Replace Drawer Glides in 5 Steps

A close-up image of a drawer glide.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-150
What You'll Need
Phillip’s head or slotted screwdriver
Tape measure
New glides and slides
Extra screws
What You'll Need
Phillip’s head or slotted screwdriver
Tape measure
New glides and slides
Extra screws

New drawer glides can give a desk or cupboard drawer a whole new feel. When old drawer slides become broken, sticky or non-functional, replace the drawer slides for a whole new look.

Step 1 - Remove the Drawer

To remove the old slides, you’ll need to remove the drawer from the box.

Pull the drawer carefully out as far as it will go. Lift the front of the box up at a 45-degree angle. If this is not successful at freeing the drawer, pull up on the back of the drawer.

If you still encounter difficulties freeing the drawer, look for drawer locks or swing latches that prohibit the drawer from coming all the way out of the box.

Often you can bypass these latches by pushing the drawer in slightly, then moving the latches to the side to release the slides.

Step 2 - Remove Old Slides

white open drawer on a cabinet

Take all hardware completely off of the old drawer. Watch for rollers or wheels on the back of the drawer.

You may need to use either a Phillip’s head or slotted screwdriver for this task, and on some drawers, you will need to simply pry staples out of the drawer.

Use care so you do not strip screw holes or damage the wood. Then remove glides from the inside of the cabinet using the same techniques. You should end up with a clean drawer and drawer box.

Retain the old glides.

Step 3 - Measure for New Glides

Take a flexible tape measure and measure the length of the drawer slides. Make a sketch noting the length as well as the width of each slide.

You will want to take a sample with you if you go to a home improvement store to buy new slides. If you order online, you’ll want to have a sample beside you as you order for comparison.

If you are replacing the slides on multiple drawers, be sure you measure the slides from each drawer individually. The variation can be surprising, even in the same unit.

As you note each slide length, also measure and make note of the drawer box length to see if it will accommodate a longer slide.

Each length is not always available, and you’ll want to know if you’re able to be flexible.

Step 4 - Purchase New Glides

installing drawer slides

With the sample in hand, visit a home improvement store or a specialty website. Search all the new options for drawer glides, including the soft close options.

Step 5 - Install New Glides

Align the glides properly for installation. Finish one drawer at a time.

Begin by laying the glides out over the drawer box and in the drawer, making sure you have lined up right sides with right sides and left with left. Check the markings for front and back to save yourself redoing a task later.

Attach the slides to the drawer box inside the cabinet first. Align the slides and use the measurements from the previous slides to be sure they are level. Screw the glides in.

Repeat for the drawer slides.

Replacing your drawer glides can be necessary, and is much cheaper than replacing the whole piece of furniture. You can use the saved money to purchase a new piece!