Updated at: 24-06-2022 - By: cnbusinessnews

Under-the-sink and refrigerator-facing kitchen cabinets are subjected to considerable stress, especially when they’re constructed from less-sturdy materials like MDF and particle board. When the water in your sink and the humidity in the air combine, you can end up with water-damaged cabinets that don’t look their best.

Cabinets that have been damaged by water are more prone to swelling, which can lead to paint chipping off or laminate bubbling up and ruining the appearance. Because of water damage in your cabinets, you may discover that a laminate surface is peeling off completely.

Regardless of how much water damage your kitchen cabinets have sustained, you need to get them repaired as quickly as possible to avoid further damage. To a certain extent, wood can resist moisture, but the experts at Kitchen Infinity can tell you from experience that cabinets can be damaged to such an extent that they are no longer salvageable.

In this article, we’ll examine the best methods for restoring water-damaged kitchen cabinets as well as possible safeguards against future water problems.

Let’s do this!

9 Steps For Repairing Kitchen Cabinets After Water Damage

When it comes to most cabinet door materials and styles, these are the main stages that may be implemented in the majority of cases. It’s important to use common sense when determining the extent of water damage and whether or not it’s possible to rescue your cabinets.

How To Repair Kitchen Cabinets with Water Damage in 3 Easy Steps

To repair water damage on cabinets composed of MDF, particle board, plywood, and other materials, follow these nine procedures.

So, what are your options for restoring wood cabinets that have been damaged by water?

1. Prepare the cabinets for repair

There are a few things you need to take care of before you can get started.

You need to remove the cabinet door from its hinges and place it on a work surface which is safe and protected for tools/paint. Moving it to a garage or shed and putting drop cloths around it is preferable.

In some cases, you may wish to remove the hinges, door knobs, and other hardware from the cabinet door to prevent further water damage. Regardless of the extent of the water damage, you may find this method to be helpful.

Before you begin working on the doors, make certain they are completely dry. They cannot have recently been harmed by water. Remove them a few days ahead of time in case you need to fix them.

2. Use a shellac-based primer on the wood

To fix little defects and damage on wooden furniture, such as our cabinets, shellac-based primers are readily available.

Spray bottles of shellac-based primer are common, making it simple to apply to damaged surfaces. Over damaged areas of your cabinet door, apply one or two coats of this product.

Shellac-based primers allow you to use any type of paint on top of them. It will level out the wood’s surface while also providing excellent adhesion for your paint.

3. Apply plastic wood filler if necessary

Plastic wood filler can be used to help seal and repair larger areas of water damage on your kitchen cabinets. If your cabinets are made of particle board rather than MDF, take extra care to smooth out any creases or dings.

A little putty knife and a tube of plastic wood filler are my preferred methods of applying and smoothing out the filler in spots where it is needed. When it comes to applying it, it’s obvious that the amount you use and how you apply it will depend on the situation at hand.

Before moving on to the following stage, make sure that the cabinets’ surfaces are as flat as possible.

4. Get sanding that cabinet door!

The sanding process can now begin!

No kitchen cabinet repair is complete without the use of sandpaper! Cabinets that have been damaged by water need to be sanded to restore the wood’s natural appearance and remove any bubbling or swelling.

The 120-grit sandpaper that I prefer is fine, but any equally coarse grit should work fine. This stage can be performed by hand, but I like to use an electric sander.

The best electric sander to utilize is one from a well-known home design brand.

The cabinets won’t look as beautiful as new right away if you sand too much, so be careful not to sand too much. After sanding, ensure sure the surface is smoother and less damaged.

5. Repeat the previous steps if necessary

It may be necessary to repeat the previous methods several times if your cabinet is severely damaged by water damage.

Reusing the primer, filler, and sanding process will depend on the extent of the damage to the cabinet door.

Ask a friend who’s good at home DIY if you’re unsure if something is right for you. Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the wood seems flat and smooth.

Focus on the wood repair rather than the color for the time being.

6. Start painting your kitchen cabinet!

It’s time to start painting the cabinet door once the water damage is barely noticeable and the surface is flat and smooth.

Repaint the cabinet using the same color and type of paint you used on the original design. The shellac primer will make it easier for the paint to stick to the wood.

While painting a large cabinet door, you may prefer to use an airless paint roller and finish off any minute details with a paintbrush. Painting using paintbrushes is also an option, depending on personal preference and skill level.

If you only paint over the water damaged sections of the cabinet door, the paint will appear spotty and uneven.

Depending on the sort of paint you’ve chosen, leave the cabinet door to dry for as long as necessary. Because oil-based wood paint takes several hours to dry between layers, make sure to allot plenty of time for this process.

7. Sand the painted cabinet doors down

Performing this repair will demonstrate just how adept you are at sanding!

Sand it down again with finer sandpaper when the paint has dried, of course. Rather than reshaping the wood, the idea here is to make the paint finish appear more smooth. The sanding also forms small holes and grooves in the cabinet door surface, which aids in the adhesion of subsequent coats of paint.

I use 220-grit sandpaper for this portion of the repair process.

You have the option of re-sanding the painted wood by hand or by using an electric sander. Because of the delicate nature of the paint work, I recommend sanding this stage by hand.

Don’t be too harsh!

8. Apply a final coat of paint and sand it down again

A second sanding with fine 220-grit sandpaper or comparable is all that is needed now. Depending on the condition of your cabinet door, you may want to repeat the process once or twice.

There shouldn’t be any signs of water damage or paint chipping at this time. The cabinet door should appear as if it was just installed. We’re almost done with the repairs!

9. Apply a water-proofing varnish or seal

I would recommend applying a final topcoat or clear finish to assist prevent future water damage to your kitchen cabinets if you are serious about repairing them and preventing it from happening again.

Wooden kitchen cabinets can be protected with a variety of waterproof sealants, transparent coatings, and varnishes. It’s important to pick one that is compatible with the sort of wood and paint you’re using.

Also be aware of the clear coat’s finish. For instance, if you’re going for a flat matte paint finish, you want a clear coat that will not look glossy when it dries.

Is this water damage in new cabinets?

Consider the clear coat’s finish as well. With a matte paint finish, for example, you want a clear coat that will not appear shiny when it dries.

How Do I Protect My Kitchen Cabinets From Water?

Once your kitchen cabinets have been fixed, you’ll want to take precautions to keep them from being damaged again. Keep in mind that protecting your cabinets is preferable to continually repairing them. To accomplish this, there are five primary methods:

Get them laminated

Laminate kitchen cabinetry is a popular option. Water damage can be prevented by applying a “laminate” to your wood cabinets and frames.

Plastic or a comparable water-resistant material may be used to make this laminate layer. Cabinet doors with a laminated outer layer can keep water from accessing the wood core, but they are not waterproof.

Laminated kitchen cabinets are often shiny, but painting them to match your kitchen decor is an option.

Use a water-proofing varnish, seal, or clear coat

Your kitchen cabinets can be waterproofed with a variety of clear coatings. Even if your kitchen cabinets are made of inexpensive wood, you can prevent them from absorbing water with this method.

Depending on the type of wood and paint used, several types of waterproof sealants, varnishes, and clear coatings can be used on different types of kitchen cabinet doors.

Keep in mind, however, that the finish (i.e. glossy, matte, or satin) of the clear coat you choose must match the finish of your new kitchen cabinet design.

Get a deeper style of sink

The design of your kitchen may need to be changed if water drips down the cabinet doors all the time.

So, for example, is it necessary to install a deeper sink to prevent water from sprinkling? You may need to improve the seal around the sink’s perimeter to prevent water from leaking.

Changing the style of your sink could prevent water from spilling in the first place. Remediation is more expensive than prevention!

Try new countertop edges

Countertop edges can also be redesigned if you so choose. If you don’t think about it, the design of your countertop edges might have a big impact on the likelihood of water pouring into your cabinets and causing them to be damaged.

Bullnose countertops (i.e., counters with an all-around curved edges) are more likely to transport water spills over the edges and into the cabinets below.

On the other hand, if your kitchen counters have beveled edges, spills will go straight to the floor instead of soaking into the cupboards.

Countertops with square or beveled edges can help prevent cabinet damage if you don’t have any little children in the house (the edges can be sharp)!

Get better ventilation or dehumidification

For example, if you discover that your kitchen’s troubles are due to moisture, you may wish to invest in greater ventilation. If you frequently cook or boil a lot of water, you’ll want to be sure that the steam you produce is properly vented from your house.

Basically, this isn’t rocket science at all.

In order to get rid of excess moisture, you can open your windows, but you may also want to consider equipment like kitchen extractor fans and dehumidifiers to assist remove moisture from the air.

Spray-on Rubber Coating

Preventing water damage to cabinets is as simple as spraying on a rubber cabinet coating. Spray-on varnish coatings are available from a variety of manufacturers and are meant to protect your hardwood cabinets from water damage.

Ideally, you want a spray coating that is durable and heat-resistant, staying put even if the room gets very hot, as kitchens often do. Ideally look for a product that cures (i.e. dries) quickly, as this will make the application process a lot simpler.

Rubber mat under the sink cabinet

As a rule, kitchens tend to become pretty hot, so you’ll want a spray coating that’s both long-lasting and heat-resistant. To make application easier, opt for a substance that dries rapidly (i.e. cures quickly).

To keep your cabinet safe, they can handle up to one gallon of water!


If you’re worried about leaks in your home, you should look into the cabinet mats made by Xtreme, a company that produces some of the best in the industry. Customizable and capable of holding liters of water, Xtreme mats are the ideal solution for protecting your cabinets from water damage from spills and drips.

For cabinet floor mats, there are a variety of options to consider besides from Xtreme!

Peel-and-stick Vinyl Floor Tiles

Waterproofing your house does not always necessitate the purchase of an expensive solution. Using inexpensive peel-and-and-stick vinyl floor tiles, you may waterproof your under-sink cabinet from leaks.

Installing and cutting these vinyl tiles to size makes it simple to build a waterproof barrier for your cabinets. There are a variety of patterns and colors to pick from when it comes to vinyl tiles for your base cabinets.

WeatherTech Sink Mat

WeatherTech’s sink mat is one of the best floor mats on the market, and it’s ideal for use beneath your sink. Despite the fact that WeatherTech mostly manufactures items for automobiles, they have a few one-of-a-kind products for wooden cabinets.

They’re definitely worth a look.

Sink mats are available in black and tan, and may be cut to fit your needs with scissors. They can retain up to a gallon of water in the event of a cabinet leak. Purchase one of these to prevent drips on your cabinet’s surface.

Polyurethane Sealer

While your floor mats and waterproofing solutions are in place, you cannot overlook the edges and corners of the floor area. The corners and edges of these water damage protection systems are the most vulnerable. Here, there is a risk of water dripping and creating a mold problem.

That’s not going in our cabinet!

To ensure that water cannot seep out of your cabinets, apply a high-quality polyurethane sealer to all of the cabinet’s edges and corners. The liquid polyurethane can save you a great deal of time and effort in the long run, whether it’s in your bathroom or under your sink cabinet.

Fix pipe leaks early!

Did you know that a single 1/8-inch pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water if it isn’t noticed? If you’re a frequent traveler or a landlord who rents out to people with high standards, you need to inspect your pipes on a regular basis.

Before it’s too late, make sure you fix any broken or leaky pipes in your home. This is critical to the structural integrity of your house.

Your home’s foundations might be weakened and become unsafe if you have plumbing problems. Call a plumber to fix any leaky pipes, and consider having your plumbing system inspected on a regular basis to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Water Damage Under Kitchen Cabinets - Designing Idea

Ideally, you’d want water-resistant floors so that if the worst happens and the room floods, water will pool on top of the surfaces rather than be absorbed by them. Your home floors require some level of water protection in areas that are likely to get wet.

Homeowners looking to install waterproof flooring can choose from the following options:

Laminated wooden flooring

Often referred to as “laminate,” laminated wood flooring is a form of wood flooring that has been coated with a laminate covering meant to protect the wood from water and make it easier to clean.


Because tiles don’t absorb much water, they’re long-lasting, and they’re incredibly easy to maintain in the home, they’re a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Grout lines in tiled surfaces can absorb water, so they’re not the ideal choice for a site with a lot of splashing.


As a waterproof vinyl-like substance known as linoleum, Linoleum flooring is typically used in areas of the home where water leakage is a concern. You may cut this material to the precise size you need for your floor using a tape measure and a simple installation method.

Invest in a good backsplash

Cooking areas would be incomplete without backsplashes; where else would all that splattering oil and liquid go? If your sink splashes water on the wall, preventing it from traveling into the cabinet below can help preserve your cabinets from water damage.

As a matter of fact, it is possible.

Getting your wall wet with water, oils, or food splashes may not be the most crucial consideration when it comes to securing your sink cabinet, but it can drastically compromise its security and leave your sink cabinet prone to sinking water damage.

If you’re looking for a timeless solution, subway tile is a terrific option. Protecting your walls and cabinets from water splashes and damage is a benefit of using this product.

Sink cabinet plastic tray

Using a wide plastic tray with tall sides to cover your cabinet from leaks is a simple yet attractive solution to leaking pipes. Make sure to keep your tape measure accessible and take into account any pipes that might be in the way when you’re looking for a plastic tray to fit.

Buying the wrong size is a huge no-no!

This is an easy way to keep your sink cabinet cleaning supplies organized while also collecting gallons of potential water if you can find one in the proper size. It’s not going to work for every cabinet, but it’s the simplest way to get the results you want.

Leak & flood alarms

A leak alarm or flood alarm is one of the finest ways to avoid water damage and leaks before they even begin. Zircon’s leak alarm product, which uses a water sensor and a 90db alert to notify homeowners of a leak, is one of the most popular on the market.

When it detects leakage at the spots, the Zircon alarm continues to ring for 72 hours, making it suitable for people who come and go from their house frequently.

Using these alarms in your cellar, shed, or garage is a terrific way to keep an eye on your property’s less-frequented areas. You’ll be less likely to visit these regions, which are more susceptible to flooding and moisture, than the rest of your home, so floods can swiftly spread.

Do you need to waterproof a kitchen?

When it comes to cabinets and the cabinet under the sink that is at risk of flooding, waterproofing your kitchen is a fantastic idea. When a leak occurs in the cabinet below, it’s usually because of a problem with the sink pipe.

This cabinet is completely defenseless!

In the event that water gets into your cabinets, these 11 tips will help you keep them safe from damage and keep them from becoming an eyesore. A cabinet that has been waterproofed is more likely to be unharmed in the event of a flood.

The Bottom Line

Kitchen cabinet repairs aren’t easy, but they are doable if you put in the time, effort, and resources required. The time it takes to fix wet cabinets will vary depending on the type of paint you use and the extent of the damage, so plan accordingly.

You may safeguard your cabinets by installing deep sinks, good seals, and counter edges that allow spilled liquids to roll down the end and into the floor, which is what I like. Repairing a present problem or protecting against future dampness is a job that I wish you the best of luck with.

Maintaining a safe work environment and taking your time are essential to getting the cabinets back to their former glory.