How to Install ¼" Pegboard for Maximum Service
by Damien Andrews
Like most do-it-yourselfers, I think that pegboard is like shelves and electrical outlets – you just can't have too much of it. I have one entire wall of my workshop cover with pegboard, and I also have two other 4' x 8' sheets of pegboard mounted on other walls. I don't have much use for small pegboard, so I always use the ¼" variety. The board is stronger and so are the pegs. I'm not really sure exactly how much weight a ¼" pegboard hook will hold. Of course it will depend on the style of pegboard hook selected, but I have such heavies as a 24" pipe wrench and a 12" pipe wrench on one single hook. By arranging different styles of pegboard hooks, one can make a configuration that will hold almost anything from a screw gun to a circular saw. If you want to tidy up and organize your workshop, I highly recommend starting with a large piece of ¼" pegboard!
Installing pegboard is a relatively simple, straightforward process. The pegboard cannot rest flat against the wall or the pegboard hooks can't be installed and used – the ends will strike the wall and they cannot be inserted. So a pegboard must be held away from the wall when it's installed. It is in the process of elevating the pegboard from the wall with furring strips that many do-it-yourselfers lose a lot of valuable pegboard hook space. Herein, I'll show you how to install pegboard to maximize the usable space.
The stress on a pegboard is downward – with a tiny bit of outward thrown in. This is to say that when you secure a pegboard to a wall with furring strips, you need to be concerned with securing it to resist forces pulling it straight down on the wall – not straight out from the wall. Knowing this allows for a much more efficient installation of the pegboard. By 'efficient,' I mean there will be more useable holes for hooks.
Specific measurements cannot be used in this article. Installing pegboard has numerous variables including the size of the piece of pegboard to be installed and whether or not it will have to wrap around anything, such as an electrical box, cabinet, workbench or door. With that said, let's look at some basic principals for efficient pegboard installation.
- Use a 1" x 3" (cut to your required length) furring strip to secure the top of the pegboard to the wall. Attach the furring strips using two 2½" x #8 wood screws at each stud. Don't forget to use your level. (See diagram)
- The top furring strip does not have to be completely covered by the new pegboard. Do your measuring and fitting so that the top furring strip only extends down past the first row of holes on the new pegboard. (See diagram)
- The bottom furring strip can be 1" x 2", and again should only cover the lowest row of pegboard holes. Attach the bottom furring strip using one 2" x #6 wood screw at each stud.
- Lay the piece of pegboard down on something flat, with its front side (the smooth side) facing downward. Now cut and attach lengths of a ¾" dowel BETWEEN the COLUMNS of holes – as seen in the diagram. The pieces of dowel rod do not have to extend from the top furring strip to the bottom furring strip. The purpose of these dowel rod lengths is to keep the pegboard away from the wall when weight is added to it, so use enough pieces of adequate length to accomplish that objective. Since there is no stress on the dowel rods, they may be glued into place with a quality wood glue – no hardware required. To give some idea of how many dowels are needed, if a piece of pegboard that is 4' x 4' is hung, use three vertically installed dowel rods 18" long. NOTE: these must run vertically so that they do not block pegboard holes!
- When the glued dowel rods are all dry, level and attach the new pegboard to the furring strips, starting with the top furring strip. Attach the pegboard using 1" #8 sheet metal screws with ½" washers. Put one sheet metal/washer at each pre-drilled corner hole in the new pegboard, and then one every 12" – 16", depending on how much weight will ultimately be placed on the pegboard.
You now have a new ¼" pegboard that will hold untold sums of weight without sagging in the center, and you only have two rows of holes that are unserviceable. Most do-it-yourselfer installed pegboards have two rows of unserviceable holes at the top, two more at the bottom and two more on each edge, PLUS two [vertical] columns in the center of the pegboard.