Reinforce a closet rod to make it strong enough to handle all your hanging clothes. Builder grade end brackets just won't hold up a stuffed closet worth of clothes. When our house was built, the builder used a weak plastic bracket to attach all the closet rods. As the kids grow up, the clothes get heavier; and over the years, I've replace just about every one of the builder's original brackets.
The picture below shows my version of a much stronger bracket made from from a PVC plumbing cap.
The second picture shows the failed "builder's special" bracket.
Step 1: Getting Started
Wooden closet dowel rods are typically 1 1/4 inch diameter and fit nicely into a 1 1/4 PVC plumbing cap.
You will need (2) 1 1/4" PVC plumbing caps.
There are a few style caps to be aware of. The one pictured below is called a Plug and has a facetted flange around the base. The third photo shows two other style caps - a flat top cap and a domed top cap.
I used the plug only because my hardware store was out of the flat top cap. Either will work just fine. Just don't use the domed cap because the rounded top won't sit flat against the wall.
Step 2: Attachment Hole
Drill a 7/32" diameter hole in the center of both caps.
Step 3: Cradle Bracket
When installing a closet rod dowel, one end is fit into a "fixed end cup" bracket and the other end needs to drop into a "cradle" bracket from the top on the other end.
To create the cradle bracket measure approximatly 1 1/4" across the opening of the cap and make two marks. This is where two cuts will be made to create a clearance cutout for the rod to drop into the cradle.
This only needs to be done for one cap. The other cap is the "fixed end cup" bracket and remains whole.
Step 4: Cuts 1&2
At the two marks cut down the sides of the cap with a hacksaw,
Step 5: Cut 3
Make a third horizontal cut between the two vertical cuts.
Remove the section of the wall.
Step 6: Smooth Edges
At this point you may need to adjust the size of the cutout. The cutout should be wide enough for the dowel to pass through from the top.
Use a file to widen the cutout if necessary, and to smooth the edges.
Step 7: Screw & Washer
Use a strong enough screw! I would recommend at least a # 10 screw and at lease 1" long. Use a fender washer to keep the screw head from pulling through the plastic and to spread the load over the whole bottom of the cap.
(The difference between a regular washer and a fender washer is that the fender washer has a significantly larger outer diameter than a regular washer.)
Step 8: Attach the Brackets
Attach the 'fixed end cup" bracket to the wall with the screw. Make sure the braket is screwed into some wood that is anchored to the wall studs. A closet rod should never be mounted directly to drywall. In the picture below, I was replacing the original failed bracket and attached the new one to the existing 1x3 wood shelf support.
Unfortunately, the new bracket is a smaller diameter than the original; creating a ring of unpainted wood that needs to be touched-up. (As if anyone would even notice that in a dark closet)
Note: This "fixed end cup" bracket was made from a PVC flat top cap. It has a cleaner look without the faceted flange found on the PVC Plug. The plug or the cap work fine for either bracket. Use what you can find in your local hardware store.
Step 9: Finished - Hang It Up!
Attach the cradle bracket on the other wall.
Insert the closet rod dowel into the fixed end bracket and then drop it into the cradle.
Note: because these brackets are more robust, the closet rod may have be shortened a quarter inch or so, to a fit between the thicker brackets.
These brackets are strong enough to hold up the most clothes one could possibly over-stuff in a closet. Now I've got to work on that sagging metal center support.