Ladder shelves are perhaps the most versatile and practical piece of furniture you can have in your home. The best part? They look stunning in any setting. Whether yours holds books, plants, photos, or prized possessions - one thing is for sure. You want to keep it safe and secure.
However, we've seen many people report that they struggle with their ladder shelves slipping. This is especially common on hardwood floors - but it can happen on carpets, too. Don’t stress any longer. Today, we're going to explain how to keep the ladder shelf from slipping. It’s usually as simple as adding some rubber stoppers, changing the location of your shelf, or flat out drilling it into your wall. We’ll cover all this and more shortly.
Not only that, but we'll explain why this happens in the first place. You’ll also learn why it's so important to address the problem before it results in a catastrophe. Towards the end of this article, we'll also share some other safety tips to keep your ladder shelf secure and stable. Let's not waste any more time - is this issue you’re experiencing normal?
Is It Normal For Ladder Shelves To Slip?
If you are struggling with your ladder shelf slipping, your first question is probably - is this normal? Or did I do something wrong during assembly?
Let’s get one thing clear - no, this is not normal. In fact, it is something you need to address quickly. Not only to keep your items safe and secure but also to keep you, your kids/pets, and any guests safe as well.
Ladder shelves are designed to be stable. The frame is made of sturdy material, while the shelves themselves are reinforced. This makes them ideal for storing heavier items - like books. That said, it's not uncommon for ladder shelves to slip on hardwood floors under the right - or perhaps, wrong - circumstances. Let's assess what causes ladder shelves to slip in the first place.
Why Do Ladder Shelves Slip?
Besides the occasional earthquake, what causes ladder shelves to slip around? There are three common causes. From improper weight distribution to poor assembly and even the type of flooring in question - we're going to break down all three causes to help you identify the culprit.
Improper Weight Distribution
The most common is probably an imbalance in weight distribution. When you load up your shelves with items, make sure they are evenly distributed. This will help keep the entire system balanced and prevent any one side from becoming overloaded.
That means you should put just as much weight on the bottom shelves as the top shelves. It also means you should balance the weight across the shelves themself well - don't put 10-20lbs on one side and nothing on the other. While this won't result in slipping, it could result in tipping. If you want to learn more about this, take a look at our article on how much weight a bookshelf can hold.
Poor Assembly or Faulty Screws
Another possible reason for ladder shelf instability is loose screws or other hardware. If something has come loose, it's only a matter of time before the entire system starts to wobble and eventually topple over.
Inspect your ladder shelf regularly to make sure all the screws are tight and there is no damage to any of the supporting pieces. And for goodness sake - take your time and read the instructions carefully during assembly! There is nothing worse than having to completely take apart your shelf after assembly because you missed a crucial step or cut a corner.
Finally, it's also worth considering how stable your flooring is. Hardwood floors are notoriously slippery - especially if they've been recently polished. If your ladder shelf is slipping on hardwood, try placing something under the legs to increase friction and prevent movement.
This could be anything from rubber stoppers to small rugs. Just make sure whatever you use is thick enough to actually make a difference. Thinner materials like doormats won't do much to keep your ladder shelf in place.
Why Is It So Important To Keep My Ladder Shelf From Slipping?
Aside from the obvious - preventing your belongings from crashing down - there are a few other reasons it's important to keep the ladder shelf from slipping. Of course, you don't want to damage your books - but what if you have an expensive piece of art sitting on your shelf? Or, what if you have a precious family heirloom at stake? If your shelf collapses, things could break. But that's just one concern.
Along with risking your tangible items, an unstable ladder shelf is a safety hazard. If the shelving unit topples over, it could seriously injure someone nearby - especially if it falls on them. If you have pets or children in the home, keeping all your furniture stable is imperative.
Another reason is that a slipping ladder shelf is simply an annoyance. If you're constantly having to adjust and readjust your shelves, it takes away from the convenience they are supposed to provide.
So, how do you keep the ladder shelf from slipping? Fortunately, there are a few pretty simple fixes you can implement to stop this issue once and for all.
How To Keep Ladder Shelf From Slipping
Now that we've gone over some of the reasons why ladder shelves slip, it's time to talk about how to prevent it. Below are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep your shelving unit in place. From using heavy-duty rubber grips or stoppers to changing the location of your shelf, and much, much more - there are all sorts of ways you can enhance the stability of your ladder shelf. Let's discuss:
Use Heavy Duty Rubber Grips or Stoppers
One way to increase friction and prevent movement is to place heavy-duty rubber stoppers under the legs of your ladder shelf. These can be found at most hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive. Just make sure you get the right size and weight for your particular shelf - you don't want something too light that won't make a difference or too big that makes it difficult to move your shelving unit around as needed.
Another option is to use rubber furniture grippers. These are small, round pads that adhere to the bottom of each leg and help keep your ladder shelf from sliding across the floor. They work in much the same way as stoppers but are less obtrusive and easier to remove if necessary.
Change The Location Of Your Shelf
If you're having trouble with your ladder shelf slipping on hardwood floors, try changing the location of the shelving unit. If possible, place it on a rug or carpet to increase friction and prevent movement.
You could also try moving it to a different room altogether - somewhere with tile or linoleum flooring instead of hardwood. Just make sure whatever surface you choose is level and even - you don't want your shelf tilting to one side or the other.
Use L-Brackets For Extra Support
L-brackets are small metal supports that can be used to reinforce furniture and prevent it from wobbling or tipping over. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install - just make sure you buy the right size for your particular ladder shelf.
To install, simply place the L-bracket on the inside corner of each shelf (at the point where it meets the wall) and use screws to secure it in place. This will help keep your shelving unit sturdy and stable, even on slippery surfaces.
Upgrade To A More Stable Ladder Shelf
In our review of the best ladder shelves online, you'll learn that not all shelves are created equal. In fact, some are flat-out cheap and unstable - and these have no place in your home or office. If you've tried these tips above to no avail, your best bet is to upgrade to a more stable ladder shelf.
While we love the lean-to-style ladder shelf, these can be slightly unstable. That's why we prefer the style that can be mounted on your wall. By screwing these in place, you'll enjoy peace of mind that the shelf isn't going anywhere. Once you get your new shelving system, take a look at our resource on how to hang a bookshelf on the wall.
Final Thoughts On How To Keep Ladder Shelf From Slipping
There you have it. We've covered all you need to know about how to keep your ladder shelf from slipping. We've explained the most likely causes for your unstable shelf, and why this is not an issue you should take lightly. By following these tips, you can enjoy your ladder shelf worry-free!
And if you decide that the best approach is to upgrade to the modern ladder shelf you deserve, treat yourself at Nathan James. We have the finest selection of shelving systems online - at prices that fit your budget. Our quality, durable, design-first furniture is great for those living in small spaces looking to make the most of what they have. The best part? Our furniture is incredibly simple to assemble. Usually toolless, always under 30 minutes.
Plus, ladder shelves are just one small part of what we offer. We have all your furniture needs in-store. Shop modern accent cabinets, modern serving carts, and much, much more. If you're looking for inspiration while you wait for your new ladder shelf to come, take a look at our article on how to decorate a ladder shelf!