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Closet Blog: Understanding Different Types of Closet Installations

suspended closet system
Suspended System Example

floor-based closet system
Floor-Based System Example

combination suspended and floor-based closet system
Combination Floor-Based & Suspended System Example

Should Your Closet Be a Suspended or Floor-Based System? What's the Difference?

Understanding the difference between suspended and floor-based custom organization systems can be critical to the overall satisfaction with your Closet Works™ product. Each type of closet system has its own benefits and drawbacks. The best solution depends on the location, intended use and your own personal preferences.

The differences between suspended and floor-based custom organization systems:

Suspended systems are supported by a rail that is firmly secured to the wall studs. All of the structural closet components then hang off of the rail. The weight of the system is carried by the studs and is very strong. With this type of closet system, there is no need to remove the base mouldings typically found at the bottom of the wall or to remove carpeting, as a suspended system does not usually extend all the way down to the floor. The back of a suspended closet system is typically drywall. With this type of system, it is best to paint your wall before the closet or organization system is installed. Some homeowners choose to paint their walls in a color that blends with the hue of the new organization system, while others prefer a complimentary accent color to make the closet "pop" — the color is simply a matter of taste. All Closet Works™ suspended closet organization systems include a paintable rail cover that goes over the rail. This cover hides the screws and hardware used to attach the system to the studs. It becomes unnoticeable and seems to disappear when painted to match the wall color.

    Advantages of suspended systems:
  • Extremely strong when installed correctly and made from quality components
  • No need to remove exiting base or crown mouldings from the wall
  • Does not extend to the floor, so carpeting can easily run underneath the system and changing the flooring is uncomplicated
  • Usually less expensive than a floor based system (when similar quality of components are used)
  • Custom cutouts around heating vents and electrical outlets are usually not necessary

Floor based systems are designed to be supported by the floor. They include a cabinet base box that raises the closet a few inches off the floor. Typically, the bottom of the closet system near the wall is cut away and fitted around base board mouldings in order to get a snug fit to the wall. Alternately, mouldings like base boards can be removed prior to installation. Since floor-based systems sit on the floor, it can be difficult to change the carpeting unless it is removed from under the unit prior to installation. Custom cutouts for vents are required when the system covers a heating or cooling duct. The overall strength of the floor based closet is determined by the quality of the materials used in manufacture in combination with the construction techniques of the installer. A high quality system will be very strong. The closet may or may not include a backer board. If the backer board is made of heavy duty material and is secured to the back of the closet, it can add additional strength to the system. Some closet organizer companies use a very thin piece of laminate that is merely glued to the wall — this type of backer is for appearance only and does not add strength. It is a questionable technique employed for decorative purposes only and should be avoided as the laminate can block outlet openings, light switches and air vents (unless cutouts are provided) without adding structural integrity to the system. It is also very difficult to remove without damaging the wall surface if any future remodeling is required. At Closet Works™, backer is optional and is not needed for a strong closet system. However, when backer board is chosen, the same 3/4" material used in constructing the rest of the system is used. It is firmly attached to the back of the floor-based closet system — not the wall — further increasing the overall strength and stability of the unit.

Custom crown and base mouldings are frequently added to floor based closet systems, creating a very finished, furniture style look that adds decorative flair and can blend seemlessly with the style of the home.

    Advantages of floor-based systems:
  • Extremely strong when installed correctly and made from quality components
  • Additional base and crown mouldings can be added for a more polished "furniture" look
  • The best type of closet organization system available for buildings where walls are constructed with plaster and lath rather than drywall

The majority of custom organization systems use a combination of suspended and floor-based pieces to create the greatest functionality along with the most beautiful appearance. The best closet organization companies have both types of systems available, allowing them to create an optimal design solution based on the individual needs of each homeowner.