So I have this deep fear that if I go hanging a bunch of heavy tools on pegboard, it’s either going to A) rip the pegboard to shreds, or B) pull the pegboard off the wall entirely.
Turns out, that’s irrational.
Today, I hung some pegboard in the garage, and did my best to destroy it. That’s really difficult, apparently.
Pegboard manufacturers state the standard 3/16″ pegboard can safely hold 100 lbs of weight. The pegboard I tested showed a single peg can hold over 150 lbs without tearing or pulling away from the wall.
But it’s a bit more complicated than that, so lets see what happened!
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I hung 3/16″ pegboard from the studs of my garage, which were 16″ apart. Then I grabbed a hanging scale, and attached it to a pegboard peg and the floor joist underneath the studs.
As you can see in the photo below, a ratchet strap connects the scale and the screw eye below. To test the pegboard, I slowly tightened the ratchet strap, which added weight to the pegboard.
This attempt used a basic hook in a single peg:
I started off by slowly cranking the ratchet strap. I hit 50 pounds, 100 pounds, 120 pounds.
And then I hit 140 lbs. I moved away to take a picture, and as I did so, the scale and ratchet strap went flying into the air.
They didn’t hit me, but it sure was shocking! Turns out, the screw eye at the base had failed completely:
So I went and got a bigger screw eye, and tried again.
This used the same setup as attempt 1, although with a bigger screw eye at the base this time.
This time, I made it to 170 pounds. But then… the peg hook failed.
It’s worth noting that in both attempts so far, the peg holes were slightly torn. But neither were anywhere near catastrophic failure (unlike the metal hooks… weak babies.)
Attempts 3 and 4
I tried again with other types of peg hooks, like this two-peg hook:
And this shelf bracket (I was trying to be thorough:)
Both hooks failed even faster than the first hooks, at 110 pounds and 20 pounds respectively. The pegboard was still fine.
That said, the shelf bracket test was the first time the pegboard looked even remotely stressed. Yes, the shelf bracket failed quickly at 20 pounds.
But the way the force was applied, outward a little bit instead straight down pulled the pegboard more than the other tests. Worth noting, and something I’ll talk about more in the next section.
Make Your Pegboard as Strong as Possible
Before I jump into just how strong pegboard really is, I want to point out some of the things that made my pegboard so strong.
First off, I hung my pegboard on two studs that were 16″ apart. That meant there were screws every 16″. If you’re hanging pegboard across a whole room, and don’t have screws that close together, your pegboard is going to be significantly weaker than mine.
Reinforcing the pegboard every 16 inches goes a long way to making it strong enough to sustain heavy loads.
Secondly, the pegboard I was working with was 3/16″ pegboard. It’s the standard stuff at Home Depot – I didn’t hunt down special pegboard for this.
But it is worth noting that other sizes pegboards are sold. 1/8″ and 1/4″ pegboards are particularly common.
For the mathematically challenged, 1/8″ is thinner than both 3/16″ and 1/4,” and therefore weaker. 1/4″ is larger than 1/8″ and 3/16,” and therefore stronger.
If you want the strongest pegboard, hunt down 1/4″ pegboard. It should be even stronger than what I tested.
For more on hanging pegboard, check out this post!
With Some Special Care, You Can Hang Heavy Things
If you’re planning to hang something that is particularly heavy (100-ish pounds,) your pegboard can probably take it, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First off, you’re going to need some heavy duty pegs, because the normal style ones are going to fail.
Secondly, the more your heavy item pulls weight forward and not down, the more strain it puts on the pegboard. When I applied even 20 pounds of force to the shelf bracket, the pegboard bent a bit and was clearly under some strain.
If you’re thinking of hanging something heavy and bulky, place it in the middle of the pegboard, where it’s likely the strongest, and be wary of hanging things that jut out more than 10 inches.
The Total Weight Pegboard Can Hold
My test mimicked hanging individual items on pegboard to see how much weight a single peg could take. The summary? A single peg can take a lot.
But what if you’re more worried about the total weight your pegboard can hold?
This is going to depend a lot on how large your pegboard is, and how well you’ve secured it to the studs.
My piece of pegboard was 24″ x 17 1/2″, and was secured 16″ apart. It had no problem with 170 pounds of force that went straight down. There were no signs of stress, and no evidence of the screws pulling out of the wall.
While I didn’t have a scale large enough to test, I fully expect the pegboard could have held double that amount if the force was pulling straight down and dispersed throughout the 2′ of pegboard.
However, I think if you’re hanging bulky things, where much of the weight pulls the forward, the manufacturer’s recommendation of 100 pounds of weight is probably accurate.
I’ll point out, though, that this is 100 pounds on a 24″ x 17 1/2″ section. If you have multiple of these sections, and all are well supported, that might be 400 pounds across your entire pegboard, depending on the size.
(FYI – I don’t expect it’s a linear function, i.e multiply your number of 24″ x 16″ sections by 100. If you’re using a single large sheet of pegboard, the screws between sections have to support the sections right and left of them, not just the one section like in my experiment.)
Make Your Pegboard Stronger
Clearly, a single peg hole of the pegboard is pretty strong. That means the weak spot is really keeping the pegboard stuck to the wall.
The more you can secure your pegboard to the wall, the better off you’ll be. That means screws at every stud, maybe 3 pegs apart, like I hung mine here:
While I talked about other styles of traditional pegboard above, metal pegboard also exists. Wall Control is one of the most well-known brands.
These pegboard manufacturers claim the metal pegboard can support up to 300 pounds of weight.
I believe it, given what hardboard can do.