Fixing Particle Board Cabinets


Most cabinets have some particleboard in them. Some of it is obvious in shelving and jambs. Some has been covered by laminate or paint, but it's there. Nothing is wrong with particleboard. In some ways it is superior to plywood. It normally won't warp, and you can rip it or cross cut it without worrying about grain pattern. But particleboard does have its limitations. Edges break off, letting the shelving fall loose, and the pins on adjustable shelves get loose. You can fix them permanently by adding some screw cleats.

Step 1

Open the door to the cabinet, and identify the shelf that has come loose. If the cabinet has adjustable shelves, simply remove the shelf. If its pinned in with nails, wiggle the shelf back and forth until it's loose enough to remove completely. If it still won't come out, pry behind it with a big screwdriver or pry bar until it releases.

Step 2

Measure the two sides of the shelf. Cut two pieces of the 3/4 x 3/4 screw cleat material 1 inch shorter than the measurement. Drill 4 holes with a 3/16-inch bit spaced evenly down the length of both screw cleats. Turn the cleat 1/4 turn and drill 4 more holes at 90 degrees to the first set of holes.

Step 3

Reach inside the cabinet, and remove any loose nails, wood chips, residual glue and old support pins. Scrape along the edge where the old shelf was with a putty knife to clean it. Clean up the debris in the bottom of the cabinet, and discard any old nails or screws.

Step 4

Lay a bead of glue along the edge of the screw cleat; lay it glue-side down where you measured and screw it on. Glue both sides.

Step 5

Measure inside the cabinet from the floor to the bottom line that was left when the shelf was removed. Cut 4 spacers 3/4 inch less than the measurement, and stand them up inside the cabinet to support the shelf when you screw it back in.

Step 6

Slide the shelf back into the cabinet, and place it atop the 3/4 supports. Reach under with the screw gun, and screw it on using eight 1 1/2-inch screws.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your particleboard has become wet, replace it. Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Glue
  • 10 wood screws 1 1/2 inches
  • 8 lineal foot 3/4 x 3/4 inch pine
  • Drill
  • Screw gun


  • Furn Info: Time Tested Furniture Repair Techniques

Who Can Help

  • "Home Maintenance For Dummies"; James Carey, Morris Carey; 2009
Keywords: particleboard edge, Plywood cabinet, loose shelving

About this Author

Wade Shaddy has been freelancing since 1992. He has worked as a contributing writer at "Bicycling Magazine" and has been published in multiple periodicals. After graduating high school in 1973, Shaddy began touring with rock bands as a lead guitarist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, carpenter, cabinetmaker and spent 37 years building hardwood furniture. Shaddy published a novel, "Dark Canyon," in 2008.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Fixing Particle Board Cabinets