Plastic Vs. Metal Shelving Units For Drying Water-Damaged Belongings

Posted on: 14 January 2016

If you have just moved to an area that's prone to flooding, you know you need to be prepared in case a flood does occur and damage your home. That includes having things like flood insurance and ensuring drainage on your property is as good as it can be, but it also helps to have additional items that can make recovering from the flood a little easier. One of these is extra shelving units because, if you need to dry out everything in your home, you're not exactly going to be able to lay the items out on your flood-damaged floor. But the type of shelving you get has a big effect on how well everything dries out -- and whether you can keep the shelving after you're done.

Coated Metal Wire Shelving

This allows for maximum airflow around the items that need to be dried because the wires that make up the shelves are relatively thin. The coating protects the metal from water, eliminating the risk of rust forming at the contact points between the wet items and the shelving. Many of these shelving units can be assembled with the flat side of the shelves facing up, or with the underside of the shelves facing up and the edges of the shelves creating a basket-like space.

However, if the coating cracks and lets water in, rust can form, staining the item. These shelves can leave marks in flexible items (for example, you wouldn't want to place papers here to dry), and very small items can fall through the spaces in the shelving. If you need to dry solid items that aren't flexible and that aren't very small, wire shelving would be the best choice as long as the coating is intact.

In terms of storing the shelving after the flood, inspect the coating and look for cracks. If you see them, you may want to get new shelving because of the aforementioned rust risk.

Solid Plastic Shelving

These solid expanses of plastic are rust-free and easy to clean, and smaller items won't have any spaces through which they can fall. The shelf tops are usually smooth or only slightly textured, making them good for drying flexible items that need to be dried flat. However, they don't provide a lot of airflow, so you'd have to be vigilant about turning items over regularly to ensure all sides area exposed to the air.

Since the tops of these shelves tend to be only a little textured or not textured, rounder items can roll off. You generally can't install the shelves upside down without turning the entire shelving unit on its head, so unless you have some way to brace items, you shouldn't use these for things that can roll.

Plastic Shelving With Grid or Mesh Surfaces

Hardware and home improvement stores often carry plastic units that have a gridlike surface on the tops of the shelves. These combine the best features of the other two types -- rust-free plastic and added access to airflow. These also tend to be a bit sturdier than the solid-shelf units. The grid pattern also helps keep rolling-prone items in one spot, though it's always good to add a little extra bracing just in case.

If you want to see more types of shelving that could help you dry out your belongings, look in stores and talk to water damage restoration companies. They can point you toward the best type of shelving for the specific items you have while also helping you get rid of water damage throughout your home.