Wood or wire shelves for walk-in pantry

jeannie_kitchenJuly 10, 2008

I was thinking wood shelves, but my GC is urging wire shelves, has put them in before, said no issues with stuff falling over, and it gives better ventilation etc.

Dunno. I have a very old house, and this is the original pantry, although reconfigured some. Just seems more appropriate to have wood shelves.

Any thoughts?

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I would think wood shelves too. The ventilation idea seems ok, but if stuff falls over, like flour, it is less of a mess if you have wood shelves.
I have wood shelves in my pantry and have seen no problem.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:17PM
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Wire shelves consistently get bad reviews here due to things falling over and things spilling. I have wood and like them.

What does he mean by "better ventilation"? What ventilation is needed between shelves in the pantry? Did he give you any other advantages for wire aside from the obvious, "this is how I like it so you should like it that way too"?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:39PM
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Honestly, I wasn't sure I got the ventilation thing, either, but he seemed to think it mattered, and he swore that the shelves don't make things fall over. But I'm going with my gut, and getting wood shelves.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:43PM
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I think the wire shelving is cheaper. Most newer spec houses have wire shelves.

I hate the wire shelves in any of my closets; ventilation or no ventilation.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:52PM
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I had wire shelves in my last pantry. I won't have them again. Cleaning them was a real issue. If something spilled you got to clean it all the way down instead of just one shelf.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:56PM
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ventilation? what for? i don't like wire shelving. i've never had them but it seems it would also be more difficult to clean up spills. your GC likes them since they cost him less.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:05PM
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I had wire shelving in my old kitchen's pantry and absolutely hated them! Everything that wasn't wide enough to easily span three wires had a tendency to fall over if not centered perfectly. And, when something did spill, it went all the way to the floor...making everything beneath it dirty/skicky (molasses!) on the way down!

When we built our overflow pantry in the basement, we put in wood shelves...I LOVE them and, when we get to it, our new corner pantry will also have wood shelves.

Yes, wire is MUCH easier to install (hence, I'm sure, why your GC is pushing them), but they're definitely not kitchen/food-friendly! JMHO!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:12PM
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With all due respect, I'd wonder how he would know if the any of the owners had trouble with things falling over in the shelves of other houses he's built!

I agree with the others here...And I have wood shelves in ours for those reasons...smooth for moving things around and wiping down, no tipping, and spills stay in one shelf not dripping through all those wires to clean. I'm thinking this is why most fridges and freezers are made with glass shelves now.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Buehl -- I had the Molasses Nightmare happen on my wire shelving, too. What a mess!!

Wood shelves all the way!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:27PM
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I agree with everyone! Now, wire shelves in a linen closet makes sense- we replaced the old wood shelves and put in wire- (not cheap), and I love them there.

But, in my pantry, no way- using that reasoning, we should have wire shelves in all our kitchen cabinets!

And, for future resale, wire shelves might really turn off potential buyers.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:32PM
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I picked wood for my pantry. I think wire shelves look cheap.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 1:44PM
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Well, rhome, he actually gave me the phone number for a woman who he had installed wire shelving for to speak with her about how she liked them and whether she had had any problems with them. He spoke with her and she said she'd had no issues, but I think her kitchen was still very new, so I didn't take her opinion as being all that helpful.

But I'm going with wood for sure.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:27PM
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Just because she says, "Yeah, they're fine," that's not worth that much. Maybe she just puts up with things since she doesn't know any other choice. Like you said, has she been there long enough to have something spill? Does she even cook and really use her pantry the way you will? Bottom line is that you know better for yourself than he does and you should have what you want. Good for you to insist on what will be best for you. :-)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:40PM
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I agree with going with wood. We have wire shelving in our current home, a free standing unit that we use as pantry shelves in the laundry room. I have to place things carefully and yet they'll still tip. I find most wire shelving is too deep and I have to search for items even though I organize my groceries. In our next home/remodel; I'm having DH build me narrow shelving for canned goods and deeper shelving for cereal and other boxed items. Just lines of nice, simple, easy to wipe shelves where I won't have to search for the things I need. I can't wait!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:46PM
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I definitely think the wire shelving is cheaper. It's what our builder put in the pantry in our last home. I didn't hate them, so I just made due . Luckily, I avoided any major spills. In my new pantry I'm definitely NOT getting wire shelving though.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 4:11PM
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modern life interiors

Sounds to me he has more experience installing wire shelves in the pantry than wooden ones. He should tell you, not dance around the subject because he can't do it right.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 4:13PM
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Come on folks - Someone has to stick up for wire shelves...?

Certainly not me!

In our pantry, we used the old Corian countertops from the kitchen we tore out. Nicer than wood even!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 4:24PM
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I vote for wood shelves---reminds me of the dust and general grime over time that venetian blinds incur. Even those plastic crates with all their little holes are just a nightmare to clean! Never mind if something spills!!!

When I get my pantry built it will definitely have wood shelves!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 4:28PM
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I guess I'll be the lone dissenter. I love my wire shelves! I'm willing to put money on the reason for the vast majority diliking wire shelves. They have the wide slots installed on the kitchen. I have really narrow slots and don't have a problem w/ things falling over. The open slots allow light to filter down towards the floor so I can see. I've wondered if wood shelves pose a problem w/ lighting?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 4:02PM
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I'm wondering what different people here mean by "wire shelving." The comments about it being "cheaper" suggests folks are talking about something different that what I think of for "wire shelving." Mine are several hundred dollars a bay, which is certainly not "cheap", or "cheaper than wood."

I suspect people who don't like them have some sort of low-quality shelving, like I've seen for sale in a hardware store around here. I have "Metro" shelving, and it's great. "Cleaning" isn't an issue--it stays clean with having to do any cleaning*. It is rare for there to be a problem with things falling over. Light comes through the shelves, which makes it much easier to see what is there than if they were solid. (I note that I run a lot of it quite close together--like one 14-oz. can high, so that I can pack of lot of stuff in not very much space.)

I've attached a link to the kind of shelving I have, except that I have about 8 shelves in the same space as their illustration shows 4 shelves.

* Regarding cleaning: I've done some work in a Class 10 cleanroom, and all the shelving there was exactly the same stuff (though the stainless steel version rather than the chrome version, because all the metal in the cleanroom is required to be stainless steel). It's there because it's the cleanest shelving available. To give you some idea of what is expected there, people have to be in bunny suits, wear gloves, and go through and air shower before entering.

Here is a link that might be useful: Metro shelving

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Definitely wood. I have wire in my pantry now and I hate it because things tip over and things spill through the holes. A nightmare!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 4:37PM
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I just measured my Metro shelving. It's 5/8" between the wires. Things tipping over is not a problem.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 4:41PM
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But...molasses spills would be!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 2:03AM
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But the molasses doesn't spill if things don't tip over! ;-)

Seriously, a spill of that sort will basically end up on the floor, below the bottom shelf. The little bit that might stick to a wire or three is very easy to clean off the chromed wire.

I don't know if it says anything, but we haven't experienced any spills. (Knock on wood...)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 2:32AM
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we installed elfa shelving in our pantry (old home, too), mostly b/c i could do it myself, quickly and easily. I would have preferred wood, but one huge advantage to the elfa system is it's flexibility. You can move the shelves around easily, add dividers and clear bottoms to keep things from falling over. having said that, if money were no object, i'd get custom built-in pull-outs

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 11:29AM
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I have wire shelves now and HATE them. And yes....some things do tip over, like spice bottles. I had a mouse sneak in one time and chewed a hole in a bag of flour and a bag of rice. That flour and rice went everywhere. Cleaning was a nightmare. the new house will have wood, no doubt about it.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 1:56PM
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Maybe we're a klutzy family, but when putting things away or getting things out (especially when in a hurry) sometimes things get bumped/knocked over and if the top's not on tight....well there it goes! Cleaning off the wire shelves wasn't the issue w/the molasses spill...it was all the items on the shelves underneath that also had to be cleaned!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 3:18PM
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I will be going with wood shelving in my pantry, but I wanted to chime in with a slight twist on the wire shelving. My parents pantry (only 3 years old) has wire shelving BUT they had pieces of lucite cut to sit across the shelves. You still have that more open look (if there is that lighting issue), nothing falls down, and it isn't hard to clean up any spills. I don't think though, that they look as nice as wood shelves personally, however.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:40PM
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Another vote for wood, but do love metro shelving and think it's also a good option. pasigal mentioned the elfa adjustable systems; I just wanted to point out that you can get hanging track systems at most big box hardware stores that can include wood shelves that get attached to brackets. You can pick the shelf widths you want (e.g wider on the bottom, narrower on top) and the nice thing about these is they are easy to do DIY and easy to adjust afterwards.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 12:49AM
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