How To Fix Water Damaged Laminate Cabinet Doors: 2 Ways

Laminate cabinets look all clean and fancy, but not until the water takes over. Read through and learn how to fix water damaged laminate cabinet doors

As time goes by, water can create damage and break the outer shell. This is especially possible for kitchen cabinets as they are located near the water source. Water can darken the wood and spoil finishing which is not exactly pleasant.

how to fix water damaged laminate cabinet doors


What does water damage do to cabinets?

Water is great, but an excess amount can damage cabinets. When badly soaked, they may crumble, distort, and swell.

The damage can also spread to other cabinets, walls, and flooring. This damp and dark space is very ideal for the growth of mold and mildew.

This is why once you notice signs of damage on your cabinets or other types of furniture and parts of your home, you should act on it right away. It only takes as short as 24 hours to spread the damage, so waiting will not do a good thing.


Repairing Your Water Damaged Laminate Cabinet Doors

In general, laminate is durable but may begin to crack and peel due to water damage and age. Depending on the extent of damage, you can either repair the existing laminate or replace the whole thing without reinstalling entirely new cabinets.


Method #1. Peeling laminate cabinet doors

Step #1. Before doing anything, make sure that the cabinet is completely dry. Working on soggy and wet doors is not the best idea.

Step #2. Sand the base of the cabinet door just behind the peeled laminate. This will remove the remaining adhesive so the new adhesive will hold the laminate more.

Step #3. Apply a small amount of waterproof adhesive between the laminate and the base. Push and flatten the laminate into the glue, making sure every part is completely stuck.

Step #4. Use heavy-duty masking tape to hold the laminate in place until the adhesive dries. If a clamp is available, it will be a better and easier option to use.


Method #2. Peeling and cracked laminate cabinet doors

Step #1. Ensure that the laminate cabinet doors that you are going to recover are completely dry.

Step #2. De-attach the door from the cabinet and  bring it to a well-ventilated area and with no open fire. Using a flammable grade glue solvent, loosen the contact cement which holds the laminate in place. Spray it to the exposed corner as you use a knife to separate the laminate from the base.

Make sure that you are wearing gloves when you do this to protect yourself. You can apply more solvent as necessary until the whole damaged laminate tears off. Be careful of the removed parts as they may be sharp.

Step #3. Measure the area you will re-cover and cut a laminate piece, which is 1 to 2 inches longer and half-inch wider than the area if you are covering a flat surface. On the other hand, for a recessed surface, cut out a piece just the same size as the area.

Step #4. Before installing, sand the base and wipe it with a damp cloth, removing dust. Let it dry.

Step #5. Once it is totally dry, you can now install the new laminate. Start by peeling the edge of the back cover and gently press the laminate onto the base. Remove the rest of the cover as you press the install the whole thing.

Ensure that it is perfectly lined up and use a laminate roller over the whole area to set it. Then, wait for the adhesive to dry.

Step #6. Trim excess material off the edges. Sand the smooth marks lightly and wipe the door with a damp cloth.

Step #7. Hang and attach the door back to the cabinet.


How to protect cabinets from water damage?

Since you have done a lot of work repairing the water damaged cabinet doors, it will be better to prevent the same problem from occurring. With this, you should protect your cabinets in all ways possible including the following.

  • Regularly check if there are leaks – If possible do this as often as you can.
  • Clean up spills – When there are water spills, quickly clean them up so they won’t seep into your cabinets.
  • Improve ventilation – Humidity can create moisture, which in time will damage your cabinets so keep the place well-ventilated.
  • Seal seams – Seal the seams between the countertop and sink edges to prevent sinks from leaking into the cabinet.
  • Seal backsplashes – Seal up the whole area by caulking the gaps between countertops and backlashes.

These tips will help you control water and keep it from damaging your cabinets and other parts of your home. Prevention is better than cure, right?



Cabinets, especially when made with MDF and plywood might be hard to maintain. This is why the cost-effective way of laminating them is done to protect them. However, in due time laminates may crumble and break and will require repair.

It may seem like a pain, but learning how to fix water damaged laminate cabinet doors is worth it. Your effort will surely keep water damage out of the picture.

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