How to Install Drawer Slides?
The installation of the drawer slide is very simple, the installation method is similar, the installation is slightly different depending on the style and options of the drawer slide you choose. Some drawer slides you buy may come with installation guides, you can install them according to the guides, but if not, you can follow some simple steps to install any drawer slides. Fortunately, the installation of the two most common drawer slides (roller slides and ball bearing slides) is very similar, and you can use this guide to install any of them.
This guide is going to assume that you have selected drawer slides that will fit into your design, if you’re unsure about what to consider or are confused by what I am talking about, check out our Drawer Slide Products to learn more.
Step 0: Separate Cabinet and Drawer Members
Why called it step 0? Because it is not required or possible depending on the type and style of your drawer slides. All drawer slides will consist of at least two components, the cabinet member and the drawer member. As their names suggest, cabinet members mount to a stable or grounded component, i.e. the cabinet, and the drawer member attaches to the moving component, i.e. the drawer. For roller slides, the two members will most likely be separate when you purchase them. If not, you simply slide the drawer member forward until fully extended and pop the drawer roller over the roller of the cabinet member. For ball-bearing slides, they will have a third intermediate (slide) member that will stay connect to the cabinet member. If there is a release lever, like shown below, between intermediate member and the drawer member, they can be separated by pushing the lever and pulling forward. If the release lever is the on the right-hand side of the cabinet, you will need to push downwards to release, if on the left-hand side, you will need to push upwards to release. Not all ball bearing slides will have release levers and if not, they cannot be separated.
It is important to separate the cabinet member and the drawer member, if possible, as it will make the rest of the install easier.
Step 1: Install Cabinet Member
Regardless of the type and style of your drawer slide, cabinet parts must be installed first. Place and align cabinet components on cabinet or stabilizer components, depending on your installation configuration. The distance from the end of the cabinet to the end of the slide rail is for two drawer slides, and you need to use a spirit level to ensure that the set of drawer slides is horizontal and parallel. If you are planning to have overlay drawer fronts, which are drawers with fronts that overlap the sides of the cabinet, you should align the front of the cabinet member with the front edge of the cabinet. If you want to insert drawer fronts, which are drawers that have their front insert inside of the cabinet, you should setback the front of the cabinet member by the thickness of the drawer front.
Once you have the cabinet member aligned with your cabinet, fasten it to the cabinet by using your fasteners of choice into the recommend holes of the cabinet member. Typically, you want to fasten your cabinet member using at least three holes/slots. If your cabinet member has at least two slotted holes for mounting, like below, there are used to allow for adjustment at the end of the install. For the cabinet, you will usually use the horizonal slots for depth adjustments. If you want to make use of these slots for adjustments later, only fasten the cabinet member using two fasteners at this point.
If you plan to use bolts to fastener your drawer slide, you will need to pre-drill your bolt holes. You can do this by aligning the cabinet member inside the cabinet, mark the where the mounting slots are, then drilling the holes using the proper size drill bit.
NOTE: If you are using either releasing or non-releasing ball-bearing slides, you will need to slide the intermediate member back and forward to expose the sections of cabinet
member for mounting. Once mounted, the intermediate member should slide smoothly over the attached cabinet member.
Step 2: Install Drawer Member
To install the free-slip or roller-sliding drawer element, simply align the front of the drawer element with the front of the drawer. Again, you'll want to make sure that both elements of the drawer are straight and parallel, as well as properly aligned with the elements in your closet to make sure the drawer fits your closet. Once aligned, stick to the suggested slots using the fixing of your choice. Like the cabinet element, slotted holes are used to allow adjustments at the end of the process. For the drawer element, usually use vertical slots to allow height adjustment.
For non-releasing ball-bearing slides, it will be recommended to have a second pair of hands or a support in place to hold the drawer in place while you mount it to the drawer slides. As you cannot remove the drawer member, you’ll have to have the slide fully extended to mount the drawer to each slide. Once done, you can simply push your drawer closed.
Step 3: Insert Drawer & Adjustments
Once all the slide parts are connected, you can insert the drawer into the cabinet. For roller slides, you need to roll the drawer rollers on the cabinet rollers to position the drawer in place. To release the ball bearing slider, simply insert the drawer part into the middle part and push it closer. When the drawer is closed, the release lever will lock.
If you start using slotted mounting holes, you can now adjust the position of the drawer slides as needed. Generally, the cabinet part will have a horizontal slot to adjust the depth of the drawer, and the drawer part will have a vertical slot to adjust the height of the drawer slide.
Once all adjustments are made, you will now want to fasten each member using third mounting hole, if not done all ready. You may also want to replace some of your screws and nuts to locking ones to improve stability. It is recommended that when supporting heavy loads, at least two locking screws are used per member.