Advice | Can broken kitchen drawers be replaced? Maybe, but it’s not easy.

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Q: Within the Nineteen Eighties, we reworked our kitchen with cabinetry from the German maker Geba. I nonetheless love the look, however among the drawers have to be repaired. They’re fabricated from plastic, which has cracked and damaged. The entrance panel has come off a few drawers, and among the drawer runners have damaged. Can new drawers and runners be put in with the unique cabinetry entrance panel reattached, so the look stays the identical?

A: A number of corporations earn a living by promoting new cupboards when just a few easy repairs would make the prevailing ones work simply effective. Home Depot’s website includes a primer on a few of these, together with tips on how to repair a entrance panel that wobbles, tips on how to shut gaps on the underside of the drawer and tips on how to tighten or substitute sliders. You usually simply have to tighten a screw or two, or drill new pilot holes, so the screws attaching the slides or the drawer entrance chew into one thing extra strong than stripped holes.

In your case, going again to the producer for alternative drawers and drawer slides isn’t an possibility. Geba, like many cupboard manufacturers, was acquired by one other firm, then one other. Putting in new drawers — fabricated from plywood and even hardwood, not plastic — needs to be attainable, although it’s neither low cost nor simple. Except you might be particularly helpful, you most likely would wish to rent an skilled cabinetmaker. And relying on what number of drawers have to be changed, you would possibly run into an issue discovering somebody to do the work.

There are methods to order alternative drawers from corporations specializing in transport custom-cut elements which might be able to assemble. The Cabinet Door Store, for instance, advertises that it may well provide a prefinished plywood drawer field for as little as $13.99 and one fabricated from Baltic birch with dovetail joints for $14.99. However for those who mess around with the corporate’s pricing device, you’ll uncover that these beginning costs will cowl a drawer about 5 inches extensive, 5 inches deep and three inches excessive. A dovetailed drawer 20 inches extensive, 20 inches deep and 5 inches excessive is $50.82. Even that value would possibly seem to be a cut price technique to restore your cupboards. However, sadly, it isn’t that easy.

How to renovate your kitchen on a budget, from $1,000 to $15,000

From the images you despatched, the plastic drawers in your cupboards seem to have been molded in order that the drawer slides tuck into sides of the drawers. There isn’t any technique to reuse these slides (and also you observe that some have damaged). When you get plywood drawers, the slides would wish to mission past the perimeters of the drawer field, which suggests the inside dimensions of the drawer will most likely be smaller than what you have got now.

Drawer slides are available in a bewildering array of kinds, with some mounting on the perimeters of the drawer, others on the underside aspect edges and others below the drawer, on the middle. Typical side-mounted slides, that are most likely what you want, take up about ½ inch on both sides of the drawer, so the skin drawer dimensions have to be about one inch lower than the width of the opening.

When you plan to place actually heavy issues within the drawer, you would possibly want heavy-duty slides, which carry as much as 400 kilos quite than the extra typical 100 kilos. These would possibly want ¾-inch clearance on both sides. And if maximizing a drawer’s inside width is a precedence, and the drawer doesn’t want to carry heavy issues, you may want slides designed to be recessed a part of the way in which into the drawer sides, reminiscent of Slim-Line slides (beginning at $6.70 for a pair from Lee Valley); fitted right into a groove ¼-inch deep on every drawer aspect, they want solely ¼-inch of aspect clearance.

In lots of development tasks, it’s effective to chop components barely larger, then trim as wanted for an ideal match. However there isn’t any sensible technique to repair a drawer that’s too massive, so the drawer must be made on the exact width wanted or perhaps a hair much less. (It’s attainable to shim the slides to accommodate a drawer that’s barely too slender.)

Attaching the brand new slides to the cupboard bins can be tough. The slides have to be completely degree and at precisely the identical top, and that top must match the place the mating items connect to the drawer sides. Then the outdated drawer entrance must be hooked up to the brand new drawer, so it aligns completely with any neighboring cupboard doorways or drawer fronts.

To make all of this work, you’ll most likely want to rent an skilled cabinetmaker to determine the particular slides and drawer dimensions, and to put in the components. That particular person would most likely additionally need to make the drawer bins. In any other case, the job can be too small to warrant the time.

Pascal Laigle, proprietor of Pascal’s Woodworking in Silver Spring, Md., (301-593-7654; stated that you’d most likely wind up spending about $200 to $250 a drawer. Whether or not he would tackle the job would depend upon the size of the mission and the opposite jobs he’s juggling.

Earlier than you put money into drawer replacements, Laigle recommends fastidiously evaluating the circumstances of different cupboard components, so that you don’t make costly repairs, then resolve a short while later to exchange the whole lot. In one of many footage you despatched, he seen a spot the place the laminate protecting over the bottom cupboard materials (plywood or particleboard) may be coming free. That’s fixable, too, however repairs do add up.

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