Perfboard Offers a Hole Lot of Answers to Storage Hang-Ups
Perfboard can solve a variety of storage problems. The name is short for perforated hardboard, and is often called Peg-Board, a common brand name. By whatever name it’s known, perfboard is still one of the easiest, fastest and cheapest ways to create storage for relatively flat items that you can hang.
Where to Use
Brownish, unpainted perfboard is a good buy for workshop and garage walls. Elsewhere, pre-painted perfboard is available in white and many colors. Its wipe-clean factory finish is very durable.
If you need a custom color, paint smooth, unfinished perfboard with a urethane enamel for a hard finish. Use a roller to apply the paint and take care not to clog the holes by overloading the roller with paint.
Don’t limit your use of perfboard to walls. Mount it on the inside of cabinet doors and on the sides of workbenches and cabinets. Put perfboard on the back of an open bookcase and you’ll have a dual-purpose room divider with shelves on one side and hooks on the other.
Size and Type
For hanging hand tools, kitchen utensils and other lightweight objects, ordinary one-eighth-inch thick perfboard is fine. For heavy loads, get sturdier, one-fourth-inch perfboard. Tempered perfboard, though more costly, is stronger and holds up under heavier loads.
In addition to a wide selection of standard hooks, clips and hangers, a variety of small shelves and containers, designed to attach to perfboard, allow you to customize your storage system.
When selecting such hardware, make sure that they’ll fit your perfboard. Some can be used only on a one-eighth-inch board and others only on one-fourth-inch panels. Some will fit both.
Perfboard panels, available at home centers and lumberyards, come in various dimensions, up to 4 feet by 8 feet for covering wall areas. If you need a special size, look for a dealer who will cut a panel to the measurements you want.
If you cut perfboard yourself, prevent fraying and damage to the finish by clamping the panel between two boards along the cut line. Then use a fine-tooth 12- or 15-point crosscut saw. Make sure the springy panel is supported evenly from below.
Perfboard panels are easy to install. In garages and other areas with unfinished walls, screw the panels directly to the exposed studs. To keep a screw from pulling through a perfboard hole, put a flat metal washer under the head of the screw. Or drill pilot holes and drive screws through the flat surface of the perfboard instead of putting them through the holes.
To install perfboard on wallboard, use drywall screws to attach the panel to studs and plastic anchors to attach it between studs. Use three-eighths-inch rubber or plastic spacers on the screws to hold the panel away from the wall, allowing clearance for the hooks and other hardware. The spacers are usually included in perfboard kits.
First use a stud finder (available at hardware stores) to find the wall studs, usually 16 inches apart. Position the panel as desired and mark the wall at the studs along the top and bottom edges.
Also mark through the panel holes at the corners and at 12-inch intervals along the vertical edges. To hold the panel loosely in place, drive a two-inch drywall screw through the panel and spacer into a stud near the center of the panel’s top edge.
Next, mount the panel at the corners and along the vertical edges using plastic wall anchors. Drill an anchor hole at each point and tap in the anchor.
With anchors in place, drive screws through the perfboard holes and spacers into the anchors.
(If a corner or vertical edge is over a stud, secure it directly to the stud with drywall screws.)
Finally, attach the panel along the top and bottom edges by driving drywall screws through the panel and spacers into the studs.
If a panel is large, attach it in the middle before you attach the sides and top. If you can’t reach under the panel to position the spacers, glue them to the anchor, using a piece of tape to hold them in place until the glue dries.
For heavier loads, install perfboard with hollow-wall anchors instead of plastic anchors. A hollow-wall anchor has its own bolt. Drill the correct-size hole through the wallboard at each interval and tap in an anchor. Screw down the bolt until the anchor is fastened to the wall. Remove the bolt. Pass it through a washer, the perfboard hole and spacer, and screw it back into the anchor.