Fixing Water Damage to Cabinets
Cabinets are one of the most problematic parts of your home when they’re received water damage. These dark, damp areas have a particular fondness for retaining moisture and growing mold. Oftentimes, since cabinetry is expensive, particle board becomes an alternative building material to reduce the hefty costs. Since particle board is already one of the lowest quality building materials available for cabinets, you may find yourself in a nightmarish situation if interior particle board has seen extensive exposure to water.
How Did The Damage Occur?
Water damage to your cabinet can be caused in a variety of ways. Flooding that rises into your cabinets, leaky pipes from a sink drain, and burst pipes within the wall behind the cabinet can all have different damaging effects on your cabinets. Things like pipe leaks cause the least amount of damage, provided that they are detected early. Burst pipes and flooding can completely saturate a cabinet, sometimes pushing it past the point of repair.
Fixing The Underlying Issue
Regardless of the damage, the source issue needs to be detected and resolved to prevent further damage. You might see the most damage beneath your cabinet, but if the damage came from a pipe, there’s likely damage within your walls that you cannot detect. That damage can be making its way throughout your home.
In the majority of cases, the issue responsible for water damage isn’t a simple fix. Water travels quickly, and it’s unlikely that the only part of the problem is the one right in front of your face. If the water was set loose by a corroded pipe, chances are high that the pipe is also corroded in areas that aren’t exposed. Thoroughly research the issue from the stem up, and make sure adequate repairs have been made. You don’t want to have to dig in your walls every few months when other signs of damage begin to surface.
Where there’s darkness and moisture, there’s almost always mold. Mold is hardy. It can breed in less than a day, rapidly reproducing and spreading as far as the moisture will allow it. Mold is a very destructive substance, and it cannot always be removed without minor reconstruction. Once it’s embedded itself deeply within your home, sections of wall or flooring may need to be removed to eliminate the issue entirely.
Mold is also inherently dangerous. The majority of mold types can potentially cause respiratory illness. It’s unsafe to live in a home that’s infested with mold, and nothing is worth risking the health of your family. Mold needs to be removed aggressively and immediately to make your home safe again.
If the water damage to your cabinets is caused by sewage water, the problem is a lot worse. Sewage water contains millions of live bacteria particles, some of which can cause serious illness. Sewage cannot be handled without the proper equipment, and requires special sanitation products in the cleanup process. Because of this, cabinets that have been damaged by sewage water are less likely to be salvageable than cabinets that have been damaged by clean or less polluted water.
Salvaging Items in the Affected Cabinets
If this was an isolated incident involving clean water, some of the things in your cabinet can most likely be salvaged. For example, bath towels stored beneath a vanity can be washed in hot water and dried. Paper goods are much harder to recover, and things like first aid supplies may not remain sterile and will need to be disposed of.
Items stored in a cabinet that has been affected by sewage or mold need to be handled differently. Most things exposed to sewage water will need to be disposed of immediately, in a sanitary matter. Mold is a little trickier. Things that are nonporous are generally the easiest to salvage, provided they don’t need to be kept sterile. Porous things like paper goods and towels that have been in a moldy area are lost causes.
Is It Possible to Completely Dry a Cabinet?
Most of the time, cabinets that have been damaged by clean water can be dried and saved, especially if the source of the damage was detected and the issue was fixed promptly. It’s typical for a water damage restoration specialist to remove the affected cabinet in order to implement proper structural drying. The flooring and subflooring will need to be checked, and certain sections of drywall that have absorbed water may need to be removed and replaced.
Proper structural drying can take as long as a few days. If your cabinets are constructed out of real wood, your outlook is much better. They may require some minor repairs before they can be reinstalled, but in most cases, the process is fairly straightforward.
Cabinets constructed out of cheaper building materials won’t fare as well. Once particle wood has become bloated, it doesn’t stand a chance. The integrity of the wood was weak to begin with, and swelling from water can cause it to permanently warp. These cabinets will likely require total replacement. Make sure your new cabinets are a better investment, and constructed from a material that is less susceptible to becoming ruined by water.
Starting the Process
Major repairs to plumbing, structural drying, and home restoration are complicated processes – especially if mold or sewage have become involved. Mold and sewage make things far more dangerous to attempt on your own. Improper structural drying can lead to the continued deterioration of your home as the undetected moisture continues to spread the damage. You need someone with the right equipment who knows what to look for.
At Restoration Local, we find these specialists on your behalf. We exist to help homeowners in crisis find highly rated water damage restoration specialists in their area. We work around the clock to make sure you can start the process as soon as possible, leaving less time for things to spiral out of control. With one quick phone call to 1-888-443-3110, you can receive a free estimate and begin formulating your plan to take control of the damage before it takes control of your home.