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How to disassemble metal shelving

In a previous article, we looked at how to assemble metal shelving. The good news is, in the case of our Rax steel shelving units at least, it’s a gloriously simple process. Better still, if you ever need to reconfigure your shelves (perhaps to accommodate a particularly tall object), or you need to take the unit down altogether, disassembly is every bit as easy

Below is a simple step by step guide that shows you how to disassemble steel shelving quickly, efficiently and safely. It’s written with our Rax shelving units in mind, but the general principles can be applied to pretty much any metal shelving system...

Safety first
Before you start to take the shelving unit apart, put on some work gloves (or gardening gloves, even) to protect your hands against any harsh edges. Clear the shelves entirely, and put your belongings somewhere safe while you carry out the work.

With a Rax steel shelving unit, the melamine shelves or chipboard shelves can now simply be lifted out by hand – but this is the only step you should undertake with the unit still standing. Once the boards have been removed, carefully lay the frame on the floor and continue the process from there. This prevents any components being damaged during disassembly – and more to the point it means you can’t be hit by any falling beams.

Dismantling the frame

Dismantling the metal frame is a simple case of reversing the assembly process. Remember using a rubber mallet to tap the fixing lugs into place? You’ll need that mallet again. This time, you’ll be giving each horizontal beam a short sharp tap from underneath, to pop the fixing lugs out of their sockets. With the connections loose, you’ll be able to remove each piece by hand, leaving you with just the four upright posts. If you’re looking to fully disassemble your steel shelving unit and store it away in its most compact fashion, nest the uprights and crossbeams together and secure with tape.

Other metal shelving units
Not all metal shelves are designed for such simple disassembly, so if your unit isn’t one of our boltless Rax models, you may find yourself confronted with brackets and screws that need removing.

The same basic approach applies though – take the shelves out first, lay the frame down, and then set about removing the pegs or brackets fixed to the inside walls. These can also usually be pulled out by hand, but if a peg is stuck, you can always use a pair of pliers to pull it out. The screws will usually be holding the main frame together at the base and at the top, and fixing the rear board (if there is one) in place. Detach the top piece first, then the backboard, then finally unscrew the base from the two side poles.

To avoid all that hassle, opt for a boltless steel shelving unit. Our expert consultants will help you find the ideal model for your needs. Give us a call on 0845 194 7370 or email