This post contains affiliate links.
A slat wall is one of the most popular ways to maximize wall storage and organization. Slat walls are designed to be a wall but simultaneously customizable for storage, display, etc. However, is using slat walls a good idea? How good are slat walls for garage organization?
Slat walls are known for being very elegant. It is also an excellent solution for storage and organization. The vertical strips can hold onto platforms, shelves, hooks, and pegs. You can then place your item on them. Slat walls are, however, expensive.
In this post, we explore slat walls and their strengths and weaknesses. We also look into how you can install slat walls. Finally, we answer some common questions you may have about slat walls.
What Is A Slat Wall?
A slat wall has evenly spaced horizontal slots or grooves running along its length. These slots are then inserted with accessories to turn them into item holders. These include hooks, shelves, or other display fixtures.
A slat wall is also commonly known as a slotted wall. It consists of individual slat panels with evenly spaced horizontal slots or grooves running along its length. These slots are then slotted with accessories to turn them into item holders.
These accessories include:
- Other display features.
As a result, slat walls are popular in retail stores or temporary display booths. Although not as common, you can also see slat walls in garages or workshops.
Slat walls first began in the US in the 1960s. They were first introduced as a display solution for retailers. The idea gained a foothold in retail and became a standard system at shops, homes, and workshops.
Slat walls are made in many types, styles, and finishes. The most common type is the MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) slat wall. They are lightweight, affordable, and easily refinished to your liking.
There are also solid wood and metal slat walls. Wooden slat walls are made of strips of wood, such as oak, maple, or cedar. Metal slats are usually made from anodized aluminum or steel for strength. The shine also gives the slat walls a premium look.
Today, slat walls are used primarily in retail stores. However, more homes, garages, and workshops are also using them. Slat walls should remain a popular option for blank wall organization for a long time to come.
Why Are Slat Walls So Popular?
Slat walls are popular because of their versatility and great visual appeal. It is also rather easy to install and helps to organize wall space very well. If you use the right type of slat walls, they can last a long time too.
Slat walls are popular because they are beautiful compared to other wall organizers. However, there are other reasons, too, including:
Easy Installation And Maintenance
Slat walls are quite easy to install. This is especially so if you are competent in Do-It-Yourself (DIY) work. Most slat wall panels are lightweight and can be lifted by anyone.
The mounting process is also quite simple. You can usually do the job using common home tools, such as a hand drill, a level ruler, etc. As a result, if you plan to put up a regular slat wall in your garage, it probably will not take you a full day.
Aside from the easy installation, slat walls are also easy to maintain. The slats are hidden underneath, making them less likely to catch too much dust. On top of that, you can always remove, clean, and replace the slats as you see fit.
Excellent Space Organizers
Slat walls are popular because they are excellent space organizers. Instead of having to get cabinets or racks, you can use the vertical wall space to maximize your space.
For garages, you can easily arrange your tools and gadgets, making them super easy to reach. Retailers also love slat walls because they can arrange as many items on the wall as possible.
This feature is very useful, especially if you have a small garage. Racks and cabinets take up precious space and may be unable to hold on to things and slat walls. Every inch counts in small spaces, and slat walls help you maximize that.
Slat walls are incredibly versatile. This is because the horizontal slats on the panels allow you to attach any accessories you see fit. These accessories include hooks, pegs, shelves, brackets, and even cabinets.
This allows you to arrange and display items on the slat walls in as many configurations as you wish. The slats are also uniform, meaning any accessories on one slat will fit the others.
You can also perform these adjustments very quickly. Simply lift the accessories at an angle, and remove them from the slats. Insert the accessories into another slat; they are good to go again. No screws, levers, or tabs are required.
Durable And Long-Lasting
Slat walls, provided they are made from suitable materials, are durable and hardy. They are designed to be able to handle frequent use and resets. Slat wall panels with the right finishing are also resistant to scratches and fading.
This ensures your slat walls will continue to look pristine after years of hard, heavy use. There are also slat walls made of metal panels, which are tough and elegant. You can polish these metal plates and make them shine for a luxurious look.
Thanks to their interlocking panels, many slat walls can also handle a lot of weight. The interlocking panels distribute weight, helping the panels to handle heavy loads.
Elegant And Good Looking
Finally, slat walls look the best of all the other popular wall storage solutions. Slat walls as the most good-looking wall organizers of the bunch.
This is because the slat wall panels are closely placed together. This gives slat walls a clean and minimal look. The slats are also small and are less visible to the eye. A French cleat wall would have a wide, gaping gap.
Slat walls are also offered in all sorts of materials, configurations, and finishings. This is because slat walls are primarily designed for retail settings,
You can request your slat wall panels to be finished in many types of colors, textures, and patterns. There are plenty of options for materials too. This further makes slat walls aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
What To Look For When Shopping For Slat Walls?
When choosing slat wall systems, ensure the metal inserts and accessories are compatible. Make sure the panels are made using the right material, and have the desired appearance. Finally, ensure that the installation process suits your garage wall.
Slat walls can be customized in many different ways. The materials, finishings, patterns, and textures are a start. Then there are accessories, installation processes, trims, etc.
This means that shopping for slat wall systems is not a straightforward process. When picking out a slat wall system for your garage, check out the factors below:
Slat walls could be made from a wide variety of materials. They can range from vinyl, wood, and aluminum. The more popular options include:
Plastic-based slat walls could be made from vinyl, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), or others. These slat walls generally are not meant for heavy use and may not have the load ratings of wood or metal slat walls.
Wood-Based Materials: Regular slat walls may be made from MDF boards, plywood, or solid wood. MDF boards may be the cheapest. The solid wood used to make slat walls include pine, oak, cedar, or mahogany.
Solid wood slat walls may be more appreciated for their aesthetic beauty. You may see them more in retail stores.
Metal-Based Materials: Most metal slat walls are made of steel of various hardness. Some lightweight metal panels may use aluminum instead. Metal slat wall panels usually perform the best, especially in durability. They also handle more weight.
Slat walls can have all sorts of appearances. This is because slat walls can be finished in color, texture, and finishing.
For finishing and color, it may help if you clearly know what you want. This is because you may be overwhelmed by the options available.
For most cases, choose one that complements the wall of your garage. Neutral colors such as gray are also good, as scratches are less visible on them.
You can also customize the pattern or texture on your slat wall panels. Unless you are setting up slat wall panels in your home, you would probably not need to worry about this part. Garage slat walls are more utilitarian anyway, so simple designs should work.
Metal Inserts And Accessories
Almost all slat wall systems come with metal inserts and accessories. When shopping for a slat wall system, pay close attention to them.
Some slat wall makers do not make their accessories compatible with others. The idea is to force you to return and purchase their official inserts and accessories.
Here, you have two choices. First, you can look for makers who produce generic slat walls. If you can also look for a slat wall system, but with a wide array of accessories, you can use it. You should be fine if your system has all the inserts you need for your slat wall.
You can always create inserts if you are comfortable with metal, wood, or epoxy work. However, this would be time and effort-consuming.
You usually need to start with the first panel when installing slat walls. Then you secure the second panel to the first panel and the wall. You repeat the process until all panels are put in.
However, there are some variations to the installation process. Some slat wall systems come with supporting brackets. You first need to mount these brackets to the studs of your garage wall. Some do not use brackets but frame pieces to keep all panels together.
When choosing slat wall systems, ensure they can be installed on your garage walls. You can confirm this with the salesperson or the maker before purchasing.
How To Install Slatwall?
Installing slat walls usually starts with measuring and cutting the panels into size. Then you identify the wall studs before screwing the wall panels into the studs. Then you put in the trimming and side edges before accessorizing the slat wall panels.
If you plan to install your slat wall, you can breathe easily. If you are handy with drills, you should not have an issue installing them yourself.
The process usually requires some measuring before you screw the panels to the wall. Then you can put in the trims before you accessorize it. The more detailed descriptions are as below:
Measure & Cut
You will always start with some measurements. The key is to ensure you are installing the panels in the right place. You also want to ensure the panels are straight and level.
Start about 2 feet from the ground, and draw a straight line with a ruler. Double-check the line by placing a level ruler on the ruler to ensure they are straight. This will be the beginning line of your slat wall panels later.
If you have a specific horizontal length for your slat wall, you also want to measure them out here. Ensure the slat wall panels you purchased are of the right length. If not, have the panels cut down. Smooth out the edges, too, before you proceed.
Identify The Wall Studs
Now that you have established the horizontal lines, you must make the vertical line. The vertical line’s main job is to tell you where the wall studs are. You will screw your wall panels to the wall studs for maximum hold and strength.
However, the wall studs are usually hidden behind the wall. This means you need to first locate where the studs are. Here are some ways you can do this:
Look For Light Switches or Power Outlets: Light switches or power outlets are usually screwed on directly to the wall studs.
From there, measure up every 16 inches horizontally to identify the wall stud’s location. This is because most building codes require a stud every 16 inches. However, some areas allow up to 24 inches, so you need another way to confirm this.
Tap The Wall: You can also use a hammer and lightly tap on the wall horizontally. The tapping sound will become more solid if there is a wall stud. If there is nothing but insulation and air. It will sound hollow.
Use A Stud Detector: The pros use a wall stud detector (paid link). This machine scans the wall for density. The detector lights up when it detects a dense wall, meaning behind the wall is the stud.
Once you confirm the stud location, mark it by drawing a long vertical line. Later, you will use it as a guide when screwing in your slat wall panels.
Install Wall Panels
You can now start the installation work with the lines all drawn out. You generally start by screwing in the bottom trip of the slat wall. Then you mount the first slat wall panel and screw it to the wall.
You then repeat the process until all the wall panels are screwed in. During this process, it may help to check the panels’ level using a level ruler. We recommend checking every three panels.
Some slat wall systems use a vertical holding bracket that you first screw onto the wall stud. Then you mount the slat wall panels on them before screwing the panels to the wall. If you are installing onto a cement wall, the process may be different too.
If in doubt, check the installation instructions before performing the work. This prevents you from ruining your garage walls.
Finishing And Trimming
Depending on the installation instructions. Once you have fully screwed in the panels, you can put in the edges and trim the slat wall.
These trimming and edge finishings usually come together with your wall panels. You may need to cut the trims down slightly to fit your panels’ height.
Before putting in the trimmings, inspect the work one last time. Try to see if the slat panels are screwed in properly and level. Test fitting an insert and using a level ruler should do the job here.
With everything installed, you can now start to accessorize the slat wall. Your slat wall systems should have accessories like shelves and brackets. Use them to organize your items.
When you are done, there may be unused slats on the wall. You can either leave them open or cover them up. If you leave them open, they may collect dust inside and be hard to clean.
If you prefer to cover them up, there are many vinyl strips (paid link) that you can use to fill into the slats. They are sold in rolls, making cutting them into the desired length easy. They also come in many colors.
Are All Slat Walls The Same?
Yes and no. All slat walls have horizontal slats to hold onto inserts and accessories. However, the similarity probably ends here.
Slat walls can differ in many ways, such as in material and size. They can also differ in texture, finish, and color too.
Are All Slatwall Accessories Interchangeable?
Not all the time. This is because many slat wall makers make their slats unique. This means the measurements are different from other slat wall makers. This means not all slat wall accessories can fit into each other’s walls.
This is likely done to force you to purchase the official accessories. However, if you are comfortable with metal, wood, or epoxy work, you can always make your own.
Are There Other Wall Organization Systems Aside From Slatwall?
Aside from slat walls, other popular wall organization systems include:
- Rail and track system
- French cleat wall
Slat walls may not be the cheapest solution compared to these systems. However, it is the sturdiest and, some say, beautiful looking.
Suppose you are keen to discover these wall organization systems. In this case, feel free to check out our full guide on garage wall systems.