gluing/screwing laminated particleboard

The drawers in my kitchen are made out of that laminate coated particle board. The 4 sides of the carcasses are stapled together, with an oak front attached with screws.
Last week, my wife pulled the front off of one of the drawers. The staples simply split the edges from the front piece of particle board. I plan on fixing this particular drawer by replacing the broken piece with 1/2" birch plywood, but I'm wondering if I can preemptively stop the other drawers from breaking in the same way. Would pre-drilling and screwing add any reinforcement, or would this just add new places to split. I could probably force thin glue into the existing seams, but things don't like to stick to laminate. My wife thinks redoing all of the drawers would be a nice option, but she apparently thinks this would only be a 15-20 minute job, as currently, that's about all of the free time I have.
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Ken replace it with 3/4" ply and you will be okay, I get people bringing drawers in all the time made the way yours is, It is not because it is Particle board, the problem is because it is 1/2 Particle board I have hundreds of drawers out there stapled with butt joints and 3/4" particle board and do not get any call backs 1/2" just does not cut it, everytime that drawer shuts it pushes against wood that is already comprimized because it is only 1/2" I am willing to bet it is more than likely the drawer she has the silver ware in or the drawer that gets the most usage in your house, Won't be long the other drawers are headed for the same fate. 1/2" for side 3/4" for front and back. Good Luck, George

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says...

Actually it was one of the lesser used drawers that broke. That's why I'm concerned about the rest. I had some 1/2 birch that I used to fix the broken one, since we have people coming over for the holidays. I'll grab some 3/4 for when the rest break. Knowing my luck, that will ensure that they all stay together.

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That's what happens to crappy drawers. When the drawer front hits the front of the cabinets it stops dead but the weight in the drawer wants to keep going and so the drawer eventually falls apart. You want a fastener that does not rely simply on screws wanting to pull out. The particle board they are screwed into has insufficient strength to withstand the withdrawal force. Your best bet would be to bite the bullet and replace the drawers. Maybe no more time consuming than repairing them as you propose. You don't have to do them all at once. For one thing edge gluing the particle board sides to a ply front won't hold. For a quick fix I think you need a better joint with more surface area, like dowels. Another thing you could do is to adjust the drawer slides forward a bit so that the drawer bottoms out on the slide rather than slam into the cabinet.
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