What are Drawer Slides?

Drawer slides, also known as drawer glides, are the hardware that allow drawers to smoothly open and close on a mounted cabinet. The slides consist of two main components:

  • The cabinet member – This piece is screwed directly onto the cabinet frame and does not move. It has a track that the drawer member piece slides back and forth on.
  • The drawer member – This piece is attached underneath the drawer and slides back and forth on the cabinet member track.

Having high-quality drawer slides is important for ensuring smooth drawer movement and preventing issues like sticking or sagging overtime. The slides allow access to storage space within cabinets and make it easy to open and close drawers as needed.

Are Drawer Slides Pre-Installed on RTA Cabinets?

The majority of ready-to-assemble cabinet brands do not come with pre-installed drawer slides. There are a few exceptions, but typically the drawer slides will need to be separately purchased and properly mounted during the RTA cabinet assembly process.

Here are some reasons why drawer slides are not usually pre-attached:

  • Customization – Since RTA cabinets come in a variety of sizes, keeping drawer slides unattached allows for custom positioning based on the specific drawer dimensions.
  • Easier Shipping – Leaving slides unattached reduces weight and creates a flatter packing box for more cost-effective shipping.
  • Prevention of Damage – Separately packaged slides are less likely to get damaged or bent during shipping compared to pre-attached.

While installing drawer slides requires an additional installation step, it gives more flexibility in choosing the optimal slides and customizing placement.

Installation Tips for RTA Cabinet Drawer Slides

Installing high-quality drawer slides is important for proper function and smooth gliding. Here are some tips:

  • Carefully follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for process and placement. Using a tape measure and level helps get positioning right.
  • Most slides use screws to be mounted securely. Prevent stripping by pre-drilling pilot holes before inserting screws.
  • For easier movement, lubricate slide portions with a dry silicone spray after installing. This helps prevent sticking.
  • When possible, use soft-close slides. These gently catch and slow the drawer when closing, preventing slamming.
  • Make sure drawer members are straight and parallel. Crooked slides can lead to problems gliding.
  • Test that drawers open and close smoothly once slides are installed. Adjust if needed before permanently securing.

Properly installing quality drawer slides is a key step in getting the most out of RTA cabinets. Taking time to attach them correctly will lead to better performance and convenience.

What Types of Drawer Slides are Best for RTA Cabinets?

While there are various options, three main types of drawer slides work well for most RTA cabinet installations:

Ball Bearing Slides

  • Very smooth rolling from metal ball bearings between the slide portions
  • Allows easy and lightweight drawer opening
  • More affordable than other types
  • Available in side-mount or undermount styles

Full Extension Slides

  • Allows drawer to fully extend out from the cabinet frame
  • Provides complete access to the back of the drawer interior
  • More heavy duty than ball bearing slides
  • Easy to install and adjust

Soft-Close Slides

  • Uses spring technology to gently catch and slow closing drawer
  • Prevents slamming for smoother and quieter operation
  • More luxury feel than standard slides
  • Minimizes wear and tear over time

Consider factors like budget, cabinet use, and ease of installation when selecting which type of slide to purchase. High quality materials and proper mounting will lead to the best performance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Drawer Slides and RTA Cabinets

Are all RTA cabinet brands the same regarding drawer slides?

No, there can be some variability. Some RTA brands like Barker Cabinets pre-install their drawer slides before shipping. But the majority require drawer slide installation during assembly. Check with the specific brand prior to purchase.

Should I choose metal or wood drawer slides?

Metal slides with steel ball bearings provide the smoothest function. Wood slides are more prone to warping and sticking over time. High quality metal slides are recommended for best performance with RTA cabinets.

How are undermount slides different than side-mount?

Side-mount slides attach to the cabinet frame sides, while undermount slides mount underneath the drawer box. Undermount provides better weight support but side-mount is easier to install. Either can work well with RTA cabinets.

Can I retrofit soft-close slides if my cabinets don’t have them?

Many standard slides can be upgraded to soft-close versions. This involves replacing the cabinet member portion with a soft-close mechanism. Drawer members may also need replacement if not compatible.

How do I know what size drawer slides to get?

Measure the depth and width of existing drawers. Slide size should match those dimensions. If installing new cabinets, refer to the manufacturer’s slide recommendations.

Final Thoughts

Knowing that most ready-to-assemble cabinets require drawer slide installation during the assembly process allows for proper planning and budgeting when undertaking an RTA cabinet project. Investing in high-quality slides specifically matched to drawer dimensions and properly installing them insures everything functions smoothly for the life of the cabinets. With the right materials, tools, and techniques, even novice DIYers can successfully mount drawer slides during RTA cabinet assembly. Taking the time to do it right leads to a quality finished product.