How to fit kitchen drawers

Written by jim wildman | 13/05/2017
How to fit kitchen drawers
Typical kitchen drawer that may need fixing. (kitchen drawer image by Christopher Hall from

Your kitchen drawers take a lot of abuse with the daily use the family puts them through. They are opened and closed hundreds of times each year. It is no wonder that you may need to replace a drawer slide or put a drawer back on its track. The do it yourself handyman can align cabinet doors or work on the drawer slides to make sure that they are functioning correctly. If a drawer needs to be repaired, you can fix it following a few basic steps.

Look at the drawer to see if you can tell what is wrong with it. If the drawer is out of square, the glue joint has failed on one or more of the corners. Place a carpenters square inside on of the corners to check if this is the problem. If it is, squeeze wood glue into the joint and square the drawer to the carpenters square. Clamp it while the glue dries. Check to see if the drawer slides have moved within the cabinets. Check to be sure the screws are tight and have not fallen out. Wipe off excess glue with a damp rag before it can dry.

Check the condition of the drawer slides. If they are loose, tighten them back down. Tighten the screws back down with the appropriate size and type of screwdriver. Add additional wood screws into some of the mounting holes and check to see if the drawers fit in the cabinet. If this does not fix the problem, proceed to the next step.

Replace the old drawer slides with new ones of the same style and size. Carefully remove the old screws. Use new screws to mount the new drawer slide into the existing holes. Make sure to mount them correctly as labelled for the left or right side of the drawer. Check the drawer again and see if this fixed the problem. If not, proceed to the next step.

Check if the drawer is binding because it is too small. Measure the drawer at the front, middle and back to see if the drawer is the same size. If the drawer is off in one of the areas, try adding a wood shim where it looks like it is too small. Loosen the screws on the slide and place a few small pieces of paper between the slide and the drawer. See if this fixes the problem. Proceed to Step 5 if the drawer seems too large for the opening.

Check if the drawer has got wet, which will make the wood swell. See if the drawer is square at the inside corners. Use a framing square to check this. Measure the width of the drawer at the front, middle and rear of the drawer. If one is larger than the others, try sanding the outside of the drawer where it is wider than the others with a 10 cm (4 inch) disk sander with sandpaper. Remove the drawer hardware and sand the area. Place the drawer hardware back on and check the fit again. This should fix the problem.


Never add too much weight inside your drawers.


Wear safety glasses when using power tools.

Things you need

  • Carpenters square
  • Wood glue
  • Wood clamps
  • Damp rag
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood screws
  • New replacement drawer slides (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Wood shims
  • Small pieces of paper
  • 10 cm (4 inch) disk sander with sandpaper

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