how to fix sagging book shelves DIY

If you are like me and have a storage problem in youse house you may run into an issue with overloaded shelves. I just love to use every inch of available space in closets and cupboards to hide away all of my gear.

The problem with packing a lot of heavy items into your cupboards like books, or records, then over time your shelves can begin to sag. This can cause the shelf to eventually collapse. The only way to fix your sagging shelves without brackets is to reinforce them.

There are a couple of cheap ways to repair your shelves and we are going to go over the top ways to fix this problem.

Supporting Long Shelves

How to Fix Sagging Shelves With Aluminium C-Chanel
Aluminum front support C-Chanel glued on.

Most shelves made today are of a cheap MDF or a pressed chipboard type of material. These then are covered with laminate. These products do resist bending to some degree but over time they will sag especially if exposed to a humid or wet environment.

A quick fix that many people use is to go to your local hardware store and purchase some Aluminum C/U-Chanel that is the same internal diameter as your laminate or wood shelving. It must be a perfect fit.

You can then press fit it onto the shelves to provide extra support for those longer shelves. I like to use a thin strip of silicone glue to hold it into place. It will be a cleaner finish than screwing it down.

Supporting Long Shelves with aluminium c-chanel
Aluminum front c-channel support strip.

You will be very surprised by the extra weight your reinforced shelves will be able to withstand.

How to fix sagging shelves with another piece of wood.

fix sagging shelves with another piece of wood.
Shelf with front and side support brace.

Often you can double up the thickness of the wood shelves by using a spare piece of laminate or wood of the same size. If you don’t have one your local wood supply store will be able to cut you a piece to fit.

Paint it the same color and then screw it under the original laminate shelf. You will find that there may be a slight bow in the original wood panel but it will straighten out over time. Especially with some heavy items on it.

In the case above, the support brace was attached to the front side of the shelf for a cleaner look.

Always pre-drill your nail or screw holes to stop the wood from splitting for a neater finish. For blunt drill bits, you can use this drill bit sharpening guide.

Flipping over the original wood shelf will aid in straightening it out over time. Essentially you are increasing the thickness of the shelves by double or more with the extra support wood.

Shelf reinforcing strips.

This is the most cost-effective method of supporting long shelves. All that is required is to use some 2-inch x 3/4-inch wood moldings or trim. It is up to you how fancy you would like to go.

fix sagging shelves with pine wood brace.
Front wood pine shelf brace

Plain pine works well as you can stain or paint it to match the rest of your shelves.

Cut the wood to size and screw it to the front of your sagging shelves. I like to first flip over the sagging wood and then attach the reinforcing wood support using wood screws. Don’t forget to pre-drill the wood screw holes to stop the wood from splitting.

For very heavy objects you can use two support strips like the following video.


These three tips will give you lots of options to support your sagging shelves without brackets. No need to get a handyman out. This DIY project is one that you can tackle yourself with some basic tools that every man or woman should have in their garage.

Having sagging racks and shelves looks cheap and nasty. They can also be a safety hazard if the shelf collapses.

If you have any other tips or tricks to fix sagging shelves please let me know in the comments.

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