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May 5, 2008 09:19 AM

Full Extension Kitchen Cabinet drawers

Hi CH'ers,

I'm currently undergoing a kitchen remodel, adding in new cabinets and appliances. We have 16 feet of countertop along one wall, 5 feet along another, and a 4X8 foot island. We were quoted at $13,000 for maple/plywood with a cherry finish, with some french glass door cabinets to show off a little. The cost also includes replacing the countertop with our choice of granite.

Construction has already started, and it is looking rather slick. The only thing I'm unhappy about is that the builder promised me that the drawers would be full extension; to my surprise they are not. He tells me not to worry, because my drawers are "extra long" so they won't slide out all the way. He says that the full extension drawers are just shorter boxes on the same frame, and why wouldn't I want a longer drawer so I can store more stuff? I'm not sure if he is pulling my leg or what.

What say ye, CH? Should I insist that he go ahead and replace the boxes with shorter boxes to make them "fully extended" or should I tell him he's full of baloney and that he needs to find me some full extension slides for the boxes I've got. Although it is true that the drawers that I have are longer than the ones in his showroom which are "full extension"

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  1. "Although it is true that the drawers that I have are longer than the ones in his showroom which are "full extension" " you write but you don't give measurements. How long are these drawers? Counter depth?

    When we built our home, we had a custom cabinetmaker make all the household cabinetry with full extension slides. These are not short drawers. On the 4X8 ft island, they measure 21" interior, front-to-back. There is a granite overhang of about 2 " per side so the cabinet depth is not the full 4 ft (21" X 2 sides = 42", add 4" overhand and we're pretty damned close to 48"). Depending on the depth of the countertops, our drawers change in size but "full extension" means axactly that. The drawers slides are bottom-mounted and will hold 200 pounds per drawer. (BTW, the drawer boxes are dovetailed 3/4" Baltic birch plywood if that helps you at all) No, I haven't tested them but I keep plates, bowls etc in several very large, deep drawers and I know the weight is substantial. They have performed flawlessly for six years and we couldn't be happier with them.

    NB: the moment someone tells me "not to worry" all flags become RED and I'm on full alert. You also write "The cost also includes replacing the countertop with our choice of granite." Another huge waving RED flag for me. Granite costs vary significantly with color; clear blue being extremely expensive. I cannot believe that your builder really means that you have this unlimited choice between "builder brown" on the low end and some of the very rare costly stuff. Re-read your cocntract. What's spelled out? I hope that it isn't too late for you to ask some very serious questions.

    1. Sheri is correct. I am not going to come right out and scream "liar liar" but slides come in "regular extension that leaves several inches (as much 1/4 of the full length) in the cabinet and full extension that, as the name clearly suggest extend the full stated projection. Are these 24" deep cabinets? 27" 30" -- those are all "stock" sizes from some manufacturers. That should have been spec'ed ahead of time. If they are BUILDING the drawers themselves, full extension slides do cost more than the 3/4 type and I would NOT insist they "find some" for you unless you can peacefully understand that these are going to cost more and that is an upcharge. If you squeeze them for stuff you can see they will squeeze you even harder for stuff you are unlikely to see. Not good at all.

      I also think the "granite of your choice" type promise is really "choose from the standard list of X". which is not a bad way to go, but different from acknowledging that different colors/grades of granite do in fact have some significant prices. Again, upcharge from the standards is not a bad way to run a business, but smart contractors like to deal with people in an "up front" way.

      How many quotes did you get? What made you pick these guys? DID THEY COME to you? Or did you get a referral???

      Please, for your own sake and sanity, keep an eye on everything they do, if you have to wave 'em off it'll be cheaper in the long run than if you have to hire somebody to undo their hidden screw-ups.

      1. Ah, he is defintely pulling your leg.

        Full extension lets you see the entire contents of the drawer, all the way out, beyond the edge of the box. A good heavy duty full extension slide, (by a company like Grant), will have metal rollers and the extension on the sides. There are some full extension hardware sets that are bottom mounted. Side mounted metal is best though.

        These can be mounted to any box. You can get them for drawers up to 30 inches in depth and for as shallow as 18 inches.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Felixnot

          "There are some full extension hardware sets that are bottom mounted. Side mounted metal is best though."

          Could you please explain why you write that side-mounted full extension drawer slides are superior to bottom-mounted? I'm very curious about this. Thanks.

          1. re: Sherri

            The support on the bottom of the drawer only creates a pivot effect at the point of support. Side mounts hold the drawer in a fixed position without a moment reaction. In most cases this is probably not an issue, and I have specified both. But, given the choice, I'd go with side mount every time. Of course, it's more expensive.

            1. re: Felixnot

              Using the Blum product, undermount is much more costly than side mounts and with 200 # load specification per unit, I agree that weight is probably not an issue with either. The deal-breaker for us was the sleek look of no visible hardware using undermount glides.

              Thank you for your prompt response. I hope this side discussion was of benefit to the OP.

        2. The only non-full extension drawers are the two spice drawers the jfoods placed under the cooktop. Andthese are a real pain in the butt to reach the "hidden" spices. The contractor also told jfood this size did not come full extension and given all theothers did, he believed him. But this is the least of your due diligence.

          Wrt the granite, take a seat my dear. It is not "our choice" of any granite. Others will comment as well but with a 4*8 island and 21 linear feet of counter, you are probably looking at 2 slabs. As others have stated, you have your blues on the high end and the Ubatuba and Verde on the low end on price. Also there are 2 thicknesses on countertop slabs and you want the thicker 1 1/4", as well as a a potential upcharge for a change in the edge (which is priced by the foot which you have at least 42'). Given your 13K price, no way it's "anything". You should read your contract VERY carefully on this or you may be looking at a skinny piece of "not your choice" granite as your only option or an upcharge that may knock your socks off.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            Just another comment on the granite. Jfood is correct about costs, etc. but you should be mindful that your 4 x 8 island should be a single slab. No cuts involved, as the slabs are usually 4 - 6feet by 8 to 9 feet. You must go to the granite yard and select the slab. Do not pick granite from a small sample. It's a natural product, looks different from one corner to the next.

            1. re: Felixnot


              Should have mentioned that the island should be slab 1 and the counter slab 2.

              jfood agrees with the see the slab at the yard and make sure they place your name with a marker on the side of the slabs.

          2. You can get full extension drawer glides in a lot of lengths. I've personally used
            48" ones and I'm sure they go much longer. However, the cheap ones stop at
            about 28" or so and for longer ones you're talking a jump from maybe $30 for
            the 28" ones up to $100 or so for 36" and much higher for longer ones. So it
            shouldn't be difficult to replace with longer ones, but don't be surprised if he
            adds to your bill.

            You should also be sure that there's enough room for a full extension in front of
            the drawer. It wouldn't make much sense if, say, the drawer came out so far it
            hit an island or the table or something.

            Although technically he's pulling your leg, what probably happened is he priced
            out the cabinets based on a standard length, number of drawers, etc formula
            and then when he got to building it he noticed there was some extra depth available
            and took advantage of it thinking you'd appreciate it. So don't get too medieval on him.