Installing bookshelves on an uneven floor

Tips on how to ensure they don't fall over


UpQuark
Wasn't sure where to put this one. It's almost a Life in Germany topic as most floors here seem to be dangerously uneven. Then again, it could be a Family Life topic as most adults aren't likely to try and climb up book shelves and have them topple over in the process. Then again, I hardly ever have kids in my living room (thank heaven) so it doesn't quite fit there.

Anyhoo. We just bought an a$$load of bookshelves (IKEA Billy) and we have a very uneven floor. My worry is that unlike our wardrobes, which are heavy enough that they'd be tough to bring down, the bookshelves aren't quite so sturdy. I'm going to use carboard or plywood or whatever to make sure they stand up straight, but is that enough? If I were a four year-old, there'd be little to stop me from climbing up the shelves and bringing the whole thing down. They come with brackets to secure them to the wall, but I trust them about as much as the current US administration.

Thoughts? Anyone ever cripple a child with a book shelf or have one fall down on a drunk who used them as a stepladder?
cinzia
I heard a story once, which could very well be an urban legend, that toddler twins in the UK somewhere were both killed trying to climb up the bookshelves and pulling them over on them. I hope it's not true.

We had uneven floors in Munich, and just put pieces of wood under the bookshelves and wardrobes to try to keep them more stable. I don't know if wall brackets would have been effective with heavy books as a counterweight. What if you put the heavier books on the bottom shelves and the lighter ones on top? Would that stabilize things?
Corcaigh
I thought they came with a fitting that attaches to both the shelves and the wall... if not then it wouldn't be rocket science to improvise...
Tiggi
When I was about 7 and looking after my toddler brother, I went to the loo and came back to find him halfway up an extremely precarious bookshelf, which would almost certainly have come down on top of him if I'd been a few seconds longer. Quite a shock. Unless they're under absolutely constant supervision (i.e. just visiting briefly), I wouldn't let kids near bookshelves that aren't either extremely stable or well attached to the wall. But if you don't have kids of your own, the rest of your flat is also unlikely to be properly child-proof, I'd have thought. I know mine isn't!
zemonkey
never put anything out of reach of children by placing it on a bookshelf, yes, I know of two accidents. Having said that, my bookshelves are not all screwed to the walls (3500+ books, yikes!) but I do have little wooden corners (bought at OBI) to keep them leaning towards the wall.
Hope that helps.
Sari
I have those bookshelves, and the anchors look crappy but remember the walls here are not hollow behind a thin piece of dry wall. I hung off the top of my shelf to test it after the things were in and it didn't budge...if you're still worried, go buy a few shelf anchors from the store and attach them to the top of your shelf and the wall...
Gen
Go ahead and attach them to the wall.

If you were attaching things to walls in a wood-framed house, you'd attach them to the frame itself (the "studs"), not just to the drywall.
Tom17
The Ikea furniture does indeed come with a bracket for stabilizing against a wall. The walls don't have to be super strong for this as weight of the bookshelf is not 'hanging' on the wall but still standing on the floor. The wall mounting is just for stabilization and will be more than adequate even if the walls aren't great.
GreenTea
You could always approach the problem from a different angle and put barbed wire along the edges of all the shelves. An effective kiddie-deterrent, as well as looking pretty cool.
cinzia
Good suggestion, GT. Also deters drunks from browsing your books.
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