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How to Repair Water Damaged Kitchen Cabinets

How to Repair Water Damaged Kitchen Cabinets

From leaking faucets and burst pipes to spilled food and drinks, kitchens are full of potential water hazards—and that can spell disaster for your cabinets.

Kitchen cabinets consist of layers of wood that are often highly susceptible to water damage. They absorb the excess fluid and gradually weaken over time, so you want to do everything you can to protect them and restore them when water damage occurs.

Luckily, prevention isn’t impossible—it could be easier than you think! This guide takes you through everything you need to know, from the threat water poses to repairing your cabinets. We also address how to prevent water damage from happening again in the future. Let’s jump in!

How Does Water Damage Kitchen Cabinets?

Water can be more damaging than many of us realize. Depending on the type of cabinet your kitchen has, water can necessitate total replacement if you aren’t careful.

The hazards are primarily because most kitchen cabinets consist of wood, even if only partly. Materials such as MDF, while highly durable, are not waterproof.

The porosity of the wood makes cabinets highly susceptible to water damage. MDF can begin to crumble once soaked. Other materials, such as plywood, can separate and splinter into numerous layers.

Though these aren’t impossible to repair, the subsequent mold growth and fungal damage can spread throughout your kitchen if left untreated.

Mold can be especially problematic for your kitchen for both health and structural reasons. It can worsen symptoms of asthma and other respiratory conditions, in addition to ruining the structural integrity of your appliances.

Also, water damage isn’t solely the result of leaks—it can also come about due to high levels of sustained humidity.

If you have already found signs of water damage in your kitchen, it’s time to start the restoration process. These problems do not go away on their own, and proactivity is the only way forward!

Green And White Kitchen Cabinets

How to Repair Kitchen Cabinets After Water Damage

Most of the time, it is wise to consult professionals when it comes to repairing your cabinets, but sometimes it is possible to handle it yourself. If you are confident you can fix the problem on your own, read on for our step-by-step guide!

1. Establish How Damaged Your Cabinets Are

First thing’s first: What is the condition of your cabinets? You may be the most ambitious DIY enthusiast around, but if the damage has already reached the point of no return, then replacement might be your best bet.

Severe structural damage will require professional repairs. However, if the damage isn’t quite that bad, you can proceed with your confidence relatively unharmed.

You will need to remove everything from the cabinets to inspect the extent of damage thoroughly. Check the door hinges, the corners, and the wood’s firmness. Other signs of damage include delamination and warping of the wood.

After your damage evaluation, check how damp the cabinets remain as you will need to dry them. For this operation, thick towels and dehumidifiers are your best friends.

2. Identify the Water Damage Source

Once the cabinet is empty, it should be pretty easy to identify the most severely affected areas.

Damaged cabinets can often be an indication of a leak or burst pipe inside the walls. Sometimes, the moisture can also result from excessively high humidity.

Whatever the source of the damage, you must address it before attempting any repairs.

If your pipes are the problem, it usually isn’t simply a case of cleaning up a spillage. It would be wise to contact a plumber. It is possible to fix pipes yourself, but it is also possible that you will do more damage than good.

3. Make Repairs Where Necessary

Sometimes, all you will need to do once you have dried the cabinets and dealt with the source is replace certain parts.

Water damage is notorious for causing the layers of wood to separate and splinter. All you need is some carpenter’s glue and a clamp to remedy this. Use these materials to reattach the layers, and your cabinets will be looking brand new in no time!

If your cabinets consist of particleboard rather than solid wood, repairs can be significantly more complicated. Particleboard tends to crumble when exposed to moisture rather than simply splitting into layers. In this case, a complete replacement may be necessary. It is a more costly pursuit, but you may have no other choice.

Once you have repaired the structural damage, you may need to re-stain or re-pain the cabinets, depending on their original design.

How to Protect Kitchen Cabinets From Water Damage

Thankfully, water damage isn’t a certainty for your kitchen cabinets. There are many ways to reduce the risk of significant damage, and you can get started on most of them right away! Follow some of our top tips below.

Stay on Top of Spills

Despite what you may assume, kitchen cabinets are usually not water-resistant. They are often highly susceptible to water damage, which means a spill of any kind can be damaging, even if it looks minor.

Understandably, it can be easy to put off cleaning up a spill when it happens. But unless you want to pay for damage repair later, you should clean it up immediately. Otherwise, it can soak into the boards and significantly weaken their structural integrity.

Check Your Cabinets Frequently

Most of us care more about what’s in our cabinets rather than the cabinets themselves. However, like anything in your home, a check-up now and again of the interior can be worthwhile.

Everything might seem okay from a cursory standpoint, but a closer look could reveal a completely different story. Try to empty your cabinets and inspect for damp areas or mold at least once a month.

Don’t Overdo It When Cleaning

If you have discovered mold, don’t overdo it during the cleaning process. Remember, excess water is what we’re trying to avoid!

Too much water or cleaning products could end up causing the problem you are trying to prevent. A simple wipe down is often sufficient unless you are dealing with a particularly stubborn strain of mold. In that case, it might be time to call the professionals.

Contact All Dry USA Today

Contact All Dry USA today if you have recently discovered water damage in your cabinets or suspect the problem has already gotten out of hand. Our experts can answer any questions you may have and have serviced thousands of happy customers.

Water damage can feel like an enormous setback. However, with the proper preventative measures in place and pros to help, it doesn’t have to ruin your day.


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