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How to Install Closet Rods on a Slanted Ceiling

Closet rod hung from slanted ceiling

Installing closet rods is super simple when you are using closet organizers. Just push the rods cups into the pre-drilled holes on the side of the closet panel and slip in the rod. But what if you need to hang the rod directly from the ceiling? This scenario is typical in attic closets with sloped walls and ceilings. Be careful. A clothes rod needs to hold a lot of weight. Learn how to install a clothes rod on a slanted ceiling so that it doesn't collapse.

Attic closets and other awkward spaces can be difficult to work with. But if you're tight on space, this may be the only area in your home you have left for additional storage. The good news is that small rooms with slanted ceilings can make good closets. You just need to spend a little more prep and planning to get it right.

When to install closet rods on the ceiling

Install closet rods on the ceiling when your perpendicular walls are less than 42-inches high. These short walls are also sometimes called knee walls. We use 42-inches as our reference height because it is the suggested position for the lower part of a double hang closet section. It is also the shortest recommended height for adult clothing. When your rod needs to be mounted at a higher position than the knee wall allows, use the slanted ceiling to install your rods. For best results, always place the ceiling mounted closet rod against the flat surface of the slanted ceiling using a cleat system.

Four easy steps to install closet rods on a slanted ceiling

  1. Locate where to install your rods

    You will need to position the rods so that there is enough room for the hangers to swing freely and for your longest garment to clear the floor. The exact position will depend on the slope of your ceiling. There is no hard and fast measurement. Hold up your longest article of clothing on a hanger to determine where to place the rod. Don't forget to allow an additional four-inches for the drop between the rod and the ceiling. This extra space is needed to allow the placement and removal of hangers from the rod. Mark the ceiling where the rod needs to go.

    If the slope of your ceiling is very steep, your rod might be pretty far away from the edge of the room. Don't let this worry you. You can always build shelves behind the hanging area. That way, no space is wasted.

    How to Install Closet Rods on a Slanted Ceiling
    This image illustrates proper spacing when installing a closet rod on the ceiling. Notice how the shirt is high enough so that it doesn't touch the floor. There is even additional room for slightly longer garments. The hanger also has enough freedom of movement so that the shirt hangs straight and the ends of the hanger don't bang into the slanted wall.
  2. Use a cleat.

    Omitting the cleat is the primary reason for collapse when closet rods are mounted to the ceiling. Your rods need to be able to support a lot of weight. A cleat will help with this. You'd be surprised at just how much clothes can weigh! For this reason, you should use a cleat that is anchored to the studs/rafters when installing a closet rod on the ceiling. Correct installation of the cleat is critical to the support of the rod. Use a stud finder to locate your supports. Then use a couple of 2-1/2-inch wood screws in each stud to secure the cleat. This means two screws every 16 to 24-inches. You will need to install Snap Toggles if you are unable to locate any studs. It is not uncommon for the cleat to be installed using both Snap Toggle anchors in combination with 2-1/2-inch screws into the studs. Any Snap Toggles being used must be installed before the cleat is secured to the wall.

    By cleat, we mean a piece of wood approximately 3/4-inches high by 5-inches wide that spans the length of your ceiling where the rod will go. You can use a simple 2 x 4 instead in a pinch, but the wider, thinner material works better. It also looks a whole lot nicer, especially when finished to match shelves or other components of the closet. When you use a cleat, rod brackets can be screwed into this piece of wood rather than directly into the drywall. This way, you gain the strength of the studs or rafters to support the weight of your clothes.

    Cleat with closet rod mounted to ceiling
    Cleat with a closet rod mounted to ceiling. Notice that there are two screws every 16 to 24-inches securing the cleat to the ceiling. This is because there is a stud behind each set of screws.
  3. Install rod brackets every 30-inches.

    Install rod brackets to support the closet rod about every 30-inches along the cleat. This 30-inch spacing will prevent the rod from bending under the weight of your clothes. You can go less than 30-inches between brackets in order to achieve even spacing for aesthetic reasons, but not more.

    Install closet rods on slanted ceiling using brackets
    Space the rod brackets a maximum of 30-inches apart when installing a closet rod on a slanted attic ceiling. This closet features a round rod in an oil rubbed bronze finish. Notice the addition of end caps to the edges of the rod. This feature provides a very finished look and is available with the Closet Works round rods.

    Rod brackets are specific to the type of rod that is being used. This has a lot to do with the shape of the rod selected. There are different brackets for round rods than there are for square or oval. The brackets also come in different colors to match the finish of the rod. These choices are all cosmetic. Choose the finish and style you like best. The important thing to remember is that you should choose rod brackets that will fit your rod. Don't get stuck trying to fit a round rod into a square hole.

    Rod brackets for installing closet rod on ceiling
    A selection of four styles of rod brackets in different finishes for installing closet rods on a slanted ceiling.
  4. Slide the rod through the rod holders.

    After your cleat and brackets are installed, simply slide the rod/pole through the brackets. As long as you installed everything correctly, your closet rod should be ready to accept the weight of any clothes you choose to hang on it. Note: Make sure you are using the correct pole to match the brackets. Different manufacturers may have different dimensions and shapes for closet rods. Diameter is not necessarily standardized. If you try to mix and match between vendors, things might not fit. Ans as a word of advice, always go for the higher quality rod when comparing different brands.

Ready to install closet rods for yourself?

No need to feel intimidated by closet rod installation on the ceiling. Slanted ceilings may be a challenge, but they are not an obstacle to success. If you are careful and follow the recommendations, you can do it. Why not maximize all the storage space in your house including that awkward attic with the slanted ceiling? When the closets are organized, you'll be amazed at just how much space you really have in your home.