How to Repair Kitchen Cabinets with Water Damage?

Water can destroy the outer shell of cabinets and damage the finish. Long exposure of water to kitchen cabinets may make it dark. Remember, water damage may make your cabinets useless. Things can be difficult if you are dealing with water leaks in cabinets. It is essential to repair water damaged kitchen cabinets.

A water event can cause structural damage to cabinets. Moreover, it can decrease their usefulness. Sometimes, you can use a fan to dry out the kitchen and deal with structural and cosmetic defects. Remember, plywood delamination and warping can make replacement an incredible option.

Identify the Causes of Water Damage

Drain pipes and water lines are common causes of water damage. A leaking pipe can be the main reason behind damage to your kitchen cabinets. Here are some most common causes of water damaged kitchen cabinets.

  • Dishwasher floods
  • Leak pipes beneath the sink
  • Leaking or broken refrigerator waterlines
  • Overflowing and clogged sinks
  • Extra condensation from cooking
  • Issues in the water supply line
  • Burst or frozen water pipes
  • Faucet malfunctions and leaks

If you want to avoid the possibility of water damages, check these areas regularly. Inspect cabinets under sink for possible leaks and make instant repairs. Evaluate refrigerator and dishwasher supply lines once a year. You should not use plastic lines for an ice maker or refrigerators.

How to Dry Kitchen Cabinets?

It is possible to dry kitchen cabinets with the help of dehumidifiers and air movers. Feel free to obtain them on rent from a supply company. Regular dehumidifiers and fans may work well, but these may take longer.

Remember, drying them will not solve this problem. Water may increase the chances of warp and swell to hardwood cabinets. If your cabinets are made of particleboard, they may fall apart. Unfortunately, water damage can stain every type of cabinet.

It is important to dry water-damaged cabinets quickly. Moreover, fix the reason for water damage. Before you start repairing an issue, it is essential to let the cabinets completely dry.

Remove All the Items from Cabinets

Empty all the cabinets and review your items. Dry and wash towels and all the fabrics. Remember, you have to throw away all the paper items. Moreover, you can keep food items in plastic or glass containers. It is crucial to discard items in bags or cardboard boxes.

Remove Extra Water

After removing the content of cabinets, you have to remove extra water to avoid soaking into cabinets. With the help of blankets or thick towels, you can soak up water standing in the cabinet. Finally, use dry, clean towels to wipe kitchen cabinets.

Remove doors of cabinets because material around hinges will be wet. The weight of the door may be the reason for damage. By removing doors, you can decrease the stress of wet cabinets and promote air circulation. You can move all the doors to a different room. Use a dehumidifier or fan to make them dry.   

Carefully Evaluate the Damage

You have to find out if the structure of a water damaged cabinet is sound. It may get wet or discolored because of high humidity. High humidity or persistent leak can be the reason for long-term damage. To repair water damaged kitchen cabinets, you have to evaluate the possible damages. The damage can be limited to the bottom half of the cabinet if the water valves or drain is leaking. Remember, the base of the shelf can be waterlogged and sagging.

Repair Kitchen Cabinets
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Repair for Structural Damage

You have to fix the source of damage before repairing your cabinets. Remember, cabinets may take some time to dry out. It is possible to repair some structural damages with the glue of carpenter and clamps. Moreover, you can use some well-placed screws.

Start repairing by spreading glue between delaminating parts of plywood and use C-clamps to clamp them together. Carefully examine inside areas of cabinets to find out separated and weakened bracing. It will be best to know off old braces and reset these braces with screws and glue. You can replace them with new units.

Carefully Bleach Out Stains

With oxalic acid, you can efficiently remove blackening in the woods, especially oak. This acid is useful to deal with damages because of water penetration. Before using oxalic acid, it is essential to carefully sand off the surface of cabinets.

You can prepare a saturated mixture of water and crystals of oxalic acid. In this solution, crystals will not dissolve. Brush this mixture on distressed wood. You must notice improvements once the kitchen cabinets dry. Once you are done, prepare a mixture of one-gallon water and almost ½ cup of baking soda.

Apply this mixture on the wood with a sponge to neutralize the acid. Use clear water to wash the treated area. Once the wood is dry, you can start a refinishing process.

Replace Damaged Parts

It will be good to replace some damaged sections of the cabinet. For instance, a shelf may become waterlogged. You have to replace this shelf. Make sure to measure its dimensions to replace this area. Sometimes, you can change the skin of cabinets to give them a new look. Carefully cut the old veneer before applying a new one.

Remember, extremely swollen or warped cabinets can be repaired by screwing 2 x 4 scrap boards. If cabinets are falling apart or crumbling, you can’t use glue to fix them. Remove damaged cabinets and buy new units to replace them.


Water damage may cause mold, odor, and stains in cabinets. You have to repair water damaged kitchen cabinets immediately. Once you are done with repairing, use deodorizer and disinfectant spray.

Mold and odor may develop even in dry cabinets. You have to wipe down cabinets with one cup solution of oxalic acid. For persistent odor, you can use an ozone machine to remove the smell. Remember, the ozone machine should be utilized with care because it is hazardous to health.

You can use a sealant for the protection of wood and make a foundation for the dye. Apply one equal coat of dye and finish the procedure with a topcoat. Make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer before applying the stain.

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This is Amelia Walton. I would like to write about Kitchen related topics and I enjoy much while cooking. Hope you will enjoy my writing.

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