If you’re searching Google for “How to fix a broken drawer slide” you’ve got a drawer that isn’t opening smoothly, is rubbing against the frame, or is just simply stuck. The drawers in our kitchens are used, abused, and relied upon to hold everything we need. Older hardware might have small wheels, flimsy construction, worn out bearings or rollers, and need repair. There are replacement drawer slides made for virtually every imaginable drawer and cabinet design.
Types Of Drawer Slides
There are 3 basic designs built by many manufactures in different materials. The three main types are side mount, bottom mount, and bottom mount single.
Side Mount Drawer Slides
Side-mount drawer slides are mounted on the side of the drawer box and telescope out to allow the drawer to extend further than a bottom mount drawer slide. These drawer slides are generally rated to handle more weight and are attached either half way up the side of the box, or at the bottom. To know for sure which design you have, if it doesn’t telescope, it isn’t a side mount drawer slide.
Bottom Mount Drawer Slides
Bottom Mount or Under Mounted drawer slides are one of the most common types of drawer slides. As the name suggests the slides are mounted to the drawer and cabinet under the drawer on a track. There are two common configurations of bottom mount drawer slides, one is flat and attaches at the side, the other is bent at 90° and fits over the edge of the drawer. The key element to knowing which you have is if the track attaches to the bottom of the drawer, or not.
Bottom Mount Single Drawer Slides
In some cases a bottom mount single drawer slide would have been selected for your kitchen. It is a economy version of a bottom mount drawer slide and features a single centered mount for the drawer to attach to the cabinetry. Some have a corresponding track, while others just have a wheel that fits into the track. Typically this is a mount used for inexpensive cabinetry and has lightweight drawers.
Adjust Before Replacing Drawer Slides
If you are experiencing issues with your drawers there might be an easy fix. Drawers open smoothly when the slides are adjusted correctly. Over time and with use they might come out of alignment and a simple adjustment may return your drawer slides to perfect working order. Drawer slide adjustments are done via oval shaped screw adjustments found at the back of drawers. Fit your slides or wheels into the cabinet and slide the drawer in the cabinet and move it back and forth a few times. If you notice it is too tight, rubs the side, or sticks you should loosen the screws and tap the drawer in whichever direction will resolve the sticking or rubbing. Once your drawer will slide in and out smoothly you should re-tighten the screws.
How To Replace Tracks & Drawer Slides
To replace your slides and tracks you need to identify the type of slide you have, make sure you either identify what size you have or measure, and then disconnect the drawer and replace the hardware.
Measure Twice, Buy Once
Before ordering new drawer slides make sure you know what type you have and what size you need. Most times the length is stamped on the side of slides. If it isn’t make sure you measure it and replace it with a slide of the same size. This saves wasted time, money, and frustration.
Drawer slides sold today carry labeling for installation. After you’ve removed your old hardware inspect your new slides for stamps. You will find markings DL (drawer left) AND DR (drawer right). You will also see pieces that connect your drawer to the cabinetry marked with CL (cabinet left) and CR (cabinet right).
How To Disconnect Slides
Side mount slides have a tab or lever which will release the drawer typically located about halfway down the side of the drawer when in the open position. Bottom mount slides generally just pull out by jiggling the drawer, tilting it slightly, and in some cases might have a tab that needs to be pushed to release it from the track.
Drawer Slide Replacement Steps
Follow these drawer slide replacement instructions step by step to make replacing your drawer slides a breeze. Replacing the drawers is pretty straight forward, remove old, install new, and ensure the adjustment is perfect.
Step 1 – Remove Drawer & Old Drawer Slides
Take the drawer out of the cabinet by removing all of the screws. Make sure you buy new slides of the same design and have openings that match the size and position of the screws. It saves a lot of effort if you use a handheld power tool to remove the hardware. Ensure that you set the tension lower when reattaching your screws to prevent splintering of your drawers.
Step 2 – Match Up New Slides & Attach
Take your new drawer slides out of the packaging and read the labels to sort them into sets of right and left hardware. Attach your tracks and slides to the cabinets and drawers with your driver with the screws that came with the new hardware. Make sure you don’t over tighten the adjustment screws which are located at each end. Place screws in these areas but don’t tighten them down.
Step 3 – Install New Drawer, Test, Adjust
Slide the drawer into and out of the cabinetry and pay close attention to if it is straight, rubbing anywhere, or if it is sticking. If so make sure you loosen the adjustment screws in the oval shaped holes and tap it in the direction which will resolve the problem. Always test and adjust until the drawer slides easily and smoothly, then tighten down your adjustment screws.
Buy New Drawer Slides & Drawer Boxes
If your drawer slides are worn out or you need new drawer boxes DC Drawers is your source for high quality drawer slides, and the best drawer boxes. We offer the top brands of new and replacement drawer slides and custom made drawer boxes. In addition we offer in drawer power outlets and many other cabinet drawer convenience options.