Closet systems made of laminated fiberboard offer a wide range of components. In addition to shelves, you can incorporate drawers, and cabinets, all in a large number of styles and colors, including realistic faux wood finishes.
Epoxy-coated wire organizing systems are a good way to cut clutter, but if you want your closet or pantry to have a more built-in appearance, a fiberboard-based system may be right for you. Fiberboard refers to any type of engineered, composite wood, such as:
which consists of small wood chips and shavings bound together with resin. This is the type of fiberboard used by most manufacturers. Installation requires special joint fasteners; screws and nails don't hold well and may cause splitting.
-- Medium-density fiberboard, more commonly referred to as MDF,
which consists of fine wood fibers that are bound together with resin. It's denser and more expensive than particleboard, but also requires special joint fasteners.
-- Hardboard, also called high-density fiberboard,
is made by compressing exploded wood fibers into sheets. Tempered hardboard is treated with linseed oil and baked to resist moisture. It's denser and stronger than MDF, and is often used for drawer bottoms and wall-hung organizers.
Fiberboard shelving systems
offer a more integrated look to your closet design. In a bedroom closet, for example, you may chose to match the finish and style of your bed, dressers -- or even the color of your walls. In a pantry near the kitchen, you can match the finish on your cabinets. You will have to pay more for such customization, but if a seamless look is important to you, the upgrade may be well worth the investment.
With most fiberboard systems, the key components are vertical dividers, which come pre-drilled for adjustable shelf supports and other hardware. Depending upon which system you choose, the dividers are either freestanding (they rest on the floor) or hung on horizontal rails similar to the ones used to hang the slotted standards of wire-based systems. The dividers, typically spaced 2 feet apart, can accommodate clothing rods, cabinet doors, specialty shelving for shoes, and sliding hardware for various pullouts and drawers
. Some useful pullouts include hampers, tie and belt racks, pants racks, packing shelves, and valet rods.
You can customize fiberboard shelving systems
to suit your particular space. The walk-in pantry pictured above, for example, is built of fiberboard shelving and other components that were sized to fit the area. It's an example of non-modular closet components
Some closet systems hang modular fiberboard components on slotted standards.
With such systems you can mix wire and fiberboard, as shown above, if you'd like.
Modular vs. Non-modular Fiberboard Systems
Fiberboard closet systems are either modular
With modular systems,
the components can be arranged in a variety of configurations, as the modules do not share vertical dividers with other components. Modular systems use more material, but offer more flexibility-including the ability to take the system with you when you move.
In non-modular systems,
all of the pieces fit together like a puzzle. With a lot of sawing and drilling, you might
be able to reconfigure a non-modular closet system, but it wouldn't be easy. Non-modular systems make somewhat better use of the closet space available to you, but they are considered permanent.
Fiberboard closet systems with back panels hide hardware. They are typically installed by professionals and are more costly than rail and standard systems. Photo: California Closets
Some fiberboard systems also come with a back panel
. With low- and mid-priced systems, you see the wall behind the components. High-end fiberboard closet systems come with a heavy back panel that's finished just like the vertical dividers, shelves, and other components. Most high-end systems with back panels are better to have professionally installed. Some American companies that offer these systems are California Closets
So, which closet organization system do you think is right for you? And have you installed your own shelving with success or difficulty? Discuss here!
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