colour of the bookcase and/or the wall, and nobody will ever notice it.

I think you are talking about particleboard, not MDF. MDF is actually quite strong, but prone to splitting when fastening with nails and screws too close to the edge, and the corners can start to fray with a lot of wear. It doesn't crumble like particleboard. Also MDF takes paint beautifully.
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
178 posts
18 upvotes
Maritimes
Highbrow71 wrote:
Nov 23rd, 2010 11:04 pm
I think you are talking about particleboard, not MDF. MDF is actually quite strong, but prone to splitting when fastening with nails and screws too close to the edge, and the corners can start to fray with a lot of wear. It doesn't crumble like particleboard. Also MDF takes paint beautifully.
Whatever IKEA products are made out of, that's what I'm referring to. Some of it is MDF, some is particle board, some is other engineered material. Almost none of what they sell there is made out of real wood. Some of the materials they use are hardly better than cardboard. The Expedit bookcase line is quite heavy and made out of better-quality engineered material (probably MDF) than some of their other furniture, but as you've described, it's unforgiving to work with without some kind of prior experience. A beginner should practice working with pieces of scrap before attempting to make perfect cuts on a brand new bookcase.
× < >

Top