How to Repair a Water Damaged Cabinet

With water damage in your kitchen and bathroom, it’s not just enough to fix the leaking, but you also need to fix the water-damaged cabinets — including unattractive staining, warping and weakened structure. These issues are common and, if the damage is mostly cosmetic and minimal structural issues, you can try to fix them without the assistance of a professional. If you don’t feel comfortable taking on these fixes yourself or if the damage is more extensive than the outer appearance of the cabinet, consult a professional.

To fix water damaged cabinets yourself, gather the following materials:

  • Carpenter's glue
  • C-clamps
  • Screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Oxalic acid
  • Baking soda

Assess the Cabinet Damages

Before you begin repairing your kitchen or bathroom cabinets, make sure they are dry and any excess water is gone. If not, take a dry cloth and soak up the extra water. Then, you’ll want to determine if the cabinet is still structurally intact — a burst pipe or short-term leak shouldn’t be enough to severely damage the cabinet’s structure. However, if your cabinet was subject to long-term exposure to a leak or consistent high-humidity, then the cabinet might be too damaged to fix with warped or sagging wood.

Fix Cabinet Structure and Replace

Once you’ve determined what type of damage your cabinet has, you can begin repairs with glue, c-clamps and screws. First, apply glue to the layer of wood where the lamination is peeling away and use the c-clamps to keep the pieces together until the glue has dried.

The inside of the cabinet may reveal weakened or loosed bracing. At this time, remove the damaged braces and use glue and screws to reset them or replace them.

Remove Stains and Refinish Cabinet

Oxalic acid is a perfect solution for removing any blackened wood caused by water damage. Before applying the oxalic acid to the surface of the cabinets, use your sandpaper to sand down the surface. Once that’s done, create a solution with the oxalic acid and water and apply it to the surface of your water damaged cabinet. When the solution is dry, you should notice an improvement in the appearance of the wood. If not, apply more solution until the damaged surface improves.

Next, mix ½ cup of baking soda and a gallon of water and sponge the solution onto the surface — the baking soda will neutralize the oxalic acid solution. After applying the baking soda solution, take a moistened cloth and wipe the cabinet clean.

Now that your kitchen or bathroom cabinet has been cleaned and repaired, you can refinish the surface to look brand new.

When is it time to hire a professional?

While it can be convenient and money-saving to fix water-damaged cabinets yourself, if you’re not comfortable fixing the cabinet yourself or if the cabinet is severely damaged, then consult a professional cleaning and remediation company. By having a professional clean and fix your damaged cabinets, you can have the peace of mind of the job being done quickly and correctly with professional-grade tools and materials that are more powerful than typical home remedies. You can also avoid causing any further damage to your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

Call the Experts at ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park

If you’re a resident of the Chicago, IL area and needing a professional cleaning company, then trust the experts at ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park. We pride ourselves on our friendly and efficient service and being able to give you peace of mind with any water cleanup project large or small. For your convenience, we offer emergency 24-hour services so your problem is gone as soon as possible. Give us a call today at 773-346-6767 or complete our online scheduling form to have your cleanup project completed today!

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