How To Install Drawer Slides? [The Easiest Way]

Many people don’t really understand the correct process of installing drawer slides and think it’s too complicated. This article hopes to debunk this false thinking. Drawers provide convenient storage space and help organize different things around. But to get the most benefits, you must learn how to install drawer slides effectively.

Installing drawers, especially ball bearing slides, is just as easy as making desks, tables, or closets. Here, I will show how to install drawer slides across the board, from conventional to modern drawers.

I have highlighted a few critical steps one can follow in installing drawer slides in a cabinet with tips and considerations. Don’t go anywhere without finishing this article. 

5 Steps You Must Follow To Install Drawer Slides Perfectly:

Here are some simple steps to guide you on how to install drawer slides effectively. This procedure is easy to follow and can be used on the many types of drawer slides on the market today.

Step-1: Separation Of The Drawer Slides 

Most drawer slides comprise a cabinet member and a drawer member. Use a level to guide us through the leveling to ensure straightness. Start by accurately marking with a pencil on the cabinet and confirm whether the lines are parallel. The distance to the edge of the cabinet should also be similar.

Step-2: Place The Slides

In this step, one should ensure that they place the slides along the marked lines and confirm the dimensions. Check to see whether they are the same level on both sides of the drawer. Always follow the carpenter’s rule where they measure twice to cut only once.

Step-3: Install The Slides

Hold the slides firmly to ensure they align with the screw holes. Continue to get a drill then and then drill the shallow pits at the front and the back of the slide. Proceed to then screw the slides into the cabinet to mount them. Finally, ensure the same is repeated using the same procedure on the other side of the cabinet.

Step-4: Measure And Position The Drawer Slides

Begin by marking the center of the overall height of the box. This means one will mark at the half-line of the box and then get it to the slide. Then position it at the same level as the level marked for the now existing slide on the cabinet. Ensure to mount using a drill and screw tightly.

Step-5: Insert The Drawer

Proceed to get the drawer into the cabinet by placing the drawer slides into the slide tracks of the cabinet. Slide it inwards and outwards for the tracks to get into place properly. They should be working seamlessly. If they do not get in smoothly the first time, repeat it severally.

How Do You Install a Bottom Mount Drawer Slide? 

The bottom mount is the most commonly used slide, and if one is interested in using it for their drawers, here is a short route to get them well installed for use.

Step-1: Install Slides At The Bottom

The first step is to get the bottom slides at the bottom of the drawers. This is done after measuring the cabinet and determining the ends of the cabinet and the drawer. One then mounts them by drilling shallow holes and screwing them to the bottom of the drawer.

Step-2: Place A Support Board On The Cabinet

Firmly clamp the board and make sure it is very stable and firm. Measure then to ensure it’s the same level as the slide on the drawer. One should remember to use a level so that the opposite sides are in the same position. This is done so that the drawer is hard to destabilize.

Step-3: Attach The Slide To The Drawer

Ensure it’s well mounted from the front to the back. Mounting will be done using a drill, and then continue to screw it to the cabinet. With this in place, ensure the measurements are intact on the other sides for the sake of evenness of the levels.

Step-4: Insert The Drawers

Get the drawers into the bottom tracks, and it should seamlessly run through the tracks. It will be very smooth with time, even though the first time pulling it may be more difficult. The more the drawers are pulled, the more it gets smoother with time.

4 Tips That Make The Installation Of Drawer Slides Easier:

Everyone would wish for the installation they are carrying out to go very smoothly without any hiccups and for the outcome to be beautiful. I have therefore highlighted some crucial tips that somebody can use to help guide the installation of the drawers.

Tip-1: Ensure You Have The Right Tools

It is crucial to ensure that one has all the necessary tools for work. They include the tape measure, drill, screwdriver, pencils, and a hot glue gun. If one doesn’t have all the necessary tools, it will make their work harder and more time-consuming. It’s also possible to end up with misaligned drawers and broken slides when the wrong tools are used.

Tip-2: Measure Twice, Cut Once

This is a preventive method that encourages one to measure severally. In our case, we must measure the drill holes well and confirm them. We do this because if we drill in the wrong places, the work will be messier, affecting the overall look of the drawers.

Tip-3: Make Drawer Adjustments

In order to be satisfied with the results, users have to make several adjustments. It is not automatic that it will work out well the first time you do it. Repeat it till it gets to the desired level one wants it to get to. The most important thing is to note the issue and rectify it.

Tip-4: Ensure You Mark The Drill Areas Clearly

Marking is done to ensure that someone doesn’t drill the wrong areas. This is a huge setback that can lead to the destruction of the wood and lead to loosening of the drawer as well. One, therefore, needs to be cautious when marking where they want to drill.

Related Questions: 

What Is The Easiest Way To Install Drawer Slides?

Use of plywood, where one will place 1/4″ thick plywood on the bottom of the drawer along each side. Take the drawer slide and screw it into place on the slides of the drawers. Continue to slide the plywood out and ensure it gets to the edge of the box.

Proceed then to set the drawer on top of the plywood and screw it at the very front of the drawer. After that, remove the plywood again, and with that, the drawers will be well aligned and in place. Finally, insert the drawer into the cabinet.

Do You Need Mounting Brackets For Drawer Slides?

Mounting Brackets are really needed. These brackets are designed to support the back of the drawer slide and the drawer. This mount is what allows drawers to be suspended. These mounting brackets have guiding slides that help a drawer move along the tracks.

They use specific types of screws, so before screwing them into the drawers, one has to ensure they have read the manufacturer’s manual for detailed guidance on the screws to use and their sizes.

How Do You Install Drawer Slides In Old Cabinets?

Remove the drawers first out of the box. If there were old slides, remove them by unscrewing the screws. Proceed to go ahead then and measure the drawers, the cabinet, and the previous slides that were there before.

The measurement details should be used when one is buying the new slides for the drawers. Continue to then ensure they are placed in line with the previous points and screw them back to where they were. You should insert the drawer back into the cabinet as before.

How Do You Install Drawer Slides With A Face Frame?

Begin by mounting brackets onto the drawer’s box. Installation of the mounting bracket is done at the very left top part of a drawer. Proceed to screw the bracket on this site and then measure the slides’ width and the size from the edge of the drawer to the top left corner.

In addition, transfer this distance on both sides and use a square to make a parallel line with the very bottom of the drawer. Make holes at both lines using a drill and repeat on the other side. Finally, proceed to mount the bracket.

What Are The Different Types Of Drawer Slides?

Bottom mount slides are one of the most popular styles, and these slides are usually mounted at the bottom of the drawers. We then have Undermount drawer slides which are designed with an L shape, and they are widely liked because they are not noticeable.

Side mount slides are also quite common and are mounted at the sides. They are installed and screwed with three screws at the rear. We finally have the center mount guides; most dressers use these slides. They help guide the drawers straight.

Where Should Drawer Slides Be Positioned?

The best place to position slides is the center. This is because weight is balanced in the middle. It is also important because it makes it easier to open smoothly when required. The middle is also the best place to place the drawer slides because it’s not easily visible.

Placing in the middle also reduces the damage that would have occurred if the weight was unbalanced. As a result of the unproportional balance, the drawers wear out over time after carrying a lot of weight. The middle part is, therefore, the best place to put the drawer slides.

Where Should Side Mount Drawer Slides Be Mounted?

Side mount drawer slides should be mounted on drawers that are not used to hold heavy things. It can be mounted on office desks where stationery is not very heavy, and the drawers are not in constant use as compared to other places where the drawers are constantly in use. 

They are usually mounted in face frame cabinets with a drawer slide bracket, and this is because they are very hard to mount on cabinets that do not have drawer slide brackets. It’s thus very compatible with the use of drawer slide brackets. The side mount drawer slides are therefore best for use where the drawers are not exposed to damage easily.

What Is The Difference Between Bottom Mount And Side Mount Drawer Slides?

Bottom mount slides have slotted holes that make adjustments easy to make, and this is in case you need to make some changes in the way it operates, while a side slide cannot be flexible. Meaning that making adjustments on the side slides is very difficult to do.

The bottom mount slides can also slide past the start of the bracket, meaning they can come out of the slide and remain intact. This gives it a sense of appeal because it looks good. On the other hand, the side slides cannot slide past the beginning of the brackets.

Should Drawer Slides Be On The Middle Or Bottom Of The Drawer?

Drawer slides should be placed in the middle of the drawer. They are best placed in the middle because that’s the most stable part of the drawer. The middle part is also impossible to see, so it also has some sense of neatness. The bottom of the drawer is quite visible to the naked eye.

The middle part is where the weight is well distributed and evenly balanced. This prevents the drawer from being burdened by the weight it carries. It’s also important to note that being in the middle ensures that it does not lead to wear and tear of the drawers from the weight. 

How Much Clearance Do You Need For Drawer Slides?

You require ½” to 17/32″ clearance on either side of a drawer. This means that every drawer should be 1″ to 1/16″ smaller than the opening to easily slide and fit perfectly. It is done to ensure there is some allowance for the slide and some leeway for it to work well.

Under mount slides require 3/32″ -5/32″ of clearance on either side of the drawer to perform at their optimum best level. The drawers should then be 3/16″ -5/16″, which is narrower than the cabinets so that the drawers can easily slide in and out.

Can Drawer Slides Be Longer Than Drawers?

Drawer slides can be longer than drawers; with the use of a bottom mount, it is possible to pass the drawer’s length at any given time. Using longer slides depends on the weight you expect to be on the drawer at any given time. It’s therefore essential to plan.

Drawer slides that extend over have a beautifying appeal, though. They usually look so elegant and make the desk very appealing. Some people use them just for the face value they offer. They are a good way to make a desk look presentable.

Are Undermount Drawer Slides Better Than Side Mount?

Some people prefer them over side mounts for a variety of reasons. One reason is that they cannot be seen because they are at the bottom, which is very well hidden from the naked eye. They, therefore, make the desk more appealing and neat.

Side mounts, however, are very clear and open to be seen. They also have adjustment holes that allow for adjustment to the drawers when the need arises. These adjustments can occur quite often. And when they need to be done, the under-mount is preferred because the side mount doesn’t have that feature.

How Do You Tighten A Drawer Easier?

First, remove contents from the drawers. You will then open and close the drawer slowly, assessing the source of the problem and checking whether the wheels at the track are off the track. You will then remove the drawer from the cabinet. Remove the drawer slowly from the track.

Get to check whether the track is loose in most cases. If it is, get a screwdriver and tighten the screws on the track and the drawer mount. Insert the drawer back into the cabinet and observe whether the drawer is tighter than before.

How Do You Fix An Uneven Drawer Slide?

Start with removing the contents of the drawer first. Proceed to remove the drawer from the cabinet then. Then take a tape measure and confirm whether the two sides on the cabinet tracks are on the same level. If they are not on the same level, you will unscrew them.

You will then measure and ensure they are level, and when that happens, drill a new hole and screw the track back into the cabinet. You will then get the drawer and try to get it back inside. It should flow easily in and out of the cabinet as before.

Final Verdict: 

I have shown above how to install drawers as they are an integral part of our daily living and should be well maintained. This means that when installing drawers, it’s very important to do it while following the guidelines given above. It is also important to select the appropriate drawer slides.

This is because some drawer slides cannot be used for all cabinets, and some may be problematic to install for one reason or the other. So it is very important to know the implications of choice. At the end of it all, it’s a straightforward procedure to follow, hence cheer up and get to work. 

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