Cabinet drawers see a lot of activity over the years. Whether they’re holding kitchen supplies, hardware tools, or an assortment of random items, drawers bear a great deal of a weight and haphazard use. One day the drawer starts to jam or bind, makes a grinding noise or just plum won’t budge. At that point, it’s clear that you need to investigate and fix the problem with your drawer slides. It’s easy for a misguided slamming of a drawer or general overuse to cause the drawers to stop working properly. Learn about the common problems that break down drawer slides and how to remedy these issues with some easy fixes.
Bent or misshapen sections
After emptying the content of your drawers and carefully removing the drawer itself, examine the slides. If you see any bent or misshapen spots, look at the extent of the damage. Often times, the bend can be smoothed out by re-shaping the slide. First you’ll have to carefully remove the slides from the drawer and drawer box. Use pliers to reshape the drawer slides and smooth out any warped areas. Clean and replace the slides, and you should have a functioning drawer again.
Screws can often come loose over time. When drawer slides aren’t attached to the sides (or bottom) of your drawer properly, the drawer won’t move smoothly anymore. Consider the condition of your drawer slides before pursuing this next step. If they’re in good condition and the screws are the sole problem, get some wood glue before re-tightening the screws. Put some wood glue in the whole and tighten the screws for a seamless and secure attachment.
Drawer slides gather dust and debris just like all the other forgotten crevices in your home. Maybe the drawers aren’t sliding in and out as easily as before. If there is no major damage to be discovered, the drawer slides might just need some cleaning. Remove the drawer box and examine the slides. Use a basic cleaning spray and a rag to wipe down the slides and ensure they’re clean. Your drawers should be running smoothly after that.
The roller wheels to the slides are essential for smooth running, especially with soft-closing or self-close drawer slides. If the wheels are just roughed up or mildly damaged, some grease and cleaning should put the wheel back into to normal rolling shape. However if the wheel has been worn down to a more flat edge, or if it’s completely broken, you’ll need to completely replace your drawer slides. The roller wheels are riveted to the body of the slide and cannot be replaced individually.
Kitchens see a great deal of activity on a daily basis. With cabinet doors opening and closing, drawers sliding in and out, and regular daily activity over time the joints will weaken and sometimes parts may even break. Even if you chose a high quality ready to assemble cabinet, you’ll likely face small repairs. If the drawers break, there are easy ways to tackle the fix on your own with a little handiwork and inexpensive replacement pieces. Here’s what you need to know.
Assessing the Damage
First off, look at what actually needs fixing or replacing. There are two issues that come up often. Due to pulling and slamming, the drawer front piece may crack or splinter; making it so the drawer doesn't close completely anymore. On the other hand, your drawer slides may have eroded or broken through excessive use. Replacing slides can be relatively easy and painless. When it comes to drawer fronts, depending on whether you have solid, applied, or false drawer fronts, this will dictates the type of work involved in replacing them.
Finding New Pieces
You have a few options to consider when fixing your cabinet drawers or slides. Search for similar styling or finish of drawer front pieces or go for something new and different to change up the style of your whole kitchen area. While with drawer fronts you'll be limited to varying finish or wood type, drawer slides offer more options. If you desire soft-closing slides or side mount slides instead of bottom, you can choose different types of drawer slides to fit your needs. You can check out the same place you purchased your RTA cabinet set or look for a different wholesaler to get new hardware.
Take apart the drawer parts that require fixing. If you’re replacing the drawer slides just remove the drawer first before unscrewing the slides. Remove the broken, cracked, or old slide carefully and discard it properly. Make sure to read or look up instructions for installing your new drawer slides or drawer front. If you end up replacing the other parts of your drawer, such as the bottom or side panels, take exact measurements to ensure a seamless fit.
When you’re re-installing the drawer or pieces, you can also consider some aesthetic updates. Install new updated drawer pulls or knobs to add some extra character to your drawer and kitchen cabinets. Make the switch to iridescent crystal knobs or bring an antique feel with decorative wrought iron pulls. Additionally, you can consider wood appliqués or medallions for extra decoration. Simply use wood glue to attach the appliqué of your choosing, whether it's a floral design, star, or other intricate hand carved design. Maintaining the look of your kitchen as well as the functionality of all its pieces can become a fun project.
Drawer slides can be used in a variety of ways. From mere pennies to more than a hundred dollars, you can find a drawer slide that fits your needs. Here we break down the weight capacity, cost, and potential uses for different types of slides.
So Light and So Cheap-Cheap
If you're simply in the market for basic slides, you have cheap and lightweight options to consider. European epoxy slides are especially inexpensive. However, they're designed to only be able to handle lighter loads, due to their nylon wheels. These slides can technically hold up to 75 pounds, but you should aim for lighter loads for long-term use. Ball bearing drawer slides also come in less expensive designs and have the added perk of being a bit stronger than European epoxy slides. These slides are great for home office situations or basic kitchen and bath drawer installations. Typically you will find full extension slides so that you can easily access the contents of your drawer without rummaging blindly.
This more mid-to-heavy range of drawer slides can be used for more mobile purposes. While light drawers can be used easily, the higher weight capacity slides holding extremely heavy items aren't meant to be used as frequently. That makes these kinds of medium range slides a great choice. For around $20 to $50 you can get durable 150 pound slides for such things as office use or to store cast iron pans. Scores of paper and files can easily be managed with mid to heavy range slides and still accessed with ease.
Weight Lifting Champions
Did you know that you can buy heavy duty drawer slides that have a 500 pound weight capacity? It may sound crazy, but there are many uses for these super strong and durable slides. There is a lot of delicate, heavy, and complicated equipment involved in computer servers. If you have a storage closet or room, you can set up the server in shelving or drawers to organize. Using the strongest, most heavy weight slides allows you to securely store all your delicate equipment and keep your server running smoothly.
Whether you use your garage as a project space or just keep your tools out of the house, you need sturdy storage options. Heavy duty drawer slides are a great idea to store just about any tools, no matter how heavy. With a 500 pound weight capacity, you won't have to worry about anything clattering onto your feet or
flying out of the shelf. Need to keep a generator stored on your trailer for emergencies or extra assistance? Utilize sturdy slides for keeping items you need accessible and also security stored when not in use.
What would we do without drawers? Our storage options would be a bit more limited and our homes would be a bit messier. In order to make the most of the drawers in our homes, we need to make sure they are easy to open and close. This greatly depends on the type and quality of your drawer slides.
Drawer slides are devices that make opening and closing your drawers easier. They are usually mounted underneath the drawer or on its sides. They prevent your drawer from accidentally being pulled all the way out off the hinge, thus spilling the contents of the drawer on the floor. Your drawers should easily move and be able to hold a specific amount of weight, so it's important to choose the right type of drawer slides.
There are a variety of different types of drawer slides. You can classify drawer slides by their material (plastic, wood, elaborate bearings), the amount of weight they can hold and how they are mounted.
First, we'll start with how they are mounted. The bottom-mount drawer slides (in which two rails are installed on the bottom of the drawer on each side) are the easiest to install, but can't hold a large amount of weight. Since the mounts are hidden from sight, they are a popular and attractive option. Center-mount drawer slides have one rail in the center on the bottom. These are also easy to install and are best used for smaller drawers. Side-mount drawer slides have two rails installed on both sides of the drawer. These types of drawer slides can hold more weight, making them great for bathrooms and kitchens.
Then there are a variety of other ways you can customize your drawer slides. You can choose the colors (popular options are brown, white or wood-colored), the material (wood, metal and plastic are commonly used), and the accessories (including sockets, drawer spacers and locking devices).
Two popular brands of drawer slides are Hettitch drawer slides and Blum drawer slides. Hettich makes innovative drawer slides that hold any loading capacity. They make ball-bearing slides, roller wheel slides and concealed slides. They also have a mechanically assisted opening system and slides for domestic appliances. Blum makes concealed drawer slides that offer four-dimensional adjustment and an exceptional load capacity. The soft and quiet opening and closing action makes them a favorite among many homeowners.