Step by Step Instructions to Install an Overhead Garage Storage Rack

Overhead Garage Storage Rack Installation

So you purchased your overhead garage rack and now realize that overhead garage rack installation is not trivial? Then this guide is for you. From preparing to install, to step by step tips, gain new confidence and start storing in no time. If you want more ideas for maximizing garage storage, checkout the Ultimate Garage Organization Guide.

If you have not picked out the overhead storage unit yet, check out the top 11 best (including the several types of overhead racks).

Proceed With Care

Installing an overhead garage storage rack is a quick way to increase storage capacity in your garage. However, because it is installed overhead and can be used to store heavy items, it poses certain risks.

For instance, not fully tightening the bolts could result in the unit becoming unstable, which can cause it to fall. Should this occur, it can fall on a passerby, which can be lethal. Or it may even fall on your automobile, which can be costly to repair. Therefore, when installing your overhead garage rack, it is important to proceed with care to ensure it safely attached.

To begin, make sure the rack’s specs adequately fit your space, so it can be properly fitted and secure.

You should also ensure the weight limit of your rack is compatible with the total weight of the stored items. Otherwise, storing a load too heavy for your rack can also make it unstable, which can also be hazardous.

Furthermore, the system itself can be heavy, which can make it challenging to install on your own. Therefore, you should also make sure you have someone to assist you with the fitting. If you are unable to secure help installing the rack, it is best to hire a professional for added safety.

The overhead garage storage rack installation for your unit will vary, depending on the overhead rack type. A basic 4’8′ wire overhead rack installation is as follows:

Overhead Garage Storage Rack Installation

Step 1: Go Over the Instructions Entirely

Read the assembly instructions from top to bottom before getting started. Once you are confident you understand each of the steps for your installation, start the attachment of the unit. Having a friend help can speed up the process and provide increased safety, so start calling around.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Check that all the parts listed on the kit are included. You will also need to gather a few tools from your own arsenal, including:

Required Tools and Resources

  • A trustworthy ladder
  • Protection glasses
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or pen
  • A stud locator
  • Drill with 3/16″ drill bit
  • Rubber mallet
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Open end wrench set, socket set, or adjustable crescent wrench

Step 3: Locate the Exact Spot for Your Installation

Select the exact location where you want the overhead rack to be installed.

When selecting your location, be sure to take into consideration any objects that the overhead rack may obstruct. For instance, will the rack hinder the garage door operation? This will not only help you determine the perfect spot for the unit but also its hanging height.

Step 4: Attach the Ceiling Brackets

  • First locate the joists on both sides of where the first post will be installed. This can be done using the stud locator.

  • Use the pencil or pen to mark the outside and the middle of each joist. You can use a tiny nail to make small punctures along your guidelines to ensure they are correct. To fit the screws, you may also have to install another piece of wood in the ceiling .

  • Create a 3″ long pilot hole in the exact middle of each marked location. This can be done using the drill and a 3’16” bit.

  • Place a washer under the head of a 3″ lag screw. Next, insert the screw through the ceiling bracket and into the pilot hole. Repeat this process until all of the lag screws are installed.

  • With the first ceiling bracket in place, next take the measurements for the remainder of the ceiling brackets. This can be done in various ways.

Step 5: Installing the Vertical Posts

  • Change the length of the vertical posts to fit the height you want the rack to hang. Make sure the lower vertical post piece is placed on the inside of the top half of the vertical post. The rounded part of the teardrop-shaped slot should also be facing up towards the ceiling. All the vertical posts should also be the same length.

  • Place one nut and bolt along with a washer on the front of the top vertical post. Then place another nut, bolt, and washer at the bottom where the two ends of the vertical posts overlap.

  • Place a washer on both sides of a bolt. Use the bolt and a locking nut to connect the top half of a vertical post to the ceiling bracket. Attach the remainder of the vertical posts to the rest of the ceiling brackets. Be sure they are installed using the proper measurements.

  • Avoid fully tightening the lag screws on the vertical posts to the ceiling brackets. This will allow you to install the outside frame as well as the center support with no problem. The vertical posts will be fully tightened on the ceiling brackets once the other components are installed.

Step 6: Install the Outside Frame

  • Install the side beams to the vertical posts. To install the beams, position them on the inner part of the vertical posts. The small lip of the beam should be on top.

  • Next, have your helper hold the already installed rivets in place. Use the rubber mallet to insert the opposite beam rivets into the lower part of the teardrop slots.

  • Align the 45-degree angle end of the small lip on the C-Channel Beam to the side beam’s angle. Install the C-Channel beam. Continue this process until each of the C-Channel Beams are in place.

  • If the vertical posts are not fully upright, the rivets on the C-Channel Beams will not install properly. Hence, you will need to adjust the placements of the ceiling brackets or the vertical posts. Adjust them until they are properly aligned.

Step 7: Install the Center Support

  • Using the wingnuts and slot-head bolts that are left, attach the center support to the beams.

  • Fully tighten the bolts to the nuts using a flat head screwdriver.

  • Now you go back and fully tighten the vertical posts to the ceiling brackets.

Step 8: Insert the Wire Decking

  • Depending on your overhead rack type, you may have a removable wire deck. If so, take the removable deck and insert it into the frame of the rack. This type of deck is held in place by gravity. Therefore, it will shift easily from one side to the other. However, it is secure enough to safely store your items.

  • Inspect the complete installation to ensure all of the rivets are properly in place. You need to also inspect that the ceiling brackets and lag screws are immovable. All the nut and bolt attachments on the vertical posts also need to be checked that they are tight.

Step 9: Attach the Deck Hooks, Rail Hooks, And/Or Utility Hooks

Some kits may also include deck hooks, rail hooks, and/or utility hooks. These attachments enable you to hang various other items from different areas of the rack.

The deck hook is designed to hold items throughout the center of the rack. It easily installs on the rack by snapping the flat top over a pair of wires. The rail hook resembles the deck hook, and it is installed around the edge of the rack to hang items.

Lastly, the utility hook allows you to hang very long items on the rack. It attaches to the vertical posts using washers, locking nuts, and bolts.

Step 10: Load the Rack With Items

Double-check the completed rack to ensure it is secure. Next, load the rack with your preferred items. Keep in mind not to exceed the total recommended weight limit for your unit.

When loading the rack, most manufacturers also suggest evenly distributing heavy objects closest to the vertical posts. Meanwhile, lighter objects should be stored closest to the center to prevent the unit from becoming imbalanced.

You should also avoid climbing or hanging from the overhead rack, which can also cause it to become imbalanced. It is important to also periodically check that the rack’s rivets and wire decking are still properly placed. This will also further prevent an accident.


Overhead garage rack installation does not need to be an impossible project. Make sure you grab a friend to help with the installation for safety and speed. Once complete with the rack installation, move onto other garage projects via the Ultimate Garage Organizations Ideas Guide.