How to Replace Drawer Glides

How to Replace Drawer Glides

Fix a stubborn drawer by replacing its metal drawer glides. Learn the step-by-step directions to follow and the materials and tools you need.



 How to Replace Drawer Glides

How to Replace Drawer Glides

Fix a stubborn drawer by replacing its metal drawer glides. Learn the step-by-step directions to follow and the materials and tools you need.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required

  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill and bits
  • Carpenter's level
  • Vacuum

Materials Required

  • Drawer glide set
  • Wood glue
  • Cotton Q-Tips

Tools Required

  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill and bits
  • Carpenter's level
  • Vacuum

Materials Required

  • Drawer glide set
  • Wood glue
  • Cotton Q-Tips

Before You Begin

Over the years, cabinetmakers have devised many different types of drawer-glide systems. They range from simple wood battens to steel and plastic ball bearing glides. This project explains how to replace a common type of modern glide that is mounted on the bottom edge of the drawer. If you drawer has a wooden glide system you may be able to convert it to use this style of glide but it will take some ingenuity.

  • Step 1 : Remove the drawer and look for obvious problems

    Remove the drawer and look for obvious problems

    Pull the stuck drawer completely out of the cabinet and inspect the glides. In some cases, cleaning the glide track and tightening the screws that hold the glides in place is all that's needed to get the drawer sliding easily. Use the crevice tool of a vacuum to remove any fine dirt or grit that's lodged inside the glide mechanism. Poke a cotton Q-Tip into tight spaces to clean them out. Frequently used drawer glides wear out over time, and the only solution is to replace the glide assembly. Remove the old glides with a screwdriver and measure them. Then buy a replacement set that's the same size and length.

  • Step 2 : Prepare drawer and cabinet for new glides

    With the replacement glide assembly, you'll find installation instructions and mounting templates. First, install the glides on the sides of the drawer cabinet. Note that there is a right and left glide and install them on the correct side. Place the new assembly on the side of the drawer. Check to see if the mounting holes in the new glide conflict with the holes left by the mounting screw holes of the old glides. If the holes in the new glides fall over the old holes that's OK, but if the new glide mounting holes are only slightly misaligned, fill the old holes. Dip the end of a wooden match into wood glue and then push it into the old hole. Break the match off flush and allow the glue to dry.

  • Step 3 : Install the new glides on the drawer

    Install the new glides on the drawer

    Use the template or the glide itself to locate the position of the mounting screws on the side of the drawer. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes for the screws. Use the screws provided with the glide to secure it to the side of the drawer.

  • Step 4 : Install the new glides inside the cabinet

    Install the new glides inside the cabinet

    Use the template or hold the glide to locate the position of the mounting screws on the inside of the cabinet. Put a carpenter's level on top of the glide to assure that you install it perpendicular to the drawer front. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes for the screws. Be careful not to drill completely through the side of the cabinet. Use the screws provided with the glide to secure it to the inside of the cabinet.

  • Step 5 : Replace drawer

    Slide the drawer into the cabinet, aligning the glides. Check the drawer clearance and movement pulling it inside and out. You can make minor adjustments to the location of the glides by loosening the screws and moving the glide up and down slightly. Make this adjustment on the drawer glides. Usually one of the front or rear mounting holes is oversized to allow for slight adjustment.

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