How Much Space to Leave for Drawer Slides: Beginner’s Guideline

The cabinets in your house come with typically standardized drawers and openings. The slides consist of three types of openings namely the bottom mount, the side mount, and the center mount slides. For any type of slide, you need to calculate how much space to leave for drawer slides for a perfect set-up.

At first, you need to begin with the instruction manual for installation. Make sure to maintain proper drawer overlay and drawer slides accordingly. Then, measure the size of the cabinet drawer based on the type of drawer slides. In this way, you can maintain accurate space for drawer slides.

Being a beginner, you may find it difficult but it isn’t really. I’m here to help you find how much space to leave for metal slides of the cabinet drawers. So, let’s get started!

How Much Space to Leave for Drawer Slides

Why to Leave Space for Drawer Slides?

If you don’t keep any space, you won’t be able to install the slides in the first place. As the width and the thickness of the slides can not be changed, it is best to build a drawer box for the cabinet to fit before assembling.

Again, different types of drawer slides demand different mounting spaces on each side of the drawer. So, you should leave adequate space for drawer slides. See how to measure drawers for slides in detail.

How Much Space to Leave for Drawer Slides?

There are different types of drawer slides but three of them are the most prominent ones. These are:

  • Under mount drawer slides
  • Center mount drawer slides
  • Side mount drawer slides

The drawer opening and the overlay of these cabinet slides are different from each other. Let’s find out how much clearance do I need for full extension drawer slides?

1. Under Mount Drawer Slides

Under-Mount Drawer Slides

This type of drawer slide is mostly used under drawer openings of kitchen cabinets. It takes the support of the frame sides with strong support. Also, the bottom mount drawer slides are pretty easy to install.

You can order any width of drawers and fix it with a bottom mount. However, the general guideline for making a width for the cabinet drawers for the under mount is, the drawer is smaller by ¾ inches from both sides in total.

Leave a half-inch (13mm) space from both sides of the slide, 1/4-inch (7mm) narrow space for the bottom of the box, 5/8-inch (16mm) space for the top of the drawer.  Overall, you need a drawer of 10 and a half inches in width if the opening of the drawer box measures 12-inches.

2. Center Mount Drawer Slides

YENUO, Heavy Duty Drawer Slide (1)

The center mount drawer slides are designed to install at the center-bottom of the drawer box. It is also pretty straightforward to install and shouldn’t take more than an hour to install in any cabinet drawer.

Center mount slides are mostly used for the cabinets where we keep lightweight commodities. The drawer should be 1/4-inch to ½-inch smaller than the size of the opening of the cabinet.

Again, the height of the drawer sides should have at least 3/8-inches clearance from the cabinet opening.

3. Side Mount Drawer Slides

Side-Mount Drawer Slides

Side mount drawer slides are attached to the sides of the drawer box. You’ll be able to see the slides once you open the box.

For most side mount slides, you will require to leave ½-inch to 17/32-inch space on each side of the drawer. This refers that each of the drawers should be at least 1-inch to 1-1/16-inch shorter than the cabinet opening to fit perfectly.

So, these are the measurements for different types of slides. There’re so many other problems you may encounter other than leaving proper space for slides. See how to fix a soft close drawer that slams which is a very common one for instance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Should drawer slides be as long as the drawer?

Typically, drawer slides are available in different lengths with increments of about 2 inches. To utilize most of the space at the back of the cabinet, slides should be as long as possible.
But you need to consider various obstacles within the cabinet. Usually, side-mount ball-bearing slides should be as long as the drawer box. For other types of slides, make sure to go through the spec sheets in order to work properly.

2. How do I correctly measure the drawer box?

While measuring the drawer, remove it completely from the cabinet. The slide may already have a release lever or the drawer may be lifted and removed for measuring depending upon the type of slide you’re using. Then, take the measurement of the drawer box. The front face isn’t a part of the box.

3. How much space should be between drawers?

The most important factor to choose space between drawers is remembering that the difference between the drawer and its opening should be around ¾ inch.
For example, if the opening of the drawer measures 4 inches vertically, the height of the drawer should be 3-1/4 inches. It allows you to attach the slides. See how to use spacers to layout drawer slides below.

how to use spacers to layout drawer slides

Final Words

So, from the article, you should know how much room do you leave for drawer runners? I’ve provided the exact values that you can use for different mounting slides.

If you face difficulties with the slides even after installing them properly, see how to make drawer slides smoother. Thank you.

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