HomeKitchenHow To Repair Kitchen Cabinets With Water Damage

How To Repair Kitchen Cabinets With Water Damage [Step By Step Guide]

Now let us talk about water damage under kitchen cabinets and how to repair them.

The cabinets in your kitchen usually go through a lot of stress. And this typically happens when the cabinet is under the sink or a refrigerator. 

When the kitchen cabinets are made of materials such as MDF and particleboard that are not strong, the water from the sink and the moisture in the air can cause damage to the cabinet. 

The water-damaged cabinet may end up looking a bit worse for wear. The cabinets that have been damaged by water become swollen, and this causes the paint to chip off. 

The laminate can also bubble up, causing ruin to the finish. Sometimes, you may even see that the laminate surface has started popping off because of the damage caused inside the cabinet by the water. 

Since the cabinets that the water has damaged are in your kitchen, they affect your kitchen. 

This means that such cabinets have to be fixed soon to prevent the damage from getting more significant. 

The wood used to make the cabinet can survive for some time after being damaged by water. However, this does not mean that the cabinet will be damaged completely. 

That can certainly happen, and you should make sure that it does not happen by fixing the damage on the cabinet as soon as you become aware of it.

In today’s article, we will take a look at some of the ways you can repair your kitchen cabinets that have been damaged by water. 

Some people throw their cabinets away when damaged and buy another one because they have the money. You are certainly not that rich, and that is why you are reading this article (sorry if you are rich). 

So let us see how you can fix your water-damaged kitchen cabinet instead of throwing it away. Below in this article, we will take a look at some steps in fixing a kitchen cabinet damaged by water. 

How To Fix A Kitchen Cabinet That Has Been Damaged By Water

These steps below are general, which means that they can be applied broadly to many situations. 

You indeed have to use common sense regarding the level of damage caused by the water when you are getting ready to repair the cabinet. 

The steps below should be able to help you repair your water-damaged kitchen cabinet, as long as your cabinet is manufactured from MDF, particleboard, plywood, or any other material.

Getting Prepared To Fix The Cabinet

It would help if you prepare yourself for the task ahead. The cabinet doors will have to be removed from the hinges. 

It would help if you placed the doors on a floor or a work surface, and the area must be a safe place for the doors. 

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It is recommended to move it to a garage shed if you own it in your home. 

Looking at how severe the damage caused by the water may be, you may decide to remove the door hinges, door handles, and several other pieces of hardware that you can remove from the cabinet’s doors. 

You will notice that this has made the repair process relatively easier irrespective of the kind of damage that the water has caused.

Now, make sure that the doors get dried before you work on them. 

There should not be traces of water damage on them while working on them. 

This means that you would have to leave the cabinet doors somewhere to dry for some days before you begin to work on them.

Using shellac-Based Primer

You can easily find a shellac-based primer in most hardware stores you visit in your area. 

The shellac-based primers have been designed to help you repair minor blemishes on the cabinet doors. 

The product comes in a spray bottle to apply easily on the cabinet doors. You should apply at least two coats of shellac-based product to the areas that have been damaged. 

Doing this will help to even out the surface of the cabinet doors. One of the advantages of using the shellac-based product is that once you have sprayed it over the damaged areas, you can put any paint you want over it, and it will help the paint stick to the cabinet door.

Applying Plastic Wood Filler

You can also apply plastic wood fillers to the cabinet doors if it becomes necessary to do so.

Doing this is good when there are more significant areas of damage on the kitchen cabinet. 

The plastic wood filler will help seal the large damaged areas up and get the damage caused by the water repaired. 

The cabinets made of particle boards typically get more bumps than those made of MDF. 

So for people who own kitchen cabinets made of particle board, you should take this step seriously. 

One best way is to apply the plastic wood filler directly from the tube into the damaged areas of the kitchen cabinet. After that, you smoothen it over the damaged areas with a small putty knife. 

The amount of plastic wood filler you use will generally depend on the amount of damage in front of you. 

You should make sure to get the surface of your cabinets nice and flat before you move on to the following step.

Sand The Cabinet Door

After you have been able to pass the steps above, you now get to the sanding time. 

Almost all repairs of kitchen cabinets will involve some level of sanding at one stage or another.

These two seem to go together quite well. The cabinets that have been damaged by water needs sanding down to allow the surface of the wood to become more even.

The sanding will eliminate all the bubbling and swollen areas on the cabinet. 

You can use 120-grit sandpaper for this job. However, any coarse grit sandpaper would be able to get the job done. 

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Although most people do the sanding by hand, I think it would be much easier to use an electric sanding machine for this step. 

The machine you use must also be a high-quality electric sander manufactured by a highly reputable company.

Do not sand the wood more than it should. It would help if you were careful while at it so that the wood does not get sand more than enough. 

Since you will be doing the sanding several times, do not worry if the cabinet looks good after the first sanding.

All you have to do is make sure that the wood looks smoother and has lesser damage after the sanding has been completed.

Repeating The Previous Processes

If the water has badly damaged your kitchen cabinet, then you have to consider repeating steps 1 and 2 shown above several times until you see that the damage has been brought under control. 

You have to use the shellac-based Primer and the plastic wood filler on the wood again. 

The sanding process may have to be repeated. All this will depend on the extent of the damage that has been done to the kitchen cabinet.

You can use your best judgment or seek some assistance from a friend of yours who has enough knowledge in kitchen cabinet matters. 

You may also have to repeat steps 2 and 4 until the wood has become flat and smooth. There is no need to worry about the color of the kitchen cabinet at this stage, and all you have to do now is to focus on repairing the damaged wood.

Painting The Kitchen Cabinet

paint kitchen

Once you have been able to get rid of the water damage on the kitchen cabinet and the cabinet door is looking flat and smooth, the next step will be to paint the door back to how it was before the water damage occurred. 

You should use the same kind of paint used on the cabinet when it was first made. 

The shellac-based Primer that you sprayed on the cabinet will help the paint stick to the kitchen cabinet quickly and nicely. 

If you happen to be working on an enormous cabinet door, you may have to use a paint roller to aid you in painting it quickly and adequately. 

The paint roller will help you to get the job done well. You then finish off all the minor detail with a paintbrush, and some people like to use a paintbrush to paint the whole thing.

It all depends on your skills and how long you would like to spend on the job.

You should probably paint the whole cabinet door and not just the part that the water has damaged. 

If you do not paint the whole cabinet, the paint might look patchy and uneven on the part that has been painted. Once you are done with the painting, leave the cabinet door outside to dry. 

You should leave it outside long enough according to the type of paint used. 

It would help if you kept in mind that oil-based paints can take several hours to dry completely in between coats.

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So it would help if you allowed the paint enough time to dry when you are done painting the cabinet doors.

Sanding The Painted Cabinet Doors Down

You will probably come to realize how good you are at sanding when the whole job has been done. Once the paint has dried on the cabinet doors, you have to sand it down again. 

The aim this time around is not to flatter anything surface or reshape the wood, and the aim now is to make the paint appear more seamless on the cabinet doors. 

The sanding process will also cause small holes and groves to appear on the cabinet surface. 

This will help the paints that will be added to adhere better to the cabinet door. It would help if you used 22-grit sandpaper for this round of the sanding process. 

You can use your hand to do the job or get the electric sanding machine again if you do not feel like using your hand. 

However, it is advisable to sand this part by hand since you have to be more cautious as you are near the end of the repair process. 

You also have to be more careful to reserve the new paint that has been painted onto the cabinet door.

Applying A Final Coat Of Paint And Another Round Of Sanding

You will now apply another coat of paint onto the cabinet door and leave it dry for as long as possible. 

You can use the 220-grit sandpaper again. You must do the sanding gently, and you could decide to repeat the process 2 or 3 times to make sure that everything is good. 

Once you reach this point, we will assume that any traces of the water damage have vanished, and the cabinet door is looking as good as new.

Applying WaterProof Varnish

Now, to ensure that the damage does not happen again, you will apply a waterproof varnish to the cabinet door. 

The waterproof varnish will prevent the problem from repeating itself. You will find various types of waterproof varnishes on the market for wooden kitchen cabinets. 

Make sure to get the one that can get the job done and is suitable for the kind of material that your kitchen cabinet is made of. 

You should also be aware of the clear coat’s finish. If you go in for a flat mettle paint finish, you want to get a clear coat that does not look glossy after it has dried out.

The waterproofing and paints are not going to make your kitchen. However, they will ensure that the water damage cannot be as easy as it did at first.


So that is how to get your kitchen fixed after you notice that it has been damaged by water.

Please make sure to heed all the steps in this article closely so that you can be satisfied with the work you do on your damaged kitchen cabinet.

So that is all that this article was about. There are more related articles waiting for you, so visit the site now and check them out. You can also check out how much it costs to replace kitchen cabinet doors.

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Christopher Nolanhttps://housetuts.com
Born in the USA, Christopher Nolan, is a home improvement expert, author, and blogger. He has over 10 years of experience in the home improvement industry, working in interior design, exterior, and marketing.

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