Asked on Feb 16, 2019

How do I repair my water-damaged sink cabinet?

by Yakima

The cabinet are still in good shape and only 10+ old. I watched YouTube and thought it would be easily done to get the board replaced. But hell no. Like the pics showing, the side bottom are rotten. Then I looked above, it’s not looking good either.What should i do next? Need some ideas. Thanks in advance**** damage was from previous owener. And not founded on inspection report.Already replaced caulking in the kitchen, so no more leaks.

Right below the sink

  9 answers
  • Faye Faye on Feb 16, 2019

    I would totally replace the damaged areas. Once water has damaged wood, the wood becomes fragile and will continue to rot. I had a similar issue and found replacement is far better and less expensive than repairing.

    • Yakima Yakima on Feb 16, 2019

      I would like do it. But Its under the granite. How I suppose to replace the hole piece?

  • William William on Feb 16, 2019

    The sides are part of the cabinet structure. Can't just replace short of replacing the cabinet. What I would do. For the bottom... remove any flaking particle board. Just what is loose. A wire brush or small stiff broom would work. Vacuum up all the particles. For the top use a putty knife to scrape off what is loose. Tape a putty knife to a long stick to get in between the sink and side panel. Then clean the bottom with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. A paint brush will help. Vinegar kills mold spores (just in case). Let it dry. Then fill the gaps with Bondo, auto body filler, and smooth out as best as possible. Doesn't have to be perfect. Let it harden. Doesn't seem to be a lot of damage on top so I would just leave it. Then get some 1/4" plywood, measure the side panel and cut a panel out of the plywood. Prime the new panel with Kilz primer on both sides. Two coats will work. Use construction adhesive on the back of the new plywood panel and glue it over the side cabinet panel. Nail it in a few spots to hold it in place with small nails, You can paint it with white paint to seal it.

  • Seth Seth on Feb 16, 2019


    You need a two part epoxy specifically designed for wood like LiquidWood&WoodEpox. Bondo comes in many versions and there is one for wood. The auto body filler version will not work on wood. It dries very hard and is not flexible. Your wood cabinets will swell and shrink based on humidity and weather, which will eventually crack the auto body filler and cause it to fail. Once you cover up your repair, you do not want to have to go back in and repair it again.

    • See 1 previous
    • John Biermacher John Biermacher on Feb 17, 2019

      I agree with William. Bondo is a pretty durable fix. YouTube videos that show it crumbling/failing, is primarily do to the surrounding wood continuing to rot.

  • Yakima Yakima on Feb 16, 2019

    Thanks for the detailed instructions. I thought about cut the bottom 1/3 off. I’ll try clean, patch and cover up. Thanks.

  • Edward J Hefner Edward J Hefner on Feb 17, 2019

    Cut out the drywall spray the opening with bleach and water so no mold sets in let it dry out for a few days then replace the drywall patch prime and paint easy job

  • William William on Feb 17, 2019

    Seth is mistaken. Auto body filler works on cars. Metal is more subject to weather, expands and contracts more than wood. Never seen any that has cracked. I have done this kind of repair many times and had no problem. Hometalkers have even patched furniture with Bondo.

  • Yakima Yakima on Feb 17, 2019

    Thanks. After a close look. I think my cabinet might have termites infested from the water damaged area? Is it? See attached pics

    A easier repair project turns complicated. Uh......

  • Oliva Oliva on Feb 17, 2019

    Hi, Yakima,

    If you need to replace the cabinets, look for wood construction, which is somewhat more tolerant of water than particle board or plywood and thermofoil. You may find used wood cabinets at lumberyards (person ordered wrong size, etc.), via on line resale companies who do kitchen installations, on Craig's List, etc.

    MDF cabinets have been reported to "off gas" formaldehyde for their lifetime (which should exceed yours...), and are being avoided by people preferring more natural products. The granite can be removed by a qualified granite specialist.

  • Dee Dee on Feb 17, 2019

    I would buy a piece of wood paneling and attach it to the side.