Wondering just how bad is Particle board Water Damage?
Is there any way to actually repair Particle board that has been exposed to water and now has deformed?
In this guide you will learn:
- What Happens when Particle board Gets Wet & Soaks up Moisture,
- Common issues with Water Damaged Particle board
- How to Repair Water Damaged Particle board Furniture & Cabinets,
Particle board,also known as Chipboard, is made from small wood strands/chips that have been pressed and resin-glued together in a large sheet.
When particle board is used to make furniture or when used in countertops it’s sandwiched between protective layers of waterproof veneer or laminate, in case of veneer it can be painted to match the application necessary.
This provides protection not only against wear & tear as well as protects it from water damage.
The most common way particle board will start to fail is once the water is able to soak in the particle board through the edges of it that are not covered in this protective veneer.
Another Common way Particle board will get water damaged is if it’s used in high-moisture areas such as near sinks. You should especially avoid it installing under Sinks in Bathrooms and kitchens and opt for more durable material such as plywood.
Be especially careful when you are drilling holes for any hoses or driving in screws or nails in particle board cabinets or furniture if it’s to be used in high-moisture areas.
This will pierce the protective layer and the internal structure of the particle board will now be exposed to moisture which can wreak havoc on your particle board and cause it to swell up/start to fall apart.
Common Issues With Water Damaged Particle Board
If particle board and furniture made from particle board absorbs moisture and gets water damaged it can cause major problems such as:
- Start to swell up from moisture and deform in structure/shape.
- The edges will start to swell up the most and with time will start to crumble and fall apart.
- Waterlogged Particle board can start to sag under the weight which can be extremely unsafe.
- Mold and Mildew can start growing in the Wet particle board causing not only structural issues but also serious health problems.
Water Damaged Particle Board?
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How to Repair Water Damaged Particle board
Fortunately, it’s absolutely possible to repair water damaged particle board or particle board furniture if it hasn’t disintegrated yet and there is very light moisture damage.
In this section, we will cover how to Repair Water damaged Particle board furniture and cabinets, see our guide here for water damaged particle board subfloors.
It is important to note that this will only apply to particle board that hasn’t started to completely fall apart and the outside structure isn’t a decorative laminate that can’t be paint-matched if this is a part of a furniture / kitchen cabinet.
1.Remove the Particle Board Panel
For the best chance of drying and repairing particle board, you will need good full access to the water damaged particle board panel.
If for example, the particle board is in a form of a door of a kitchen cabinet you will need to remove the hinges of it to take it out.
If the particle board is in a form of a shelf of a furniture, again, you will first need to remove it to get good access to do the repair.
2.Dry out The Particle board
If the particle board has deformed due to a water leak or it has been installed under a sink where it has been moisture affected & you can tell that it’s still moist, it’s extremely important to completely dry out the particle board.
Drying out it naturally can take a while, to speed up the process if it’s warm and sunny outside you should consider bringing the water damaged particle board panel / furniture outside in sun to fully dry out.
Alternatively, if bringing it out in sun is not possible, pointing a fan at the particle board can significantly speed up the drying process as well.
Also, consider turning up the heat in the room if there are a lot of particle boards that will need to be repaired to aid in drying process.
If the area isn’t that large, you can also use a heat gun on a low setting or even a hairdryer to remove all the moisture ( this would be the most effective method if you are dealing with a small water damage)
3.Cut out the Swollen Parts/Bubbles of the Particle board
If there is an area in the middle of the particle board that has raised a bit or looks almost like a bubble you will need to remove the deformation.
The deformation are wood chips that has swollen up, even when dried, they will not return to their normal before-state!
These are best to remove/cut out with a sharp chisel, alternatively, a sharp utility knife/box cutter can also work,just be careful not to cut yourself!
Cut out/remove any loose/flakey material that looks like it has been affected by the moisture, after this it would be recommended to go back to the areas with a heat gun or hairdryer to make sure all moisture is gone.
If the Edges of the particle board of the furniture are deformed, you will need to remove any material that has clearly been water damaged and has started to become crumbly.
4.Sand down the Damaged Particle board Areas
Once all the flakey material and large deformed lumps have been removed from the particle board, we will need to sand it to remove any further minor imperfections/raised areas.
This is best done with a dedicated handheld sander machine for best results, alternatively, sandpaper on a wooden block will work as well.
For this step, a fairly rough grit such as 80 or 100 will be best to remove the bulk of the water damage from the furniture.
Once the particle board looks level and near perfect, make sure to remove any dust residue, if not removed this will fail the wood filler to stick!
You can blow away the dust,make sure to cover your eyes first, or alternatively wipe it down with a very very moist rag.
5.Apply Wood Filler
Make sure to get a quality wood filler for this step, the ultra-cheap budget stuff won’t work very well with particle board that has been water damaged.
Alternatively, if you have a lot of edges to repair on furniture or kitchen cabinets and have to do a lot of ”sculpting” work consider using Epoxy that can be sanded. Particularly if the edges of the particle board are water damaged you will need a good strength and good ”sticking” ability for a successful repair.
Fill the holes with the Wood filler and make sure it’s levelled properly.
Often It’s recommended that you add slightly more filler than is required to fill the holes so there is an extra filler that you can sand down after it has dried to get the best finish.
If working with water damaged particle board edges, again,it’s best if you re-build/sculpt the edges and leave a bit more filler than required.
6.Sand the Filler
After the filler has set and is completely dry Use medium-grit sandpaper such as 120 or 180 for this step.
Sand down the dried filler /epoxy so it’s at the perfect level , shape any newly re-built edges of the particle board. Finish it off with a fine 240 grit sandpaper so it’s ready to be painted/finished and new edge strips glued on it.
It is important to lightly sand/rough up all of the particle board at this stage with the 240grit sandpaper so the finish/paint can properly adhere if you plan to paint it!
If you still see any areas of the water damaged particle board that are not at a perfect level, go back and apply more filler and repeat the sanding till it’s perfect.
7.Paint ,Seal & Apply edge bands
Before painting or sealing your repaired particle board make sure it’s dust-free otherwise the paint/finish won’t properly stick and will flake off!
Apply the Desired Paint/Finish in 2 to 3 coats, use a 500 grit sandpaper between the coats when they are dry to achieve the best finish.
Apply new Stick-on Edge Melamine bands to the particle board furniture to finish off the edges of it, some might require an iron to heat them up and glue them on the particle board edges.
When to Call a Professional?
It’s perfectly possible for anyone to Repair a Particle board that has got light water damage as a DIY Project. Especially if this is a small section of furniture.
If the area is quite a large damage and a lot of particle board is damaged,often this will require more extensive repairs /replacement.
This is usually best left to a professional water damage restoration company that has the right equipment and skills to do it.
If you have a fresh water damage , it’s crucial to properly dry it out to minimise the damage. In this case it’s also advisable to contact a water damage restoration specialist as soon as possible.
They can effectively Repair and Replace any Particle board that has been water damaged.
We have Water Damage Restoration Technicians that can help Remove the Water, Dry out your Particle board & Repair/Replace Any Damaged Particle board.
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