Getting a pretty and inexpensive dresser always feels like a lucky find, until you’ve used it for some time, and alas, the bottoms of the drawers start sagging. It can be quite frustrating, especially if left unrepaired for too long, leading to the complete destruction of the drawer. So, what is the solution to this furniture problem?
To fix a sagging drawer bottom depends on the materials you have and how badly damaged the drawer bottom is. If broken or cracked, you can replace the bottom panel with thicker plywood. The other simpler solutions involve reinforcing the bottom with braces or using square wood moldings.
In this article, we’ll give you detailed step-by-step guidelines on how to repair your drawer bottom using four different methods. Luckily, these are not very complex carpentry jobs, so you can do it yourself and restore your drawer to normal function in no time.
1. Replace the Thin Bottom With a Thicker Plywood
This first method of fixing a sagging drawer bottom is probably the hardest of the three. Even so, it’s still not too complex, as you will soon see.
If the bottom panel of your drawer is cracked or outrightly broken, then this is your go-to solution since replacing the broken bottom is inevitable. You can also choose this method if you want a more sturdy bottom that will last longer and withstand the heavier drawer contents.
Disassemble the Drawer and Remove the Bottom
The first step in this method is separating the flimsy bottom from the drawer. This will require you to disassemble the whole drawer. If you are the one who put together the furniture after purchasing it, then disassembling it simply involves reversing that process.
Go step by step, dismantling the joins and putting the drawer apart one piece at a time. If you still can’t figure out how to do this, then follow the instructions that came with the furniture. Take out everything from the drawer, including the dowels and screws.
Measure and Cut Out a New Bottom Panel
You can purchase a new bottom panel from the local hardware. Go for plywood that’s thicker than the original. ¼” sheets, for example, are a good size.
Lay down the plywood. Place the original bottom on top (aiming for a good corner) and race it out onto the plywood. Next, cut the plywood to create the replacement bottom.
Smoothen the Bottom Panel Using Sandpaper
To avoid ending up with splinters in your clothes or whatever contents you’ll put in the drawer, it’s advisable to smooth out the plywood’s surface using sandpaper.
You can easily purchase this online, for example, the 3M General Purpose Sandpaper Sheets. This sandpaper is easy to use and is particularly great for DIY projects, including woodworking, to be ideal for this venture.
Widen the Dadoes
Widening the dadoes should be done very carefully and patiently to ensure you don’t take too much material from the grooves. You can use a table saw to do this.
Make the dadoes wide enough to fit the new bottom without being too loose. Do this for the side pieces of the drawer, the back, and the front.
Reassemble the Drawer
Now that all the pieces are ready, you can now reassemble your drawer. The new bottom should fit snugly into the dado grooves.
If you knock on the plywood bottom, you can feel how more solid your improved drawer is. Now you can confidently store things in the drawer without worrying about it falling apart.
2. Use Braces to Hold the Bottom in Place
If you don’t want to replace the bottom of the drawer, you can use an alternative solution to fix sagging drawers.
The things you need to have are:
- Two metal corner braces per drawer
- A drill
- A length of timber (for supporting the bottom)
- A saw.
Measure and Cut the Piece of Support Timber
Measure the width of the drawer. Cut out a similar length of the piece of timber and position it underneath the drawer bottom. This timber should not go beyond the lower part of the drawer; otherwise, you won’t be able to fit the drawer back in its place.
Secure the Timber Underneath the Drawer
If you are working alone, you’ll have to secure the supporting timber in place as you move to the next step. Use masking tape for a temporary hold. You can also glue the timber in place, as this will also help reinforce it.
Drill the Braces on the Inside of the Drawer
With the timber in position, place the two corner braces on the inside of the drawer directly above the timber on the two opposite ends. One efficient set of braces you can use is the BIG TEDDY Corner Brace. You can get this on Amazon. It’s double-wide compared to other braces, so it’ll provide added reinforcement for your drawer bottom.
Drill in the brace down into the timber beneath. For the front-facing screws, ensure their length matches the width of the front of the drawer to avoid screws popping outside to the front of the drawer.
Place your drawer back into its place. You can now put in your clothes and other contents.
This method can also be used if the drawer has sagged from the sides. You only need to add two other pieces of supporting timber underneath the bottom of the drawer but along the sides.
3. Reinforce With Square Wood Moldings
One of the reasons the bottom of the drawer pops out so easily is because the dado grooves along the sides, front, and back are so tiny. You can correct this by adding square wood moldings along the edges of the drawer bottom.
This method is going to reinforce the drawer bottom and reduce any chances of it coming off from the grooves of the drawer.
Here are the things you’ll need:
- Square wood molding
- Wood glue
- Nails like brads
- Woodworking clamps (optional)
Measure and Cut the Square Moldings
Measure the length and width of the drawer and cut pieces of the square wood molding according to these lengths. Each of the moldings will be positioned on the respective side, front, or back of the drawer.
Glue the Square Moldings Underneath the Drawer
Position the drawer bottom back in place (push it into the grooves). If the edges are sagging too much and cannot stay in position, you can use the woodworking clamps for support.
Using the wood glue, glue every piece of square wood molding underneath the drawer. Leave them overnight to set.
Nail the Moldings in Place
Fasten the wood moldings in place by nailing them through to the sides. You can use brads but ensure they are of the correct length to prevent them from piercing through the sides, front, or back of the drawer.
Put your drawer back in its place. It’s now ready for use.
4. Get a Drawer Repair Kit
Fixing a sagging drawer bottom is not so complex. You can make it your next DIY project and work on all the faulty drawers in your home.
We’ve outlined three methods of fixing sagging drawers; replacing the thin and flimsy bottom with a more sturdy panel, using angle metal braces to hold the bottom in place, or reinforcing the drawer bottom using square wood moldings.
As a bonus, if your DIY skills are really poor, you can purchase a quick fix for your faulty drawers. The Fix a Drawer kit is a great solution that is reasonably priced and easy to install, so you don’t have to spend hours fixing furniture.
Here’s a video on how to use this kit:
The faster you fix any broken drawer bottom, the better since it will not worsen and destroy the furniture altogether.