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How to install pullout sliding shelves

Installation instructions for kitchen pull out shelves

Instructions for installing other items will be included with item whenever available

Use the sliding shelf

The #1 tip on installing our sliding shelves is to let the sliding shelf be your tool for adjusting the drawer glides. There are points in every method of installation that will be easiest to accomplish when you use the sliding shelf as your guide. The drawer slides that we use have a control side and a free side. The right side slides are the control side, the track that the wheel rolls in is a captive one. The metal is bent around the wheel and the wheel will only track in that groove. The left side slide is the free side that allows for adjustment of the assembly. For this reason it is very important to pay attention to the left side slide for any problems with slide alignment with your sliding shelves will show up on the left side. 

Shelf Clips

If you are mounting to an existing shelf you should check to make sure it is held securely in place. Look to see what type of clips are holding the shelf up, if the clips are plastic they should be replaced before installing the sliding shelves. When the sliding shelf is extended all of the weight will be on the front clips and if they are plastic they can break at the worst possible time. Metal shelf clips in both 5 mm (about 3/16") and 1/4" are available on our hardware page. It is also important to make sure the back of your shelf is secured down or else it will tip up when the sliding shelf is extended. We usually secure the back of the shelf by installing a screw on each side of the shelf either to the back wall or the back of the side walls. We leave the head of the screw sticking out 1/4" or more just on top of the adjustable shelf so that the extended head keeps the shelf from tipping. Make sure you do not put the screw through an exposed wall or cabinet back.

Full Shelf installation

One of the easiest installation methods is when mounting the sliding shelf to the cabinet base or an existing full depth shelf. If you order your sliding shelf with the full shelf mounting the drawer slides will come with two L brackets attached on each side. Set the slides in place in your cabinet with the wheels facing forward. Next set your shelf with the front angled up in place by lifting the wheels at the rear of the shelf over the wheels on the front of the cabinet glides. Slide the shelf into the closed position. If the left side glide comes out of place you can slip it back into position without removing the shelf. Align the shelf in the cabinet and make sure the cabinet part of the slides are all the way to the front of the shelf. Put a slight downward pressure on the shelf and extend it far enough to expose the rear brackets. Install a screw in the right to left slotted hole closest to the slide member and tighten. You can now close the shelf again and re-check your alignment. Repeat the process for the other side and then  again for the front of the slides. If the slides move while installing you can simply close the shelf and re-align them. When you have one screw in each bracket you can open and close the shelf a few times and check the adjustment looking at the left side slide. There should be about 1/16" to 1/8" of play in the slides. If the slide is too tight or too loose simply loosen the screw in one of  the brackets (front or rear whichever needs adjustment) and move the bracket the correct direction and tighten. Remember to pay careful attention to the left side slide if the gap is too large in the rear the shelf will roll great but as soon as you add weight you will get a bump when you slide it out. After you have the shelf adjusted correctly you need to add a second screw in each bracket using the center hole to lock the slide in place.

Half shelf 

The second method of installing sliding shelves is mounting to a half depth shelf in the back of the cabinet. You will need a small level, preferably one with a magnetic strip on one side. Check the existing shelf to make sure it is secure and can not lift up. Also check to make sure the hardware that supports the existing shelf is metal. If you have plastic hardware and plan on loading more than lightweight items into the shelf you will have to replace the hardware with metal. The slides for your half shelf installation will have one metal "L" shaped bracket mounted toward the rear. The end with the wheels is the front! If you have brackets in the rear and front, the front ones will not be needed and should be removed. Set the rear bracket on the existing shelf and place the front edge of the slide against the cabinet face frame, back about 3/16" from the front. Place your level on the slide and level it. When you have the slide level mark the location of the front hole in the slide. You can then measure the height and make a corresponding mark on the other side face frame. It is best to drill a small pilot hole to prevent splitting, before screwing the slide in place. After you have the front of the slides attached you can set the shelf in place by lifting the wheels on the rear of the shelf slides over the wheels on the front of the cabinet slides. Pay careful attention to the right side slide.  Insert the shelf all the way into the cabinet and align the shelf to be square with the cabinet front. If there is too much space between the cabinet face frames you will need to insert spacers or washers to build out. You can order spacers from us in various sizes. Check the alignment of the left side slide and when it is properly aligned press down slightly on the shelf and extend it far enough to see the rear bracket. Place a screw in the left to right slotted hole closest to the slide and tighten moderately. Reinsert the shelf and check slide alignment. When alignment is correct repeat the process of extending the shelf and insert a screw in the other side's bracket. Again insert the shelf and adjust as needed. When everything is aligned extend the shelf again and place a screw in the center hole of each bracket to lock it in place. Note When using Full Extension slides: The full extension slides do not have a hole in the front of the cabinet member. To use a full extension slide with a half shelf mount you must either use spacers or side build up to attach the slide to the cabinet sidewall or you may use a wood block on the back of the face frame to get the proper set back for the slide-out shelving.

Rear socket mount

Note: Rear Sockets can not be used with Blum full extension slides

Rear mount sockets are for mounting shelves where there is no existing shelf to mount to. The first step is to determine the height that you want the shelf. Make a mark on both cabinet face frames for the bottom of the shelf. Insert the cabinet slides partially into the plastic sockets (you must have specified a rear socket mount when ordering) note the brackets are different for left and right sides. Attach the front end of the slides (the end with the wheels) to the cabinet face frame where you marked. You will need to push the slide slightly against the back wall of the cabinet to get the socket seated to the correct depth. Install the shelf by lifting the rear end of the shelf slides (the end with the wheels) over the wheels on the front of the cabinet slides. Slide the shelf in completely and align it to be square with the front of the cabinet. Now comes the fun part. Make a line on the back wall to mark the position of each slide for the side to side placement. You can now remove the shelf and place a level on the cabinet slide. Align the slide with the previous line that you made and level the height. Now you can either install one screw in the socket or mark another line for the vertical position. Repeat this process for the other side and after you have one screw in each socket reinstall the shelf and check for proper operation. Once you have the shelf adjusted, install at least one more screw in each socket. If you are having trouble getting the shelf to slide smoothly make sure the slides are parallel to each other and not twisted. 


Side mount method

Another option for mounting shelves in cabinets that do not have an existing shelf is side mounting. You can purchase spacers from our store to build up the space so you can mount to the cabinet side walls. The disadvantage is the cabinet side walls are often only 1/2" thick or less and you may not be able to attach the spacers securely.  A great alternative for pantries is to install vertical strips of wood on both sides (two on each side, one near the front and the other near the back) that provide the proper filling to match the space behind the cabinet face frame and the inside of the sidewall. A side mount installation can be the strongest and most space efficient installation. It is best to use a piece of wood the same thickness as the space behind the face frame that runs from the bottom of the cabinet to above the height that you want the shelf installed. You may need to double up the wood to get the right size. You can glue and screw this wood in place to make a secure attachment. After the wood is installed you can install the slides at the proper heights and put the shelves in place. Due to the fact that cabinets are often out of square it may be necessary to use spacers or washers to take care of any wide spots. 

Door Protector   

 kitchen accessories kitchen gadgets pull out shelves

 The purpose of the door protector is of course to protect the door. The plastic sticks out about 1/16" more than the drawer slide to keep you from scratching the door in case it is not opened fully before sliding out the shelf.  Usually one door protector is desired per shelf. If you have a cabinet with two doors closing on one shelf (a door on both the left and right side with no center divider) you will need two door protectors per shelf. Please order the door protectors from our hardware page. No door protectors are needed for the economy shelves due to the extended front wood trim. The door protector is mounted to the side of the shelf. Just screw the door protector to the side of the shelf (one screw). Watch for hinge clearance and if the door has a recessed panel make sure you mount the door protector as low as possible to avoid being at the same height as the recessed part thereby letting the slide contact the door. Door protectors do not work with standard height shelves with full extension slides.

Important note

Make sure to read all of the instructions on this page. These instructions are only meant to be a guide and they can not cover every possible installation. Sliding shelves are fairly easy to install for the average homeowner and can take as little as five minutes or less to install. It is important that you be able to determine the soundness of your installation. If you are not comfortable with your ability to determine the quality of your installation you should seek advice and possibly hire someone else to review the job or do the installation for you. We have had successful installations by young mothers with helping toddler hands, elderly women whose husbands sat and watched and business professionals who had never attempted a do it yourself project. We have not had anyone return the shelves because they were unable to install them (unless they ordered wrong and then the shelves were remade).

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