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sliding shelf installation in Arizona and Nevada

Arizona residents 
Pull out Shelf installation available

Slides for pull out shelves

One of the most important parts of a pull out shelf is the type and quality of the rails or slides used. While there are many different types of slides available the three most common drawer slides used for pullout shelves are European style (also called epoxy slides), Ball Bearing and under-mount slides.
 

European slides - Epoxy Coated

European slides come in both 3/4 and full extension versions. As the title suggest they are epoxy coated and the are available in several colors. The rolling system uses nylon wheels, one wheel on each member. Slides like the Blum 230  slides we use are captive on one side (usually the right). This means the wheel on the captive side rolls in a groove and is kept in place side to side. The other side of the slide is free so that it can move from side to side on the runner allow for tolerance if the shelf or the cabinet are not perfectly parallel to each other and to allow for easy installation. Other slides are captive on both sides. There must be some side to side movement as the shelf slides in and out and since both sides are captive the wheels must be able to move side to side on their axles. To accomplish this the axle length is increased to allow for the adjustment. The extra extension on the axle can provide more leverage and allow the axle to bend. This can give a bad name to a good slides. One of our local competitors uses slides like these and we have gone out on jobs to replace all of the shelves as the axles have bent over time. There are standard and self closing versions of these slides. Higher quality slides such as Blum and Grass use thicker steel and a larger diameter axle pin on the wheels. Cheaper versions have allot of flex in the slides due to the thin gauge metal and use a small diameter axle pin. It is not that easy to tell the difference in quality and some major companies are using some of the cut rate slides, Shelves That Slide will only use Blum Epoxy or European style slides
captive Euro slidedual captive slide fail

Cost $$ - high quality 3/4 extension slides are affordable while the full extension are quite pricey

Mounting - the 3/4 extension slides can be side mounted with spacers, base mounted with L brackets, rear mounted with plastic sockets and they are half shelf install friendly. The full extension version is much trickier to install and there is no rear mounting available. Half shelf installations are difficult as there is not hole in the very front of the slides

Pros

Wrap around support - European slides wrap around the side of the shelf sides and actually become part of the shelf structure. They do not just screw to the side of the shelf.

Gravity self close - The self closing slides have a slight drop in the back of the cabinet member and the front of the shelf member to use gravity to pull the shelf closed the last couple of inches. Since gravity does not wear out the self close feature works the same when first installed as it does 20 years latter.

Few moving parts - The European slides have a wheel on each slide member. The 3/4 extension have four slide members (Cabinet Left and Right and Drawer Left and Right). This means there are only four moving parts on the 3/4 extension and 6 on the full extension slides.

Cons

Price - While high quality European slides are quite affordable the full extension versions are pricey especially the extra depth slides

Visibility - The slides mount to the side of the shelves and can easily be seen when the shelf is pulled out

Space - Slides use 1" of space (1/2" on each side) so shelves must be made 1" smaller than the clear opening

Soft close - There is no soft close feature built into European slides. This is not usually an issue for pull out shelves as soft close means waiting for the shelf to close before closing the cabinet door

 

Ball Bearing slides

Ball bearing slides come in standard and full extension although most are full extension. They are zinc coated so they have the standard silver metal appearance. Full extension slides are captive on both sides so installation can be a bit trickier than European style. There are metal tabs on the slide that allow for some tolerance if the shelf and the cabinet are not perfectly matched. Usually the first time you slide the shelf in it is a bit stiff and then it adjusts and rolls very smoothly. The slides simply screw to the side of the shelf so they do not add any strength to the structure like the European slides do. As with any slides there are quality versions and low cost knock offs

Cost $ - $$$$ - The price varies depending on the quality. Ball bearing full extension slides are usually cheaper than the epoxy coated full extension equivalent and some are cheaper than the  quality 3/4 extension euro slides. High quality ball bearing slides can cost as much or more than the full extension epoxy slides

Mounting - Versatile mounting. Can be side mounted with spacers, base mounted with L brackets or rear mounted with metal rear brackets. They are half shelf friendly

Pros

Cost - Low cost for full extension slides

Mounting - Versatile for many different mounting configurations

Smooth - Ball bearing slides are exceptionally smooth rolling when installed correctly

Soft Close - Most full extension slides can be equipped with soft close

Cons

Structure - Ball bearing slides simply screw to the side of the pull out shelves, they provide not additional structure

Visibility - They attach to the side of the shelves and are probably the most visible when extended of all the slide styles

Space - The ball bearing slides use the same 1" as the European slides so the pull out shelf will be 1" smaller than the clear opening of the cabinet.

Moving parts - ball bearing slides have hundreds of small ball bearings that roll when the shelf is opened or closed. These balls can get gummed up over time especially with the grease that they are exposed to in a kitchen environment. It is quite common for them to lose their balls over time and then it is just a matter of time before the shelf stops rolling due to the missing ball bearings

Self Close - There is no self closing feature built into ball bearing slides but it can be added with a soft close module. This can be a problem as people tend to leave the last few inches extended and close them with the cabinet door which can damage the door.

Locking detent - The locking detent can require up to 15 pounds of pressure to start the shelf rolling

 

Under Mount Slides

Under Mount slides not surprisingly mount under the sliding shelf or drawer. Most are full extension and include a soft close. The common belief is that the under mount slides save space as most of the hardware is under the shelf. This is correct but the amount of space saved is actually quite minimal. Most Euro and Ball Bearing slides use 1/2" on each side of the shelf. The Under Mount slides use 5/16" on each side or 5/8" total. That means a shelf using under mount slides can be 3/8" wider than a shelf using the European or Ball Bearing slides. You do get a little more space but you spend allot of money to get that space. Under mount shelves require that the sliding shelf be specially made to work with the slides.  A large enough space is needed under the shelf to fit the slide hardware and the back needs to be cut out. They are really best suited for regular cabinet drawers that have a face and a handle

Cost $$$$$ - Under mount slides are the most expensive of the three major slide types

Mounting - Under mount slides are very limited in mounting. Base mount or side mount with build up are your choices

Pros

Smooth - Under mount slides are quite smooth

Soft Close - most Under Mount slides come with soft close built in

Visibility - They attach under the shelf and are nearly invisible when the shelf is extended

Space - They use the least amount of space, the shelf can be just 5/8" smaller than the opening saving you 3/8"

Cons

Cost - The highest cost

Mounting - Very limited mounting options

Structure - Although the under mount slides mount under the shelf they do not really add any structure

Moving parts - more moving parts than the European slides but less than the ball bearing

Soft Close - The soft close feature can be hard to overcome when starting to pull out the shelf

 

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