How to Install Gladiator GearTrack [Concrete or Drywall]

If your garage is a disaster, getting organized can seem overwhelming. A quick way to make progress is to get your tools up off the garage floor – especially your garden tools.

I chose to use the Gladiator GearTrack, one of the more popular garage track systems, but several brands have similar systems.

See why I recommended Gladiator and everything else I considered here.

In this article, I will walk you through how to install a garage track system on both drywall (recommended) and concrete block (if you must).

The premise will work with most brands, but be sure to check with the manufacturer to see if there are any quirks with the system you’re looking at buying.

Gladiator GearWall with tools

How to Install Gladiator GearTrack On Drywall

Let’s tackle the easy one first.

If you’re installing your track system on drywall, you absolutely must mount it directly to the wall studs.

Never use drywall anchors!

They won’t be able to support the amount of weight you need to hang everything you want on the wall.

1. Measure where your Gladiator GearTrack will go

Measure twice and cut once.

Good advice. Make sure that the track pieces fit where you want them to go.

I was about four inches short of being able to use an entire 8′ section of GearWall. So, I had to decide whether to cut each piece down to fit or slide everything up the wall by four inches.

I recommend shifting things around so you can use an entire section of track wherever possible.

In my case, I was able to slide my cabinets farther up the wall than I’d intended to, but it still looks good. More importantly, it allowed me to install the GearWall panels without cutting them.

Since I was doing this myself, I MacGyvered a solution using a box sitting on top of my garbage can to get everything into place.

2. Locate Your Wall Studs

Using a stud finder, locate where the studs are in the wall.

Most stud finders will only tell you where the edge is, but the goal is to find the center. You’ll need to come at the studs from both sides (left and right).

  • Slowly sweep in from the right-hand side until the stud finder finds the edge of the stud.
  • Mark this with a small vertical line.
  • Slowly come in from the left-hand side and do the same thing.
  • Once you find the edge, make another small vertical line.
  • In the center of the two lines, make a small ‘X.’ This is the center of the stud where you’ll want to place the screw.

I found an excellent stud finder with multiple LED lights showing where the stud is as you move along the wall.

It takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. This model is the Franklin 710+, and you can find it at Amazon or your local home improvement store.

It’s a little more money, but I think it’s worth it.

Using a stud finder

Oddly enough, the 2×4 boards used for the studs are slightly less than two inches wide. The machining process smooths off a little bit of each edge to make a smooth surface.

Note: Be sure to locate any electrical outlets or wires behind the drywall. Drilling or screwing into a live wire can be a shocking experience.

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06/26/2022 12:05 am GMT

3. Screw in the First GearTrack Panel

Ideally, you’ll position your GearTrack rail so you can screw it into as many wall studs as possible.

In a perfect world, a 48-inch piece of track will cover four studs if your studs are 12″ apart or three studs if they are 16″ apart.

But it’s never a perfect world, so don’t get too hung up on that. Your goal should be to attach the rail to as many studs as possible (minimum of two).

As a general rule, the more stuff you’re going to hang on the track, the more secure it needs to be.

Place a screw at the bottom of each channel (see image below). For GearTrack, you’ll need two screws per stud. For GearWall, as shown below, you’ll use four.

screws in Gladiator GearWall channels

You want to have as many screw attachments as possible – ideally three or four per 4′ track.

If you can’t attach your track system to at least three studs, you may want to rethink the location.

4. Check to Make Sure Its Level and Repeat

Once you’ve got the track placed and the first screw into the wall, you want to ensure it’s level.

I don’t know about you, but I’m that person that can instantly tell when things are crooked.

Picture frames, mirrors, you name it. I can tell from across the room if it’s off by a centimeter, and it bugs the crap out of me.

After putting the first screw in the wall, use your hand level to ensure everything is still level. This is the last opportunity you’ll have to make adjustments.

If you’ve got an annoying friend like me that will point out when things are crooked, you won’t give them a reason to complain.

5. Add Endcaps and Accessory Hooks

Finally, fit the endcaps and start adding the accessory hooks.

Take pride in your garage and show your neighbors how cool your garage storage setup is.

GarageWorks GearTrack endcaps

How to Install a Garage Track System to Concrete Block

It’s more complicated to install Gladiator GearTrack into a concrete block wall.

Of course, I did it the wrong way the first time.

Because the concrete block wall doesn’t have studs to support it, installing a garage track system to concrete is less secure than screwing it into the studs.

Concrete is porous, which means that it absorbs water. Over time any water that seeps into the concrete block can erode the block around the screw, weakening it. Water can even start to corrode the screw itself and eventually cause it to fail.

Gladiator recommends that you install vertical wooden studs into the concrete block and mount the GearWall system directly to the studs.

Rubbermaid goes a step further.

They only recommend mounting the FastTrack rail system to wooden studs and nothing else.

1. Mount the Vertical Wall Studs

The mounting studs need to be vertical to get the maximum weight capacity for your garage track system.

That was my mistake.

I mounted a single 8 foot 2×4 horizontally, right underneath my track.

Within a few weeks of putting my garden tools on it, I started to see the track bending at an angle underneath the weight. And I wasn’t anywhere near the recommended weight capacity of the track.

GearTrack on concrete stud

The more weight you add to the track system, the more likely it will rip out of the wall.

Tools, lawn equipment, and ladders are heavy, so you must ensure that the track is adequately supported.

For other great ideas on storing your ladder in your garage, check out my other article here.

Wall studs are nothing more than 2×4 or 2×6 boards cut to whatever length you need.

Ideally, the stud would go from the floor to the ceiling for maximum support. Of course, ideally, the studs would be part of the frame, but then you’d be reading the other section instead.

I recommend at least a 3′ vertical stud to get the full weight capacity of the track system.

Before you start drilling holes, this is also an excellent time to think about waterproofing your garage walls for some extra protection.

First, pick a location that is roughly the center of a concrete block, but away from any joint lines.

Avoid screwing into the mortar since it’s not as solid as the block itself, and the connection won’t be as strong.

I use Tapcon concrete screws, placing screws every 12-16 inches along the stud to keep it snug against the wall.

Once the first screw is in place, make sure that the stud is level before going further.

Nothing is worse than having crooked stuff on your walls.

We’re transforming your garage into a neat, organized room that you’re proud to show to your friends. Take the extra time here and make sure it’s right.

Put additional studs every 12″ or 16″ along the area where you will mount your garage track system.

Exactly how far apart is up to you, but once you make a decision, stick with it. 

By spacing the studs every 12″ to 16″ apart, you allow for several connection points along the track rail.

More connection points = a stronger attachment to the wall = higher weight capacity.

2. Mount the GearTrack Directly Over the Wooden Studs

Don’t put that level away yet. You’re still going to need it.

Space out the track rail to overlap as many studs as possible.

I’ll repeat it: the more attachment points you have, the stronger the attachment will be.

Ideally, you’ll want at least three screws in a 48″ track, so plan accordingly.

Gladiator recommends that you put screws at the bottom of each channel for the GarageWorks GearTrack.

Never screw into the center of the channel.

Since the two channels connect with the wooden stud, there will be a small gap between the stud and the center of the track. If you put the mounting screw in the center, it won’t have as secure a connection.

3. Check that it’s Level

Before you screw in the second screw, take a few seconds to ensure the garage track is level. Nothing is worse than spending a lot of time permanently attaching something to your house and then realizing that it’s crooked.

Trust me. Once you notice it, you can’t unsee it.

Measure twice, cut (or drill) once.

4. Add Endcaps and Accessory Hooks

After mounting the garage tracks, it’s time for the fun part.

Add an endcap to each side to stop any dust, debris, or spiders from getting in there. Then start mounting the accessory hooks, baskets, or anything else.

Gladiator GearTrack on concrete wall

Conclusion

Getting more organized in your garage isn’t hard, and it’s pretty affordable too. You can install a garage track system to take back your floor space and start transforming your garage into something amazing.

As you might be able to tell, I highly recommend the Gladiator GearTrack and GearWall system. If you want to see more details (and a LOT of photos), check out my full review here!