How to Add Drawer Slides To Old Kitchen Cabinets

how to add drawer slides to old kitchen cabinets

Traditional kitchen cabinet runners often wear out quickly and don’t glide smoothly. Therefore, if you want to maintain the functionality of the old cabinets, retrofit drawer slides will help them operate sleekly.

Consequently, many people need to learn how to add drawer slides to old kitchen cabinets. Fortunately, adding contemporary metal slides to your existing kitchen cabinets is relatively easy. All that’s needed is a ½ inch screw and screw gun to mount the metal drawer slides.

To give the kitchen cabinet added durability, you have to remove the retro drawer, pry off the old runner, and install the new one. Moreover, painting the inside of the cabinet is recommended.

However, installing the new metal runners will take up to 30 minutes, making the old cabinet’s DIY installation process a breeze!

The installation of the new metal runners won’t take more than half an hour. So, the DIY slider installation process for the old cabinet will be a heavenly one.

How to Add Drawer Slides to Old Kitchen Cabinets (8 Stage and You are Done)

It may seem daunting, but installing drawer slides in an older kitchen cabinet is simple enough. To install the new slides, remove the existing runners from the drawer and attach the new sliders with screws. Once the installation is complete, you will be rewarded with a smooth and effortless glide when opening and closing the drawer.

In the below section, we will discuss how to add drawer slides to old kitchen cabinets. You will need the following tools and items to do this:

  1. Drill
  2. Drawer slides or runner (metal)
  3. Pilers set
  4. Hammer
  5. ½ inches metal screw
  6. Screwdriver
  7. Tape Measure
  8. Adhesive and adhesive gun

Heading to the hardware store is the first step in retrofitting your old kitchen. Pick up all the materials you need for the slider installation process – don’t forget to check if they’re marked “DL” and “DR” for left and right-side sliders. With your items in hand, you’re ready to begin the project.

Stage 1: Removing the Drawer and Hardware

To access the drawer of your kitchen cabinet, you must first remove all items from the inside. Removing items from drawers leaves empty working space that adds extra work efficiency.

After carefully shifting all items, remember to organize these so that after your work is over, you can quickly resort to them in drawers again.

Now measure the drawer length with a measuring tape and take the round reading, such as if the drawer length is 22.7 inches, the slider length should be 22 inches. To remove the old sliders from existing cabinets, use pliers set to pry off the screws forcefully. Once the screws are removed, you can easily take out the sliders.

Stage 2: Filling the Holes

After removing the screws from the cabinet, it is necessary to fill the holes with glue or adhesive from a hot glue gun. Allow the adhesive to cool for a few minutes before installing the drawer slides.

Stage 3: Begin by opening one side of the drawer.

Turn the Drawer on its Side

Find the “DL” marked slider, which should be on the left side of the cabinet drawer. Place the drawer so that the front of the drawer faces your left side.

Mount the Slider

Ensure that the slider fits right along the cabinet drawer’s bottom side. Take care that the wheels of the slider area are at the back of it and that the front side of the drawer slider is against the drawer’s front side.

Screw the Slider

Use the screw gun to connect the ½ inches sliders. The screwing process should be easy since there will be holes in specific places of the sliders. Connect the screw through it.

Stage 4: Installing the CL Slider

Flip the drawer, so the front side faces your right side, and then place the CL slider on the left side of the cabinet drawer. The marked end should be facing forward. Fit the 90-degree marked and stated plate on the opening edge, ensuring it is tightly positioned with the left side corner of the cabinet drawer.

Connect the ½ inch screws through the oval-shaped holes on the plate. Make sure the screw is connected with the rail vertically, but do not tighten the screw fully as you may need to adjust it later.

Stage 5: Attaching the Back Rail and Plate

  • Go to the opening of the cabinet drawer and look at the back of the metal runner.
  • Slide the plate to reach the other rail on the cabinet.
  • Place the oval-shaped screw hole on the rail and mount the screw.
  • Tighten the screw lightly for later adjustments.

Stage 6: Connecting the CR Slider

Get the CR-marked slider. The CR-marked slider should be on the right side of the drawer opening. Carefully install the sliders on the cabinet drawer’s back and front sides. Here you need to follow the stage 5 guidelines.

Stage 7: Mounting the Wheels

At the end, you must install the wheels of the slider to ensure its smooth operation. To do this:

  • Keep the drawer at a 30-degree angle.
  • Check the back of the drawer and the slider, and you will see two slots for the wheels.
  • Insert the wheels into the slots, and make sure they engage properly before sliding the drawer in.

Stage 8: Installation of Kitchen Cabinet Drawer

Once the drawer has been installed in the cabinet with the new sliders, some adjustments may be necessary. To make these minor tweaks, lightly tap the drawer with a hammer. Test the drawer’s movement through the cabinet to identify which sides require adjustment.

Keep adjusting the drawer slide until you can easily slide the drawer. When sliding the drawer is effortless, the retrofitting of the kitchen cabinet drawer slides is complete.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can drawer slides be installed on existing cabinets?

Answer: It is possible to install drawer slides on existing cabinets. The process is straightforward and adding new drawer slides will make it much easier to open and close the drawers.

What is the process for attaching drawer slides to existing drawers?

Answer: Attaching drawer slides to existing drawers involves properly positioning the runner with the CR and CL markings and connecting the rail plate to mount the sliders.

What are some ways to upgrade my kitchen drawers?

Answer: You could upgrade the kitchen drawers by replacing the old slides, repainting them, or fixing any broken parts. Additionally, you could search online for different tutorials and ideas on how to upgrade your kitchen drawers.

What steps should I follow to replace the drawer slides in my cabinet?

Answer: We recommend following the step-by-step guidelines in this article to replace the drawer slides properly.

What is the most cost-effective way to refresh my kitchen cabinets?

Answer: The most cost-effective way to refresh your kitchen cabinets is to reface them. This process involves either stripping the stain or paint from the existing cabinets and adding new stain, varnish or paint; in some cases, you might even want to refinish the cabinets with a stick-on veneer.


Replacing drawer slides on old kitchen cabinets is a straightforward task that will take less than 30 minutes. We have provided nine easy steps on how to add drawer slides to old kitchen cabinets to help you use the cabinet drawers effortlessly over many years. If the existing slides are not working properly, simply replacing them can make a big difference.

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