When it comes to organizing items in a storage shed, one of the decisions to make is what type of shelving units to use. Plastic shelving units are a popular option due to their affordability and durability, but are they actually good for storage sheds?
In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of plastic shelving units for storage sheds and provide insights on when they might be the right choice for your storage needs.
Pros and Cons of Plastic Shelving Units
Lightweight… Lightweight and easy to move around, making them ideal for people who frequently rearrange their furniture or need to move their shelving units from one place to another.
Durable…Durable and long-lasting, resistant to corrosion and rust, and do not require maintenance.
Affordable… Relatively inexpensive compared to other types of shelving, making them an attractive option for people on a tight budget.
Water-resistant…Water-resistant and can withstand exposure to moisture without being damaged.
Easy to Assemble…Easy to assemble and disassemble, and they do not require any special tools or skills to put together.
Lower Weight Capacity…Lower weight capacity than metal or wooden shelving units, which makes them unsuitable for storing heavy items.
Limited Style Options… Not a lot of range of styles and colors, which may not fit with some people’s decor preferences.
Susceptible to Warping… May warp over time due to changes in temperature, which can cause them to become unstable and potentially dangerous.
Prone to Discoloration…May discolor over time due to exposure to UV light, which can make them look unattractive.
Environmental Impact… Most are made of non-biodegradable materials and contribute to plastic pollution if not disposed of properly. If your concerned about how much weight a plastic shelving can hold, check out my article Are Plastic Shelving Units Strong Enough for a Shed?
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How Do Plastic Shelving Units Do in Freezing Weather?
Plastic shelving units can become brittle and crack in freezing weather. The exact behavior of a plastic shelving unit in freezing temperatures will depend on several factors, including the specific type of plastic used in the unit and the duration of exposure to cold temperatures.
Some plastics, such as polypropylene, are more resistant to cold temperatures than others. However, even these plastics can become brittle and susceptible to cracking in prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures.
If you plan to use plastic shelving units in freezing weather, it’s important to choose a unit made from a plastic that is known to be resistant to cold temperatures. Additionally, you should avoid placing heavy items on the shelving units or subjecting them to any stress or strain, as this can increase the risk of cracking or breaking.
It’s also a good idea to store the units indoors or in a temperature-controlled environment whenever possible.
6 Types of Plastic Shelving Units
Freestanding Plastic Shelving… These are the most common type of plastic shelving units that are designed to stand on their own and don’t require any wall support. They are available in different sizes and can be used for various purposes.
Stackable Plastic Shelving… These are modular plastic shelving units that can be stacked on top of each other to create a multi-tiered storage solution. They are ideal for use in small spaces and can be easily disassembled and stored when not in use.
Cube Plastic Shelving… These are cube-shaped plastic shelving units that can be arranged in different configurations to create unique storage solutions. They are ideal for use in kids’ rooms, offices, and other spaces where organization is important.
Wall-mounted Units… These units can be easily mounted on the wall. They are ideal for use in small spaces and can be used to store a variety of items.
Corner Units… Corner units are designed to fit in the corner of a room. They are ideal for use in small spaces and can be used to store a variety of items.
Rolling Plastic Shelving… These come with wheels or casters. They are ideal for use in garages, workshops, and other spaces where mobility is important.
Plastic Shelves vs Metal Shelves
Plastic shelves and metal shelves have different characteristics that make them suitable for different purposes. Here are some general differences between plastic shelves and metal shelves:
Durability… Metal shelves are generally more durable and long-lasting than plastic shelves. They are less likely to crack or break under heavy loads and can withstand more wear and tear over time.
Weight Capacity… Metal shelves are typically able to hold more weight than plastic shelves. This is because metal is a stronger material than plastic.
Appearance… Metal shelves often have a sleek, industrial look that is popular in many modern settings. Plastic shelves, on the other hand, can have a more casual or utilitarian appearance.
Cost… Plastic shelves are usually less expensive than metal shelves, which can make them a good choice for those on a budget.
Maintenance… Plastic shelves are easy to clean and maintain, while metal shelves may require occasional polishing or oiling to prevent rust.
Ultimately, the choice between plastic and metal shelves will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you need a shelf that can support heavy loads and will last a long time, metal shelves may be the better choice. If you are looking for an affordable, easy-to-maintain option, plastic shelves may be the way to go. Check out my article Freestanding Shelving Units vs Wall Mounted Shelving Units for Storage for more information on if you should mount your unit or not.
Plastic Shelves vs Wood Shelves
Plastic shelves and wood shelves both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two largely depends on the intended use and personal preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
Durability…Plastic shelves are generally more durable and resistant to moisture and environmental factors than wood shelves. They are also easier to clean and maintain, as they do not require any special treatment or sealing. Wood shelves, on the other hand, may be more prone to warping, cracking, and rotting over time, especially if exposed to moisture.
Aesthetics… Wood shelves have a natural beauty and warmth that many people find appealing. They can also be stained or painted to match a particular decor or color scheme. Plastic shelves, while they come in a variety of colors and designs, may not have the same aesthetic appeal as wood shelves.
Strength… Depending on the type and thickness of the wood, wooden shelves can be stronger than plastic shelves, especially if they are made from solid wood rather than particleboard or MDF. However, plastic shelves are typically lighter and easier to move around. Check out my article Messy to Organized – Installing Plywood Shelves in Your Shed for more tips on shelving for your shed.
Cost… Plastic shelves are generally less expensive than wood shelves, especially if you are looking for something basic and utilitarian. However, if you are looking for high-end or custom-made shelves, wood may be more expensive.
Environmental Impact… Wood shelves, if sourced from sustainably managed forests, can be a more environmentally friendly choice than plastic shelves, which are made from non-renewable resources and may contribute to plastic waste.
In summary, the choice between plastic and wood shelves depends on your priorities and needs. If durability, ease of maintenance, and affordability are key factors, plastic shelves may be the better option. If aesthetics, strength, and sustainability are more important, wood shelves may be the way to go. Get more information on wood shelves in my article What Are the Best Plywood Shelves for a Shed?
Freestanding Shelves vs Rolling Shelves vs Mounted Shelves
Freestanding shelves, rolling shelves, and mounted shelves all serve the purpose of providing storage and organization solutions. However, each type of shelf has its own unique features and advantages.
Freestanding shelves are independent units that can be placed anywhere in a room without the need for installation or mounting. They are versatile and easy to move around, making them a great option for those who frequently rearrange their space or for those who rent their home and cannot make permanent changes.
Freestanding shelves can come in a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic, and can be purchased in a range of sizes and styles to fit any room decor.
Rolling shelves, also known as mobile shelving or shelving on wheels, are shelves that have wheels attached to the bottom. They are designed to be easily moved from one location to another, making them ideal for spaces that require frequent reconfiguration.
Rolling shelves are often used in commercial settings, such as libraries or offices, but they can also be used in homes where space is limited and flexibility is important.
Mounted shelves, also known as wall-mounted shelves, are shelves that are attached directly to a wall using brackets or other mounting hardware. They are a great option for maximizing vertical space in a room and can be used to display decorative items, books, or other items that need to be easily accessible.
Mounted shelves are also ideal for small spaces since they do not take up any floor space. However, they require installation, which can be more difficult than simply placing freestanding shelves.
In summary, the type of shelf that is best for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. Freestanding shelves are versatile and easy to move, rolling shelves offer flexibility and mobility, while mounted shelves maximize vertical space and are great for small spaces.
Plastic Shelves vs Metal Shelves vs Wood Shelves
Plastic shelves, metal shelves, and wood shelves are all popular options for providing storage and organization solutions. Each type of shelf has its own unique features and advantages, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the user.
Plastic shelves are lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. They are often made from polypropylene or similar materials and are typically more affordable than other options. Plastic shelves are ideal for use in areas with high humidity or moisture, such as garages, basements, or laundry rooms. They are also easy to assemble and can be quickly reconfigured or taken apart for storage.
Metal shelves are strong, durable, and long-lasting. They are typically made from steel or aluminum and are available in a range of finishes, such as chrome, stainless steel, or powder-coated colors.
Metal shelves are ideal for heavy-duty applications, such as industrial or commercial settings, but they can also be used in homes for storing heavy items like tools, equipment, or appliances. Metal shelves can be more expensive than plastic or wood shelves but offer superior strength and durability.
Wood shelves are versatile and attractive, adding a warm and natural feel to a space. They are available in a range of wood types, including pine, oak, or bamboo, and can be stained or painted to match any decor.
Wood shelves are ideal for use in bedrooms, living rooms, or home offices, where aesthetics are important. They can be more expensive than plastic or metal shelves, but they offer a timeless and classic look that can last for many years. If you need to save money check out my article 6 Shed Shelving Ideas for Beginners. Also you may find this article Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy Storage Shed Shelving? a great resource.
In summary, the type of shelf that is best for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. Plastic shelves are lightweight and affordable, metal shelves are strong and durable, and wood shelves offer a natural and classic look.
Consider the intended use, the weight of the items to be stored, the style of the room, and the budget when choosing the type of shelves that will work best for you.