A kitchen is an area of the home bustling with activity, and with that comes the inevitability of wear and tear. One facet of the kitchen where there is a high risk of this happening is near the dishwasher, where steam will often rise to the countertops and cabinets. This could pose a problem and cause damage over time, so how can you prevent it? We've done the research to tell you exactly that.
To protect a countertop from being damaged by an existing dishwasher's steam, you can install a moisture deflector and/or moisture barrier. If you are still in the process of choosing a dishwasher, you may consider choosing one that has the vent positioned on the door to prevent the steam from coming into direct contact with the countertop.
So now we've given you some basic guidance on how to prevent your dishwasher from damaging the countertop, but you may benefit from more detailed suggestions. Keep reading to learn more.
Preventing Steam Damage To Countertops
There are multiple ways to prevent steam damage to your countertops from your dishwasher. But first, we should discuss the various types of countertops and dishwashers to get a better idea of the types of damage that may occur. The type of countertop and dishwasher may also help you avoid steam damage altogether.
Types Of Countertops
Several types of countertops could be in use in your home, including laminate, granite, quartz, and ceramic. Natural stone countertops such as granite are durable and much less likely to be damaged by steam.
The countertop which is at the most risk of suffering this type of damage is laminate. Laminate is created from plastic and particleboard or paper.
You install it using a laminate adhesive that bonds the laminate sheet to the substrate. The steam from a dishwasher could quickly melt the adhesive and cause the laminate sheet to rise from the substrate. Obviously, this will not be seemly.
It's important to note that while laminate is the most likely to suffer damage from steam exposure, it is possible for most types of countertops to do the same from extensive exposure, as most are installed with some type of adhesive.
However, to prevent this problem, one may consider other types of countertop materials. Ceramic countertops are also an inexpensive option that tends to be more durable against the elements than laminate.
Types Of Dishwashers
There are dishwashers with vents that you can place strategically to prevent this issue from occurring. A concealed vent dishwasher, for example, features a vent that is hidden inside the door.
This vent placement serves more than one purpose. It appears sleeker and cleaner than dishwashers with visible doors and buttons. It also serves to cancel the noise of the dishwasher running. Lastly, it allows the dishwasher to vent without causing any countertop or cabinet damage.
How Do You Install A Dishwasher Moisture Deflector?
If you already have your dishwasher and your existing countertops are at risk of steam damage, a moisture deflector is the best solution for you.
A dishwasher moisture deflector is a device that diverts the steam, sending it away from the countertop and cabinets. You will typically need to be purchase one according to your dishwasher's brand, and they may vary slightly in their installation method.
However, for general guidance, one of these may come with silicone and nails or screws to attach. You will have to place it over the vent, between it and the countertop, and secure it in place using both the silicone and other attachments.
How Do You Install A Dishwasher Moisture Barrier?
A moisture barrier is less specific to the dishwasher brand and can come in many different forms. This does not divert the steam away from the countertop. Instead, it just acts as a barrier between the steam and countertop.
Adhesive sheets and contact paper are very inexpensive, though also very temporary, barrier shields. One can simply apply these sheets to the underside of the countertop.
Another moisture barrier option is melamine laminate. These exist as contact paper or in rolls of tape. You can install a moisture barrier by placing it on the area that needs protection and then applying heat using a household item such as an iron or hair dryer to make it bond to the countertop.
Repairing Damage From Dishwasher Steam
You may be here researching this topic because your countertops have already felt the effects of your dishwasher's steam. Luckily, there are ways you can repair that damage.
There are two ways that you can repair laminate countertops after steam damage. If the laminate sheet has simply begun to peel or lift up from the substrate, this is an easier fix.
One of these methods is using a laminate adhesive. You can purchase laminate adhesive, lift up the sheet where it has begun to lift, apply the adhesive to both the substrate and the back of the sheet, and then push the sheet back down.
If the laminate has stained, been burned, or bubbled, this may call for replacing the laminate sheet altogether. Not to fear, though.
You can do fully replace the laminate sheet by simply placing a new sheet of laminate over the old, applying with a laminate adhesive as described above.
Does Steam Damage Kitchen Cabinets?
Unfortunately, dishwasher steam can cause damage to wooden kitchen cabinets, depending on how close the panel is in proximity to the escaping steam. It can cause these kitchen cabinets to incur white burns or yellow stains.
As frustrating as this can be, this can be remedied by refinishing the cabinets with a stain or paint. The unfortunate bit of this is that cabinets often are installed with a matching stain, and creating a stain color on just one cabinet which perfectly matches the others can be daunting.
Because of this, one could be forced to refinish or paint all of the remaining cabinets instead of just the one which was damaged.
Is It Normal For Steam To Come Out Of The Dishwasher?
It is perfectly normal and actually essential for steam to escape the dishwasher. This extremely hot moisture helps remove stuck-on food as well as sanitizes your dishes. This vapor must be released so as not to create pressure inside the dishwashing unit, and so vents are a part of the design.
What is not normal, however, is for smoke to come out of a dishwasher. If this ever happens, you will most likely notice the smell of burning plastic. This signifies either a serious mechanical problem or something becoming dislodged in the dishwasher and falling to the bottom, where it may become too hot and begin to burn or melt.
How Do I Fill The Gaps On The Sides Of My Dishwasher?
You can fill the gaps on the sides of your dishwasher by installing strips of painted or stained lumber on either side of the dishwasher. You will first need to measure the gaps on either side of the dishwasher, the width, and the height needed. Then, cut a piece of lumber accordingly.
After checking to ensure that the lumber will fit in the gap, you should paint or stain the lumber to match the existing cabinetry as closely as possible. While these are drying, remove the dishwasher and install L brackets to prepare for placing the slabs of lumber.
Once they have dried completely, put the fillers in place, attaching them to the L brackets. Once this is complete, you can reinstall the dishwasher.
Protecting countertops from steam damage is essential to keeping your kitchen functional and pleasing to the eye. Dishwasher steam damaging countertops is a common problem and quite easy to rectify.
There are many ways to prevent this from becoming an issue when remodeling or building a home, such as choosing a durable countertop material or a dishwasher with a concealed vent. As far as protecting existing countertops from steam, you can do this by installing moisture deflectors and barriers.
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