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How to Remove Wire Shelving

Cassandra Tribe

Removing wire shelving can seem like an easy enough task, but if you are not careful, you could cause extensive damage to the drywall, and your redecorating project will now become a repair job. With just a few simple tools and some quick tips, you can remove wire shelving without causing damage to the wall.

Remove Wire Shelving
  1. Look at the edges of the wire shelving where it connects to the shelf brackets that support it. It will be attached in one of three ways: by tension, with a clip or with a screw clip. If you have tension shelves, grab the outside edges of the shelf and pull the edges out slightly to release the tension off the brackets and remove the wire shelf. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry any clips up and off the wire shelf and the brackets and then remove the shelf. If the your wire shelf is attached to the brackets with a screw clip, use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screw, pry the clip off with a flat head screw driver and then remove the shelf.

  2. Examine the wire shelf brackets where they meet the wall. If your walls were painted or plastered after the shelf was fixed, chances are your brackets are also "glued" to the wall from being covered with paint as well as attached with screws. With a razor blade, cut around the shelf bracket keeping the sharp edge of the blade almost underneath the metal of the shelf bracket and trace the edge of the bracket.

  3. Remove the top screw holding the bracket to the drywall using a Phillips head screwdriver to turn the screw counter-clockwise until it comes free. Repeat this with the bottom screw, but make sure you are supporting the bracket with one hand. When the second screw comes free, remove the bracket from the wall.

  4. Using a flat head screw driver, pry the plastic lag insert from inside the drywall. This is the insert that was put into the wall to receive the supporting screw. Be careful not to dig or damage the drywall too much when prying. If your wire shelf was attached to a wall stud, there will be no plastic lag.

  5. Pack the hole with wood putty if your screws were set in a wall stud. If your wire shelf system used plastic lags in the wall, brush any plaster dust away from the hole and use your drywall repair kit to cover the hole. Follow the instructions on the package to cut the mesh and place it over the hole, smooth on the repair plaster and then sand it flush once it is dry.


If you are installing shelves in the same area, hold the new brackets up to see if the screw holes align with the old ones before removing the plastic lags. You can reuse these if they are a match.


Make sure you cut through any paint that may cover the bracket and "glue" it to the wall. If you do not, when you remove your wire shelf bracket, the paint will peel away and leave a large section of the wall to be repaired.