Am I overloading my IVAR shelving?
August 4, 2008 9:20 AM   Subscribe

How many books can an IVAR bookshelf unit from IKEA hold?

So, I've just moved into a smaller apartment, and I've got more books than I can fit onto my shelves. I'm tempted therefore to really load up my new IVAR bookshelves, rather than get rid of books.

I'm hoping to hear experiences with really loading up IVAR shelving with books--have you done this and been fine? Have you tried this and produced a spectacular collapse?

Personally, I've got the 6ft (70.5") shelves (2x35" and 1x17" wide), hooked up together, on a carpeted concrete floor. I want to put in at least seven shelves (including the top and bottom piece), and want to load books two deep on the shelves (I'll just have to sort of remember which books are behind the ones in front).

What are the chances that this sort of loading will break the shelves?
posted by washburn to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't find it on the web site, but I'm sure if you call an Ikea store they can tell you the recommended weight limit.
posted by LolaGeek at 9:36 AM on August 4, 2008

Each 33" shelf is supposed to hold up to 110 lbs. A box of books measuring 12x12x12 weighs about 40 lbs and holds somewhere in the vicinity of 30 linear inches for hardcover/large format and probably up to 40 or 50 inches for paperbacks. Double loading hardbounds would get you around 80 lbs - so you don't have *that* much clearance and I would be careful.

(I'm going through the same thing myself, ergo my handiness with all the numbers and weights.)

If you're really worried about it, sort out which books you want on each shelf and go to town with the bathroom scale. :)
posted by fuzzbean at 9:37 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by fuzzbean at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Our IVAR bookshelf looks like this, and it's been holding steady for more than four years. Just make sure you secure it to the wall with the strappy thing so it doesn't fall on you. But the shelves/rails are in great shape.
posted by miagaille at 9:42 AM on August 4, 2008

We have a couple of these. Put the heavy stuff -- hardbacks, references, etc. -- on the bottom shelves and you'll be fine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 AM on August 4, 2008

Note also from fuzzbean's link that the shelves which are 33" x 20" are rated for less weight than the 33" x 12" shelves — 90 lbs. compared to 110 lbs. This seems a little paradoxical, but hopefully a structural engineer will happen by some time soon and tell us why this is.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:15 PM on August 4, 2008

That would be 99 lbs., not 90. I should really preview my comments occasionally.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:16 PM on August 4, 2008

Johnny Assay - I would guess that is because the longer 20" shelf has more of a tendency to bend and droop than the stout unyielding 12" shelf.
posted by ian1977 at 2:17 PM on August 4, 2008

I've got both deep and shallow IVAR, and the shelves are held up by the same 2" metal rods in both -- so in the deep, you've got 18" or so of shelf only supported by the bent sheet metal bracket the rod fits into on the shelf, and in the shallow, you've only got 10" or so. 18" is going to bow (as seen from the side) a lot easier than 10" will, so it's rated for lighter.
posted by mendel at 7:07 PM on August 4, 2008

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