How To Protect Kitchen Cabinet Doors From Water Damage

More often than not, household floods are caused by appliance failure, improper plumbing components, or a combination of circumstances. One of the best things you can do to minimize the damage caused by water in your home is to safeguard areas prone to damage. The kitchen area, the cabinets specifically, are especially prone to water damage from the sink, dishwasher, or an overhead water leak/spill. In this post, we will cover several ways that you can protect your cabinet doors from damage caused by water leaks.

Here are a few techniques that you can use to protect kitchen cabinet doors:

  • Waterproof around the kitchen sink
  • Add silicone around pipes and faucets
  • Waterproof the backsplash
  • Waterproof the cabinets themselves
  • Install a leak sensor
  • Don't ignore musty odors
  • Fix leaks ASAP

As you can see, there are quite a few ways to prevent your cabinet doors from being completely damaged by water. Remember, the kitchen is one of the most important places in the home. It's occupied frequently, and it's a common area to gather and have meals. Please keep reading to learn more about how to safeguard to prolong the life of your kitchen cabinetry.

Interior of a modern kitchen with gray colored cabinet panels, a kitchen range with a hood, and a white tiled plank backsplash, How To Protect Kitchen Cabinet Doors From Water Damage


Ways To Protect Kitchen Cabinet Doors From Water Damage

An opened kitchen cabinet with a kitchen sink underneath

The best way to protect your kitchen cabinets from water damage is by waterproofing them. This could be done in several ways and several areas. Let's take a closer look.

Waterproof Around the Kitchen Sink

Take a look at the ceiling around the sink and check for loose caulk and cracks. If you detect any, be sure to repair the seal as soon as possible. If you have a water leak, it can easily go from the ceiling's cracks and openings into the cabinets, causing severe damage.

Also, look for any cracks in the tiles around the sink. Is the grout in good shape? Is it cracking or chipping away? If so, it may be time to remove and re-fill it. Lastly, be sure to waterproof the area beneath the kitchen sink as well; a bad installation can easily lead to water leaks.

Add Silicone Around Pipes and Faucets

Waterproofing the area around pipes and faucets is one of the best ways to keep water from leaking into your cabinet doors. These are the areas where water will be contained the most, and if they leak or crack, such as from a burst pipe, the cabinet beneath them will be the first affected. Silicon waterproofing for your metal and PVC pipes can be purchased for under $10, and it can be applied within 15 minutes. So to say, it's more than worth the time and effort to apply it and could save you thousands of dollars in water damage repair.

Buy waterproofing silicon on Amazon.

Waterproof the Backsplash

Openings in backsplashes can also be areas where water may leak into cabinets. Liquids from pots and pans and steam from boiling water can form condensation on the backsplash, leading down to the cabinets. Waterproof caulk is the best way to mitigate a potential issue with backsplash leaks before they happen. Caulk can be purchased at around $3 a tube and can be applied within minutes.

Buy caulk on Amazon.

Waterproof the cabinets themselves

Wood will always be susceptible to water damage, especially if it is not finished. One of the best things that you can do for your cabinets is to apply a good primer and a clear coat of varnish or polyurethane to them to seal them. If your sink starts to leak, the water will simply run off your cabinet doors and the cabinet's interior going to the floor.

Ways to Detect Water Leaks Before They Damage Your Cabinets

It helps to be proactive and stopping leaks before they become even bigger leaks. Let's look at a few ways that you can detect potential leaks in your home.

Install a Leak Sensor

For around $20 to $30, you can purchase a water leak sensor to install beneath your kitchen sink. This small detector sits in the cabinet at the base of the sink and will sound an alarm if it detects a water leak in the cabinet. The sensors typically come in packs, so you can also place them in your bathroom, basement, or in attics that may contain a water heater.

Buy a leak sensor on Amazon. 

Don't Ignore Musty Odors

If you suddenly noticed a musty or mildew odor coming from your kitchen area, it could be a sign of a leak. When wood is wet, it doesn't take long for mold to accumulate, and the odor is almost immediately detectable. A sudden foul smell in your kitchen area is one of the biggest tell-tale signs of a water leak. When searching for the leak, start at the kitchen sink looking beneath it and around the sink. Be sure also to check the refrigerator, as it's common for condenser and refrigerant lines to leak as well.

Fix Leaks ASAP

There are several reasons why your kitchen sink may leak. The faucet could be old, inner components could be worn or malfunctioning, or you could have an issue with your water valve. Whatever the case may be, it's important to address the source of the leak as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming a bigger leak pitch and possibly raising your water bill.

What can be used to absorb moisture?

The best way to absorb moisture in your home is using drying agents such as silica gel or cat litter; believe it or not, litter contains silica. You can also use a home or basement dehumidifier to keep out excess moisture and regulate humidity in areas where this may be common, such as for people living in coastal states.

Buy silica gel on Amazon.

What is the best sealant for kitchen cabinets?

Clear wooden and glass cabinet upper doors and dotted kitchen backsplash

When it comes to cabinets and other wood-based furniture, polyurethane is typically the go-to sealant for effective waterproofing. Polyurethane dries clear quickly and can last for several years before it needs to be reapplied. There are several types and brands to choose from, and you can use it on almost any wood surface. You can purchase polyurethane anywhere from $5 to $15 and your local hardware store or online.

Buy polyurethane on Amazon.

Is PVC safe for kitchen cabinets?

PVC boards have become more popular over the years due to their inexpensive price points and easy installation. You can buy PVC boards at almost half of the price of hardwood or plywood boards, making them a pretty good option on the surface. That being stated, they may not be the best option for kitchen cabinets.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • The material isn't very durable and can begin to physically sag within 10 to 15 years.
  • PVC doesn't have the capacity to hold heavy items compared to other building materials such as hardwood or metal.
  • It's not fire-resistant and is known to become discolored with a yellow tent within a matter of years.
  • PVC has been known to become deformed and gradually bend over time due to its lightweight frame.

To sum things up, PVC may not necessarily be an unsafe choice for kitchen cabinets, but it's definitely not the ideal choice.

Can You fix water damaged MDF?

It depends on the grade of the MDF that you have purchased and the extent of the water damage. When MDF gets wet, it begins to swell and distort. Oftentimes, the distorted boards can be sanded down, and other times they'll simply need to be discarded. It's best to take a look at the boards in their entirety to determine if they are salvageable or not. You can use an 80-grit sandpaper block or an electric sander to whip them back into shape if they are.

Before doing so, it's best to make sure that the boards are completely dry and mold-free. If the boards contain any gouges, pits, or open seams where the adhesive keeping them together has corroded, you can use resin or epoxy to reattach them. You can also use a wood filler if it is strong enough.

Buy wood epoxy on Amazon.

Wrapping Things Up

Preventing your kitchen cabinet doors from becoming damaged by water is one of the best things you can do for your home. Water damage is one of the most expensive repairs that you can come across, so going the extra mile with the prevention is definitely worth the effort. The number one thing to remember is that waterproofing the cabinets and sniffing out leaks before they become bigger problems can help save you the time of dealing with the headache that comes with water damage repairs.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

Are Kitchen Cabinets Considered Furniture Or Fixtures

How Tall Are Kitchen Cabinets? [3 Types Examined]

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