Do you have problems with your drawers? Of course, we’re talking about the ones you keep kitchen utensils and clothes in. Drawers may have appeared not to change much through the years, but inside, the mechanics have.

Here are suggestions and tips to keep your drawers operating smoothly, and how to fix them if they are not!

The first drawers actually ran on wooden rails. There usually would be a slot on the drawer, along the bottom or sides, and a rail on the dresser itself. You can rub wax, a candle or even a bar of soap on the wooden pieces to lubricate them. Over time, these wooden rails can wear down or split. They actually still make wooden replacements that are available at several online sites, or you can fashion your own.

Metal parts started taking over this role later on, and there are a plethora of designs for keeping drawers moving smoothly. These are much easier to work with and are fairly easy to install. If you are replacing just a damaged part, you can remove the damaged piece and take it with you to the hardware store to buy a suitable replacement.

If you need new drawer glides, you will need to know a couple of things: how deep the drawer is from the front to the inside back of the cabinet, and how much weight you expect to support.

You will have the option of a center slide or side rails. You’ll probably also need to get out your level, a square, a pencil and a few shims. Just follow the package directions, making sure your measurements and marks are accurate. You also might consider replacing the included screws with better versions. Predrilling for the screws also will help you get them in easily and without damaging the wood.

Upgrades also are available and include self-closing drawers.

Do your homework and set aside some time, and you can take care of just about anything around your home. Good luck!


Q: We want to install a hand rail on our front steps. I’m not sure how this is done, but I want to try to do it myself. Can you give me more information? – E.L.

A: Look around and talk to companies that supply metal fence parts for your railings. Most are easy to install with masonry anchors and epoxy. You’ll need a good drill with a masonry bit. Anchor it to the steps and to your structure if you can. Another interesting source for decorative railings might be a salvage yard. You might find a real treasure.


Q: We have a sunroom that is full of plants. Once it gets nice outside again, I want to paint the floor, which is plain concrete. What kind of prep is needed before I do this, and how can I make it look nice? – H.T.

A: Use TSP to clean the floor thoroughly. After it is completely dry, use epoxy paint. Some will require an acid etch, so read and follow the package directions. This paint will last much longer than any other paint. There are some nice-looking exterior rugs these days too. You can just hose them off if they get dirty.


“The Home Book: A Complete Guide to Homeowner and Homebuilder Responsibilities” is a super reference for all homeowners. When things come up, like a faulty ceiling fixture or cracked driveway, this book will explain what it can mean to you, what your responsibility is in repairing it and what your builder might be responsible for. Valuable information also is included on costs, codes and cures for everything that can go wrong in your home. The glossary and index will make looking up a wide variety of issues easy. Check it out at your home center or bookstore. Additional information also is available at

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to the Super Handyman at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.