Install Base-Cabinet Rollouts

Base cabinets in the kitchen are probably the most inconvenient and inefficient way of storing kitchen supplies.  A base cabinet is defined as a cabinet designed to sit on the floor, with a top covering it, which is usually a countertop of wood, laminates or granite.  If you have ever been on your knees looking for that special pan you use for poaching eggs, and rummaged through pots and pans in a darkened area, you can understand why installing base cabinet rollouts is a handy idea.  They make kitchen organization easy, and are much more friendly to your back and frustration level.  Here, we will discuss the types of rollouts and their installation. 

If you live in a home without base cabinet rollouts, you can easily remedy this.  They can be retrofitted and installed to be even more efficient than the typical factory designed units, and in doing so meet your exact needs for decor and versatility.  The average do it yourselfer, with access to a table saw and miter saw, can build a beautiful rollout as a Saturday morning project. 

Two types of rollouts are the most popular - the custom built wood rollout and the wire grid rollout.  Various companies  make individualized rollouts that will satisfy the most demanding consumer.  Everything from rollout recycling bins to spice racks are available.

If you prefer building the rollout from wood for a designer touch, Baltic pine is the most suggested wood for the project.  It is easier to work with and favored by cabinet makers.  The veneers that make up Baltic pine are very thin, and solid wood.  When sanding edges for a finished look, Baltic pine looks the best.  Many times it is necessary to build the rollouts, because in many older homes the cabinets may be hand crafted, and not of a uniform size to install off the shelf wire grid rollouts.

Begin your project by gathering the necessary equipment and supplies:

  • Table saw and miter saw
  • Tape measure
  • Drill driver and necessary bits
  • Variety of screwdrivers.

If installing wire grid rollouts, you will need to determine if you desire bottom mounted or side mounted rollouts.

If installing wooden rollouts, purchase the necessary quantity of plywood in 1/2 or 3/4 inch top grade, 1 X 4" pine board for the runs, and all related items, such as carpenter's glue and finishing nails.  Check with your local hardware store to determine the length of side mount drawer slides you will need.

Begin your project by removing the existing wooden shelf.  Be careful doing this so as to not damage the interior of the base cabinet. Most shelving these days uses a system of metal lags or pins that are placed into holes drilled uniformly along a vertical plane of the cabinet to adjust the height of the shelf.  Remove these also.

Carefully measure the opening of the cabinet.  The new rollout can be no wider than the opening minus 1/2 inch on each side to insure ease of operation.  Cut the floor, sides and back of the rollout according to your own requirements, and assemble with carpenter's glue and finishing nails.  Double check for fit, and if satisfied with the results, coat the drawer with a few coats of polyurethane and allow sufficient time for drying. 

When the finish is dry, attach the drawer slides per manufacturer's instructions, and attach the mating slides onto the wall of the cabinet.  Check for fit and ease of operation.  If it doesn't slide smoothly, the tracks may not be aligned correctly.  Readjust as necessary.  Some people prefer to attach the door of the cabinet to the rollout.  If this is your plan, remove the hinges from the drawer and carefully attack the door to the rollout.  Handles can be repositioned and holes filled and refinished from the old installation.

If you plan on installing wire grid rollouts, carefully measure the opening of the base cabinet to determine the size of rollout you need. These units may be either side mounted or bottom mounted. Some assembly is usually required. After removing the existing shelving, it is time to attach the tracks.  Some manufacturers provide a template for ease of installation.  Carefully measure and mark the screw mounting locations, drill the proper size pilot holes, and install the tracks.

Properly installed base cabinet rollouts are a joy to have in the kitchen.  The installation is easy, and you will be very happy with the results.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.