Choosing The Best Metal For Custom-Built Garage Shelving

Storage space is always at a premium in a garage, and having some dedicated shelving fabricated to your specifications by a metal fabrication company is one of the best ways to create valuable new storage space. Having your garage shelves custom-built by a metal fabricator ensures that the design and dimensions of your shelving are ideally suited to your garage space, and give you the reassurance of durability and lasting quality that sturdy metal construction provides.

However, as well as choosing a design for your new shelves, you will also have to choose which metal (or metals) to have them constructed from. Modern metal fabrication workshops are capable of working with a number of metals, each of which comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Take stock of the following common metal options before deciding which is most suitable for your new shelving:


Steel is the metal of choice when you want inexpensive shelving constructed quickly, and is ideal for a wide variety of garage shelving designs. Its low price when compared to other metal options makes it a particularly attractive choice for larger shelving designs, and the relative ease of steel fabrication means that virtually every metal fabrication workshop will work with the material.

However, low prices do not mean compromising on practicality. Providing exceptional load-bearing strength, steel shelving is capable of storing heavy objects such as engine parts and large power tools without buckling or denting, making it an excellent choice for the amateur or professional mechanic.

However, steel shelving is as vulnerable to rust as any other unprotected steel object, and to extend the functioning lifespan of steel shelving you will probably have to invest in a protective coating, such as powder-based or galvanised coatings. Steel is also rather heavy, and should not be used for shelves you intend to move regularly without the assistance of castors.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is actually a steel alloy, combining regular mild steel with additives such as chromium. These additives give stainless steel its famous immunity to rust and corrosion, but do not compromise the durability and strength of the steel, making it an excellent metal choice for garage shelving.

However, the unique resistance to corrosion provided by stainless steel comes at a price, and choosing stainless steel for your new shelving will likely cost significantly more than choosing standard steel. You may also find it harder to find a metal fabricator that works with stainless steel, as welding stainless steel is a difficult process requiring specialised equipment.


Another excellent choice for people looking for truly rust-proof garage shelving, aluminium is a versatile metal that creates its own, rust-resistant layer of protective aluminium oxide. This makes aluminium shelving tremendously long-lived when it is treated with a certain degree of care, and having aluminium garage shelving fabricated can represent an excellent long-term investment.

Aluminium does not boast the raw strength of steel, and thinner, cheaper sheets of aluminium may bow and buckle under particularly heavy loads. However, aluminium is also considerably lighter than steel, making it a much more attractive for portable or semi-portable shelving. It is particularly well suited for creating wall-mounted shelves and portable tool shelves fitted with castors.

Unfortunately, aluminium's advantages come at a price just as stainless steels advantages do, and custom-fabricated aluminium shelves can be quite expensive. It also shares stainless steel's resistance to welding, and is subsequently not offered as an option by every fabrication company.