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#Easy DIY tips for mounting drawer runners

Easy DIY tips for mounting drawer runners

Making drawers is easy; you need a front and back, two sides and a base. But if you want to mount drawer runners to your drawers it can be a tad more complicated than that.

The main problem with putting together an article on making drawers and mounting runners is due to the variety of drawer runners that are available. Go into your local Builders or hardware store and you will see that there are quite a few different types of drawer runners, and that each is different in width.

For this reason it is important to know what drawer runners are available before you start the project, and buy the runners you want so that you have these on hand when you begin to assemble the drawers.

To show a small selection of drawer runners available we popped onto www.gelmar.co.za and selected the most common runners you can buy.

The most inexpensive drawer runner is the roller runner slide type shown above, which is available in powder coated black or white and comes in two parts – one part attaches to the inside of the cabinet and the other to the drawer. These are generally fitted to kitchen drawers, bathroom cabinets and most affordable furniture. They are available in lengths from 30cm to 60cm and can carry up to 25kg in weight.

Extension sliders are available in a selection of models that include self- and soft-closing. As with roller runners, extension sliders are available in assorted lengths. These are not powder coated and generally have a bright or satin chrome finish.

Metal drawer sides have an integral drawer runner mechanism and are used as a substitute side panel for drawers. Again, this style of drawer runner is generally used on kitchen cabinetry.

Taking into consideration the variety of drawer runners available, we are going to start with a few tips for fitting and mounting metal drawer sides with runners.

NOTE: For this exercise we are fitting drawers allowing for an opening 420mm wide x 110mm high x 550mm deep. If you are installing drawers into a kitchen cabinet that does not have any drawer dividers between each drawer, mark and measure off the individual drawer sections before you start installing the drawers.

Measure the total width of the opening. In this case the opening is 420mm wide. The metal drawer sides and runners are 16mm width on each side, giving you a total of 32mm.

16 + 16 = 32mm

420mm – 32mm = 388mm

388mm is the width required for the drawer base and drawer back.

Now you know that your drawer back and base need to be 388mm wide. The length of the drawer base will be the actual depth of the drawer opening.

1. To attach the metal drawer sides place the front edge of the drawer side flush with the front of the drawer base. The rollers will be at the back.

2. Use 16mm screws to attach the metal drawer sides to the bottom of the drawer base.

3. The total height for the metal drawer side is 85mm, this allows for a drawer back height of 69mm to 70mm including the 16mm thickness of the base.

4. Attach an edging strip along the top of the drawer back before securing in place with 16mm screws as shown above.

5. Now you are ready to mount the runners onto the inside of the drawer cabinet.

We are fitting a metal drawer side with a total height of 85mm. To determine where to mount the drawer runner measure from the bottom of the drawer to the centre of the roller, which in our case is 81mm.

6. Before you mark the cabinet you need to make allowance for a 3mm gap at the base of the drawer, which will give us a total height of 84mm. Now you can use a carpenter’s square or steel rule to draw a line on the side of the cabinet that is 84mm up from the bottom of the opening. The drawer runners will be centred on this line, in other words 16mm screws will be drilled along the length of the drawn line to secure the drawer runners to the wide of the drawer opening.


If you are using a different size metal drawer side use the same method for determining the height for mounting the side runner, always allowing a 3mm gap underneath the drawer assembly.

Using this method you can install complete drawers with metal drawer sides into an open drawer cabinet or within individual drawer sections.

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