In my house the kitchen cabinets are fine but the shelves are sagging.
I can't see how the shelves were installed into the cabinets as they
are too large to fit through the doors.
All I can think is that the shelves were added before the backs of the
cabinets were screwed on.
Has anyone faced this problem before and have a suggestion on how I
can replace the shelves on these kitchen cabinets?
The shelves are likely mounted in dados (grooves) in the side panels,
probably with both glue and staples. Further glue and staples attach
the shelves to the back and front. They're most likely made from
You'll have a tough time getting the old shelves out without damaging
the cabinets. First, you'll have to take them off the wall -- a two-man
job at least. Then, you'll have to remove the back and try to get the
shelves to come out. If they're well-fastened, you may have to break
them to get them out. Then you have to clean out the dados, cut new
shelves to fit, and mount them with more glue and fasteners.
All-in-all, you'll wish you had just bought new cabinets.
I recommend you put supports under the existing shelves. Cut some 1x2
poplar to fit across the width of the shelf, then nail it
narrow-side-up at the front, back, and middle (if needed) of the shelf.
You can also check with a local cabinet shop about having new carcasses
made to which you can apply your existing face frames and doors.
Good advice indeed, but cabinet removal is easily a one man job if you
get a HelpingHand (or whatever it's called) support from Amazon.com.
It will hold the cabinets for installation, too...definitely a
remodelers tool. I've found that backings can usually be popped off
since few manufacturers bother with glue, just staples. Same way with
shelves if you're lucky. HTH
More likely, the shelves went in before the front frames went on. What is
the body of the cabinet made of, and how old are they? If these are typical
modern chipboard crap (printed woodgrain over particle board), the shelves
probably can't be replaced in any practical manner, since the whole thing is
basically glued together. You could try screwing cleats to the sides, and
piecing in the shelves using strips of suitable wood maybe 8" wide.
I'd only sink money and time into an attempted repair if the boxes
themselves were real wood in good condition. Otherwise, I'd cut some pieces
of dowel rod to jam-fit in there to prop up the sags, and start saving up
for new cabinets.
thanks for all the info but I should have been more exact. The shelves
are free and mounted on shelf pins. You know the shelf support type
that fit into a little hole.
So I could cut the shelves and get them out but I can't see how to get
new shelves in there because of their length. That's the problem.
Do cabinet makers generally put shelves in before the back in screwed
1) remove the pins.
2) rotate the shelves (front down, back up) so that they are vertical.
3) put the right end (say) into the right rear corner, and pull the left
or, if that doesn't work, and these are not double cabinets:
1) remove all the pins
2) drop all but the upper most shelf to the bottom,
3) take the top shelf and raise the left (say) end to the corner of
the opening. Keep the right end at the bottom.
Does it clear the corner?
The shelves almost have to have been put in place after the cabinets
were put together and in place. You should be able to turn the shelves
up and then swing the ends, one toward rear corner and the other toward
a front corner. I have the same kind in my kitchen cabs, but not very
In that case, you CAN get them out through the front. Empty them out, pull
all the pins, and maybe one of the doors. Rotate the shelf to a vertical
position, blocking the doors. Push one end to the back. You should now have
enough clearance at the other end to bring it out through the door opening,
unless the shelf is deeper than the door is tall. Fabricate new shelfs of
stiffer wood, like plywood with a hardwood front trim, and replace. Getting
in back in will take 3 hands, to juggle shelf and place the pins back under
I'm assuming you are smart enough to have thought of the suggestions
offered, and therefore they won't work. (but I could be wrong.)
You cuold probably think of this one too, but consider just flipping
each shelf over. If it was sagging before, it will sag up now and
eventually get back to neutral. I've done this with my linen closet.
I flipped the shelf. Then I nailed a piece of one by two or smaller
in the middle of the back so after it got back to neutral it wouldn't
go any lower. So far so good.
(I used my stud finder to find the stud to nail that thing, and then I
couldn't find my stud finder for 6 months, so be careful. :) )
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