Installing Drawer Runners

An open set of white drawers.
What You'll Need
Drawer runners (slide/runner type you intend to use)
Screw driver
Safety goggles
Spirit adjuster

Drawer runners support a drawer as it slides open or closed while ensuring a smooth motion. Drawer runners can be categorized based on various groupings such as the material, mechanism design, and application. This is what you need to knowso you can make an informed decision when you buy the materials from your local hardware store.

Type of Slide Mechanism

Drawer Slides: While a channel is mounted on the inside of the housing, a bracket with a roller is mounted on the sides of the drawer. This set provides smooth movement of the drawer. This category of drawer runner can also be self-closing, meaning the drawer will slide back on its own.

Ball Bearing Slides: Smooth and sturdy, ball-bearing slides are comprised of two parts that slide into each other and clip together. They are available in two versions based on how much of the drawer you want to open: a shorter ¾ version and a full extension version.

Friction Slides: In this version, a slide and a back plate are guided along a center drawer track.

Full Extension Runner

For applications where you need full access to the back of the drawer, you will want to use a full extension runner, which covers the full length of a drawer. Generally, it uses three slides and two sets of stainless steel ball bearings.

Full Extension Concealed Soft Closing

This version of the full extension runner incorporates a soft close technology. This is perfect for a nursery.

Touch Release Runners

This is a full extension drawer runner with a push-latch mechanism. The drawer is held shut with the mechanism. The mechanism will release and open the drawer with a slight push.

Installing the Drawer Runner

After you have decided on the type of drawer runner you want to install, the actual installation of the drawer runner is not complicated.

Step 1 - Start by screwing the runners to the sides of the drawer. The runner on one side of the drawer should be parallel with the one on the other and at the same distance from the top and bottom. If it is not parallel, the drawer will sit crooked and not function properly.

Step 2 - Next, hold your drawer in the cavity where it has to finally fit and make sure that the sliders are fully closed. Use you pencil to mark tiny circles where the holes for the screws will need to go on the inside.

Step 3 - You should be able to use a drill or screwdriver to install the screw, but this will depend on what the type of material you are using and if you are using self-drilling screws. If you have to work with wood, using a bradawl on the marks you made will be helpful.

Step 4 - Finally, remove the drawer and use a screwdriver to slightly loosen each runner. Now check the alignment with a spirit adjuster and when you are satisfied, tighten the screws. You can now glide the drawer into place and enjoy how smoothly it works.

Opening and closing your drawers will be easier than ever. It will feel as though you have a different dresser all together!