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Buying Q&A: Custom Shelving?

Q.

The Nest Q&A

What does custom shelving cost?

A.

“The best custom shelving for books is made from real wood, which is solid and strong, but will cost more and add to the value of your house,” says custom woodworker Marius Tudor, owner of Modern Marvels in Atlanta, Georgia. The alternative is materials like the now oft-used MDF (medium-density fibreboard), which is basically a synthetic wood material made from tiny chips of wood hot glued together, to create a heavier and more dense product than particle board. When choosing the material, woodworkers will divide them into the more expensive “stain grade” (the best quality and appearance) and “paint grade” (which can be lower quality since you’ll be covering it up). The cost of custom shelving varies, but is priced by the linear foot, which is presumed to be about three feet high. Tudor says, “even a paint-grade MDF will cost $95 to $200 per linear foot.” He estimates, for example, that a 12-foot-long library wall with just shelves and a four-foot doorway starts at about $2,500 for paint-grade material and goes up from there for higher end materials and details. If you prefer the look of stained wood, Tudor says you can ask for stain-grade material in the places that show -- like trim, doors, and panels -- and use cheaper paint grade or MDF in the hidden areas. Want the look of custom shelves for a much cheaper price? Just buy standing wooden bookshelves (or have them custom made to fit a space), “and anchor them to the wall with L-shaped brackets in a hidden spot,” suggests Tudor.

-- Amy Spencer

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