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Slatwall FAQ

All you ever wanted to know, and probably more about slatwall.

Author: Bob Colker known by his peers as "Mister Slatwall" has been in the slatwall business since almost the beginning of slatwall.

What is slatwall?

Slatwall is a modern display material that is very popular with merchants. It is usually made from MDF (medium density fiberboard) and usually has grooves that are 3" on center. It can be made from plywood but with modern day technology there is no advantage to using plywood. Slatwall can also be manufactured from steel, plastic, foamed PVC and aluminum.

What does 3" O.C. mean and why is 3" on center the standard?

3" on center means there is 3" from the center of 1 groove to the center of the next groove. The reason that most merchants use 3" O.C. is this provides the most usable grooves and the strength is not compromised. One can also use 4", 6" or 12" O.C. but you have less grooves and therefore, less room to display your goods.

What about 2" O.C. ?

2" O.C slatwall is not recommended for use as a display material. The slawall grooves taper back. If slatwall is produced at 2" O.C., there is less than 1/2" of mdf that is holding the panel together. There is no strength with 2" slatwall. Regardless of how light your material is that you are displaying, it is probably not going to hold up and will break with very light use. Most manufacturers of slatwall will not offer any guarantee as to serviceability for 2" slatwall. Adding metal inserts to 2" slatwall does NOT increase the strength and may actually decrease the holding weight as more of the mdf is taken out and replaced with metal.

What is the weight limit of slatwall?

Slatwall without metal inserts is considered "light duty" and as such, should support 25 lbs from one point. Slatwall with metal inserts if installed properly, will support heavier loads. It is important to realize that slatwall is NOT suited to heavier items such as gallons of liquid chemicals, tires, large appliances, groceries, etc.

What happens if I overload my slatwall?

100% of the weight of the item you are displaying is against the inside of the top lip. If you overload the slatwall, you will bust out a chunk of the top lip. There is no way to repair this break and you will forever have to look at this ugly break every time you look at the slatwall.

How can I make my slatwall stronger?

The only way to make slatwall stronger is to buy it with metal inserts in the grooves.

Can I add metal inserts to my existing slatwall?

No. Slatwall that is not machined for metal inserts will not accept metal inserts.

Can I use metal inserts only in the grooves I want.

No. All or nothing.

What is the standard size of a slatwall panel?

The standard size for slatwall is 4' Tall x 8' Wide, often called 4 x 8 horizontal. It has 1/2 grooves on the top and bottom so it can be stacked. It is the cheapest configuration and provides the best "look" for the finished wall. With horizontal slatwall, there will be a vertical seam every 8'.

You can buy vertical slatwall (8' T x 4' W) at additional cost. Vertical slatwall is more expensive to buy and install and will not look as good as if you had used the correct horizontal slatwall. There will be a vertical seam every 4'.

Is there any reason to use vertical slatwall.

Yes. If you are making store fixtures and need a height of more than 48" or if you are using standards between each panel then vertical slatwall is appropriate.

What colors are available for slatwall?

Slatwall comes in paint grade (raw mdf), a variety of melamines, wood veneers, mirrorplex and high pressure laminates. You can make slatwall as expensive and as different as you choose.

What is the proper way to install slatwall?

Many people use drywall screws to install slatwall. Your screw goes in the groove, through the back of the slatwall, through the drywall and should go about 1" into the stud. If your building code allows, you can mount slatwall directly to the studs.

Where to start?

If you are doing a large area start on the bottom left. Remember, it is important to make the first panel plumb and level. Everything else fits to the first panel. Most people will install slatwall " wall to wall" and butt directly into the wall.

How many screws to install slatwall?

Minimum of every 3rd groove hitting every stud across that groove. For best strength, use screws in every groove. You must use screws in the top and bottom of each panel.

How does slatwall arrive?

Slatwall is oversized and must ship via motor freight. As slatwall is fragile and easily damaged, you should have 2 men to unload and they will need a wire cutter to break the steel bands on the pallet. Break the bands and unload piece by piece. What if my slatwal is damaged?

If there is any damage make sure you notate it on the bill of lading (BOL) the driver wants you to sign. Notify the company where you purchased the slatwall.

Lift Gate Delivery

Slatwall can not be delivered on a liftgate. Lift gate deliveries of slatwall are more prone to major damage claims.


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