How to Properly Install a Standing Desk Table Top - Step by Step Guide
Looking to build a standing desk? Unfortunately, most standing desks do not come pre-assembled. Even the best standing desk will likely arrive with the base and desk top separated. For some desk tops, you might even need to buy the frame from a different seller entirely. Or you might have an existing desk that you want to turn into a stand workstation with a new frame.
You don't have to be scared! Assembling a standing desk, whether it's an electric standing desk or a simple sit stand desk, is generally easy, and usually requires minimal tools.
The specific steps for pairing a standing table desk top with a frame are specific to the type of frame. Most manufacturers provide clear instructions to follow. Always refer to your manufacturer’s manual for instructions specific to your standing desk frame model.
With that said, this article will discuss the general steps for installing a rectangular standing desk top on a fixed frame. It also provides tips for using your standing desk correctly once it's built.
How to Install a Standing Desk Top on a Fixed Frame
1. Set Up Your Installation Area
For convenience, it’s best to install the desk top onto your new frame from a raised surface e.g. a table that is as high as your pelvis. Lay a soft blank or piece of cloth over the table to protect your new work surface from damage.
2. Gather All Your Equipment
You need a drill, a measuring tape, a pencil or marker or some screws. If you are using an electric drill, ensure to set up near a power source. Place all the tools within easy reach of your installation area.
3. Layout All the Installation Components
Unpack the standing desk top and the frame and place them near your setup area. If the frame comes with screws be careful when handling them to avoid them getting lost. If the frame does not come with screws, you would need to buy the recommended size of screws
4. Prep the Back of the Standing Desk for Installation
One of the main concerns for customers when installing a frame on a standing desk is that the back of the frame is not pre-drilled. Therefore, they have to determine the right position for attaching the frame to ensure proper alignment.
Some customers are also concerned that they might drill too far through the desk top, creating holes at the top side of the desk space. In this case, it is best to use self-tapping wood screws. They are easy to install using a cordless or electric drill without puncturing through the desk top.
If the base of the frame is centered, install it at the middle point of the desk top. If it has a C-design, it means that the upper supports are past the center of the base. Therefore, they do not allow for a center mount on the back of the desk top.
In this case you want to align the top of the base of the frame with the top edge of the wall. The frame will hold the desk top sturdily without an overhang. Take the appropriate measurements, align the frame with the back of the desk top, and mark the drilling points.
5. Attach the Frame to the Back of the Desk Top
Drill each screw to the marked areas to attach the frame to the back of the desk top. Ensure the screw fits firmly and goes in at a substantial distance into the desk top. Carefully, flip the standing desk over. Check it all around to ensure it is well aligned and sturdy.
Tips for Choosing a Standing Desk Top
1. Decide Whether to Buy the Desk Top and the Frame Separately
Pairing a standing desk with a frame you choose yourself gives you an opportunity to custom-build your standing desk depending on your needs and budget. This is perfect if you're trying to add adjustable height to a regular desk you already own or need a specific frame to fit a small space.
However, you have to be mindful of cost. Furniture manufacturers and dealers tend to sell the table top and frame parts at a higher cost individually than they would cost in a set. Therefore, weigh your options to determine what makes the most sense for you between buying the parts separately or as a set.
2. Choose the Material for Your Standing Desk Top
There is a wide range of desk top materials to choose from including laminate, bamboo, natural wood, and a live edge. Each offers its pros and cons in terms of aesthetics, durability, and cost.
For instance, veneer and laminate desk tops (common for office furniture) are much more affordable than live edge and solid wood. Live edge is on the high-end in this product category and a desk top can cost up to thousands of dollars. However, it is unique, natural, and heirloom.
3. Choose the Right Size for the Desk Top
The desk top should offer ample space for your work items such as your laptop, monitor, keyboard, laptop stand, keyboard tray, notebooks, folder, etc. If you have a dual monitor set up or are sharing a workspace with others, you might need a larger desk. You can even get custom, going for an l shaped desk to accommodate multiple monitors or multiple projects at once in a home office.
In relation to the frame, the desk top should have an overhang of about 0.5” on either side of the frame to prevent the tabletop from splitting.
Tips for Choosing a Standing Desk Frame
1. Consider the Type of Standing Desk Top You Want
What do you want your desk to do? There are tons of options for a standing desk, including both a fixed or adjustable standing desk top frame. Adjustable desk top frames can be manual or automatic (motorized or electric). Automatic frames are a more convenient height adjustable desk, allowing you to adjust the height of your standing desk with a simple press of a button. You can also program them with your sitting and standing height for easier height adjustment throughout the day.
You can also shop for a manually adjustable frame. These have a narrower range of adjustments for reaching your desired height. It can be challenging to adjust desk height here, especially if the adjustment mechanism is too tight. However, these frames tend to be cheaper.
2. Choose the Right Height for Your Frame
For a fixed frame, the height has to be exact and precise, otherwise, you will end up in an uncomfortable working position. The right height for your standing desk is from your elbow to the floor.
To measure, stand in an upright position with your arm bent parallel to the ground. Measure the distance between your elbow and the floor. Wear the shoes that you will normally wear at the desk and stand on the standing mat, if you will use one, to ensure you get an accurate measurement.
3. Opt For a Frame with Attachment Hardware
Most brands include attachment hardware with the frame. Different attachment mechanisms have different installation procedures. Check your manual for specific installation steps. Ensure you understand the attachment mechanism and where you should install it before drilling any holes on the desk top.
Tips for Using a Standing Desk Properly
Assume the Right Positio
The right position when using the standing desk is such that your forearms are parallel to the desk top, floating over the desk, with relaxed wrists. While your fingers can hang over the keyboard, the wrist should not be inclined downwards. The wrists should always remain parallel to the ground. This helps to prevent injury on your arms and wrists.
Maintain an Upright Posture
Keep your neck tall with your shoulders relaxed. Do not lock your knees when standing and keep your knees slightly bent, so that you do not overextend them
Invest in an Anti-fatigue Mat
If you will be standing at your desk for extended periods, invest in a mat to go where an office chair would go. The mat helps to combat fatigue by stimulating gentle movement on the legs. As such, there is increased blood flow throughout the legs reducing discomfort and tiredness. Anti-fatigue mats are especially crucial if you experience leg pain or back pain.
Even though standing at your desk is better than sitting, you should take breaks and alternate with sitting to prevent extreme fatigue. During the breaks, stretch and walk around to promote blood circulation throughout the body. You can set an automated reminder to take breaks periodically. If you feel tired, take a seat until you rest, then you can stand again.
Whether you buy your desk top separately from the frame or buy them as a set, you need to install them properly. The steps above are a good place to get a sense of what the procedure entails.
Ensure to check your user manual for the installation steps for your frame. The standing desk top should be aligned and sturdy. If you are unsure, hire a handyman to do the installation for a perfect job!
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