Subscriber Discussion

Is This An Acceptable Way To Mount A Rack?

Just wondering what your thoughts are, then I can share what happened.

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Not unless your mounting to the studs or block wall.  I hope no one got hurt with that install.

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Nobody was hurt, except for possibly me and my wallet.

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Your tech could have had serious injuries and this would be a different conversation.  I would have your customer send the bill to the company that installed it along with your pictures.

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No.

Wall anchors alone are not acceptable for mounting any kind of heavy loads like that. Particularly when you have hinges or parts that move and can change load distributions.

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Why would someone mark it as unhelpful?

 

I am simply showing a picture of a rack that obviously fell. Before I explain what happened I just would like some opinions so that nobody feels biased to agree or disagree with me.

 

Messing up my free IPVM...

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Why would someone mark it as unhelpful?

I did by accident, but I took it back right away.  

Random drops of capacitance spuriously forming can cause havoc while using an iPad in the shower :)

 

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Is This An Acceptable Way To Mount A Rack?

only on the ISS

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So we have 3 no's and I agree.

 

I do not know the exact details but here is the jist. We are on a project with existing equipment, and adding to it. The original rack and system was not installed by us. The guys supposedly leaned on it, it fell, hit a water pipe which broke, and flooded the area. It took them a while to find a maint guy to shut the water off. Luckily the room had exterior doors, and they were able to push the water out. The room is also being gutted and rehabbed so bare concrete, and the pipe that burst was going to be rerouted anyway, so they just expedited the process.. Then a company had to bring in dehumidifiers.

 

All in all it was only a 3 hour ordeal so I do not think it will cost much.

Ultimately my guys caused the rack to fall but I am not sure we should be responsible for cleanup etc as they were not negligent. 

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I would argue that rack was destined to fall at some point. Your guys may have slightly hastened the process, but they did not put any strain/stress on it that would be unreasonable for a properly secured wall rack.

Heavy wall or ceiling mounted stuff should generally be mounted and secured so that it can support a load well beyond anticipated use cases. They might claim those wall anchors were rated for 50lbs each, and they never intended that rack to hold more than a 6lb switch, but that does not make that a proper mounting (IMO).

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Sort it with the client.. add it later in future business ;)

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Better than plastic anchors but absolutely not acceptable.

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We specify that a 3/4" plywood backboard be installed behind any wall-mounted rack or panel. On a drywall wall, the plywood would be mounted to the studs within the wall using screws, and then the rack or panel would be screwed to the plywood. On a concrete or masonry wall, the plywood would be mounted directly to the wall surface.

Racks can get heavy, especially when you start installing UPS units in them. In the past, I have been guilty of specifying wall-mounted racks that were not rated to handle the total weight of the equipment that I was putting inside of them. I always made sure I had enough RUs of height, but never gave a thought to the weight. I always double-check this now. 

Even highly-paid consultants are not perfect :)

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I think it is unreasonable for the client to pin that on you. Even if your guys were standing on top of it, it was never secured properly. I won't even hang a bathroom mirror without hitting a stud, let alone an equipment cabinet.

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That sucks, I'd say probably should have mounted a sheet of plywood to the wall then mount the rack to the plywood.   

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Depends on who is installing

Classified , in house , or outside contractors

I have to complete with in safety spec's , others can do what ever they want

Always backing , always lag screws to support 400% of expected load

since you never know what is going in that little rack

some AV , Amps, High Tech Equip is quite heavy , then when you add the Tech who thinks its another step to the ceiling , well that's the ( why )to the question

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The studs are metal, so that isn't much better. I think the only solution is to open the wall entirely and build a wood frame inside the metal studs of some sort, or use a floor rack.

 

They have a GC over the rehab and I can let them figure it out.

 

 

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Those very same toggle bolts in a steel stud would have a 10X higher load capacity. I know that's still not the greatest but probably just fine for most network racks. If there are amplifiers and battery backup units in there then you will still have a problem.

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The rack in question was an AV rack with audio equipment. Not sure if it had an amp, but very likely it did.

 

 

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You can install a plywood backing to the metal studs and you will get the support you need as the load would then be distributed across the wall. I have seem some that only use drywall screws to fasten the plywood and hold but I prefer to get some toggle bolts as well to get a good strong hold. Then you can mount the rack with the appropriate fasteners.

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How high off the ground was it and how much does it weigh?

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To be fair to the anchors, they’re still mounted to the wall ;)

 

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No, toggle bolts in sheet rock are not going to match the load rating of the rack. I think its fair to say that the mounting hardware should be rated to hold what the rack is rated for.

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I don't even think its the hardware. The weak point is the drywall.

 

We always lag bolt racks to wooden studs.

 

One project we specified an 18U floor rack and the customer did not want it on the floor, and the walls were metal studs. So the GC installed plywood etc and we used a 12U rack instead and had the customer sign off we were not responsible.

 

 

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Right, the toggle bolts clearly didn't fail, the drywall did. I guess what i meant is the whole install should be rated to match the load rating of the rack. Toggle bolts in drywall generally imply a low load rating which is fine for a mirror cabinet in a bathroom that is holding some toothpaste....

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www.google.com ->   Seismic Engineering

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My wife uses push pins to mount nearly anything to our walls so what do I know? Maybe she could get a job with you them?

An example - like the Sword of Damocles hanging over the entrance to our Master Bath.

Sword of Damocles

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You do realize we did NOT mount this rack? It fell while my guys were working near it.

 

 

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Even better. Edited original reply.

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My wife uses push pins to mount nearly anything to our walls so what do I know?

Who is the AHJ of your house? ;)

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The bank?

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My wife uses push pins to mount...the Sword of Damocles.

It should be ok; it’s well known that the pin is mightier than the sword.

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This is the first time 'Sword of Damocles' has appeared on IPVM, and it was used properly.  +1.

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This is the first time 'Sword of Damocles' has appeared on IPVM...

Actually it’s the third time...:)

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I stand corrected!

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I always use a support block of wood if I am not able to reach studs.

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Can't you glue it back in with some chewing gum or Sellotape? Seems appropriate considering the original mounting method 

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Is there even money left on the job for chewing gum or Sellotape? 

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Ha ha. I would even condone mounting a PTZ camera with plasterboard fixings, no way a rack!

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Unacceptable! If mounting to a standard drywall surface you will need to use 1/2" plywood mounted to the wall first with screws/toggles directly into the studs. Then you can mount the cabinet to the surface of the plywood with the appropriate sized screws and fender washers. If mounting to a concrete block wall I would still mount the plywood first or metal u channel with 1/4-20 drop in anchors and then mount the cabinet to that.

Yikes! I hope nobody was near this when it came crashing down!

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I guess you have your answer from the other guys in the industry, so hopefully your customer can see that really no one else would think their original installer did their homework.

I agree with everyone on here saying to use a toggle bolt through the studs to hang plywood. I am constantly told I go a little overboard on these things, but I recently hung a small 12U rack by installing a 4x4 sheet of 3/4" plywood to the metal studs. I made a 16" grid with 1/2" toggles. Then I hung the rack to the plywood and also used toggles to go through the plywood and studs.

I don't really know what it will hold, but i imagine that whole wall will come folding in before the rack just falls off. 

Like a few other people pointed out already, you never know what someone is going to come behind you and do, so you always want to make sure you are over engineered on your portion so you don't get blamed if someone decides your rack needs to also house a few extra UPS and it comes toppling down.

Best of luck!

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  I feel that plenty of self drilling/tapping screws in metal studs along with some toggles in the sheetrock at regular intervals always does the job of mounting backer plywood. (Big holes in studs for toggles are a pain in my opinion.) Then as others have said, use lag or #12 or larger screws to mount heavy equip to plywood. Better to over do it a bit then someone/ something hurt or damaged.

 

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Use 3/4 inch plywood that can anchor to studs, who knows what will be put in a rack in the future.

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The follow up is they never said another word about it. I guess they agree it was a bad install

 

During our last walk through a few days ago,  they mentioned they wanted 3 TVs hung from the ceiling, in the same area the rack fell. The rack was in a closet, the TV's are going in the fitness center.

 

Me: Uh aren't the the ceilings framed with metal studs? They are going to need some backing to hold a 55" TV:

GC: Would you like us to....

Me: (before the GC finished his sentence) Absolutely, you mount the wood and we will mount the TV's to the wood.

 

Every time I show up for a weekly project meeting, there are more change orders, but they are all small, change a door, add a TV, etc.Very time consuming and not worth the headache. But that is a different topic

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Uh aren't the the ceilings framed with metal studs? They are going to need some backing to hold a 55" TV...

give the guy another chance already, what’s the worst that could happen?

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In this specific case, I would have the GC add in some wood backing behind the sheetrock to mount the rack to. I wouldn’t trust steel studs for much more than holding sheetrock in place. 

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