How to replace shelves in kitchen cabinets.

Hi,
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?
Thanks
Alex
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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 particle board.
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.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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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
Joe
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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.
aem sends...
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Hi,
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 in?
Thanks
Alex

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alex wrote:

Can you: 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 end out.
?
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?
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alex wrote:

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 long.
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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 it.
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alex wrote:

Tip them.
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I replaced my sagging particleboard shelves with real wood. I had to remove by doors in order to get the shelves out.
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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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