Closet tubing: what you can expect to find

Profiles and sizes

Closet tubing comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, and colors. The most common shapes, or profiles, are round and oval. Round closet rod is sold in 1-1/16 inch diameter tube and 1-5/16 diameter tube. It can be purchased in steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.

Round closet rod generally carries more weight due to the shape of the tube and usually has a thicker wall. While either size is suitable for a closet, for maximum weight bearing capacity use 1-5/16 diameter rod.

Oval tube isn't truly oval in shape but more of an oblong rounded shape with two flat sides. It normally measures 15 x 30 mm or approximately 1-1/8 x 1-1/4 inches. Oval tube is manufactured in steel or aluminum.

Materials

Metal closet rod is available in Steel, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum. Steel is typically sold with a Polished Chrome finish; this is the most common closet rod material and finish. Its advantages are strength and durability at a lower price. Stainless Steel is typically sold with a satin or brushed finish. It offers the strength and durability of steel with the added advantage of rust and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is ideal for humid and sea-side applications.

Aluminum is sold in a variety of anodized finishes. Anodizing is a process in which electricity is used to p roduce a hard and durable surface. Aluminum tubing is much lighter in weight but with a similar load bearing capacity to steel.

Evaluate your needs

Length - The first thing you should consider for your installation is the length of the closet rod. The length should be determined by measuring the wall to wall distance. Dry wall often has very slight waves or undulations in it so that the distance between walls may differ from one spot to another. For this reason it's important that you take your wall to wall measurement at the exact spot where the closet rod will be installed. Usually the closet rod is mounted at least 12 inches from the back wall. Having someone help you measure will make the job much easier and give you better results. If you need a closet rod over 8 feet long some profiles and finishes are available in extended lengths up to 12 feet.

Weight bearing needs - Next, decide what kind of clothing will be stored on your closet rod. While a mix of garments is expected in a normal closet, an Arizona wardrobe will be much different from a Minnesota wardrobe. Cold weather clothing will weigh a lot more and that should be taken into consideration. A closet rod in a coat closet will need to support a lot of heavy items while a closet rod in a nursery closet will not need to support much weight at all. Keep in mind that the longer the closet rod the more likely it is to sag when loaded with clothing. Center supports and shelf/rod brackets will keep the closet rod straight. As a general rule, closet rods under 5 feet don't require center support. For longer spans consider using center supports every 3 or 4 feet.

Finish - After the practical needs of your closet are determined you can concentrate on aesthetics. Profile shape, color, and finish should fit the d├ęcor of the closets and surrounding room. With so many choices available you should have no problem finding something to suit your taste.

Mounting Flanges

Mounting flanges are the supports that attach to the wall and hold your closet rod up. Each type of rod will have mounting flanges made specifically for it but there are common types of flanges used for all tubing. Open flanges are made with the top portion open like a "U" so the closet rod can be easily lifted out. Closed flanges completely encircle the end of the mounted closet rod and do not allow removal without unscrewing the flange from the wall. 32mm pinned flanges are made to work with 32mm systems or European closet systems. These are closet systems that have pre-drilled holes spaced at 32 millimeters running up and down the closet side panels. While 32mm flanges can also be screwed in place, this isn't necessary and foregoing screws allows adjustment of the closet rod up or down if you wish. 32mm flanges are available for round and oval tubing in open and closed variations.

Accounting for mounting flange space

Since the mounting flange may have a back-plate, the flange you use will determine the cut length of the rod. For instance, if the wall to wall measurement is 60 inches and you are using two open flanges you'll need to subtract ¼ inch from the total length of the rod. Each open flange has a 1/8 inch back plate. 1/8 + 1/8 = ¼ inch of space that will occupy the total length of 60 inches. Some closed flanges have an opening all the way through so that your closet rod will actually touch the wall. In this instance the rod itself could actually be 60 inches long. Be sure to find out what space your mounting flanges will take up and factor that into the total length of the application. Each flange has a cuff, the part that encloses and supports the end of the tube. The cuff will be between ½ inch and 1 inch deep. Keeping in mind the cuff depth you may want to cut the closet rod just slightly shorter to give yourself some "wiggle room".

Cutting closet tubing

While it is possible to cut closet tubing yourself it's usually worth it to pay a cutting charge if that service is provided by your supplier. If you do decide to cut it yourself use a saw blade made for cutting metal. Be sure to use your saw as directed by the manufacturer to prevent accidents!

Installation

Once you have everything measured and cut you may proceed with installation. This step will be easier with some assistance so get a friend to help. You've already made sure that your tubing is adequate for your closet, now you need to make sure that it's firmly and securely mounted in place. The mounting flanges are far more likely to tear loose from the wall than your closet rod is to bend so it's critical that this step is done correctly! If the closet rod is to be attached to dry-wall be sure that it is located so the screws go through the dry-wall and into a wall stud. Dry-wall alone is not sufficient as a mounting surface. If you're unable to screw into a stud, plan on using a wood mounting board on top of the wall. This should be firmly attached to the wall studs and will provide a suitable point of attachment for your mounting flanges. If you do use a mounting board remember to subtract its thickness from your wall to wall measurement when determining your closet rod length. Depending on the type of flange you're using, it may be screwed in place before the rod is set or it may need to be slid onto the rod prior to screwing in place.

Using Your closet

Once everything is in place you can start filling your closets. While metal tubing has a very durable finish it can scratch if used roughly. It's always a good idea to use quality hangers to protect your clothes and your closet rod. Plastic hangers will ensure that the finished surface remains scratch free. Wood and metal hangers are fine just as long as the hook has a smooth finished end. Wire dry cleaning hangers have sharp ends and should be avoided.

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