How to Repair Water Damaged MDF Cabinets? 7 Quick Steps

MDF also known as Medium Density Fibreboard, is a great choice for cabinetry and furniture. Many Homeowners prefer to use MDF boards because of their smooth surface, uniform density, and cost-effectiveness.

But it loses its appearance when damaged by water or steam. In this case, the MDF cabinet can be damaged and swollen and needs to be repaired.

If your MDF cabinets are swollen or water-damaged, don’t worry we will fix it. In this comprehensive guide, you have the solution. I have explained a quick and easy way to repair water damaged MDF cabinets.

Repairing Water Damaged MDF Cabinets

Repairing water-damaged MDF cabinets may seem difficult, but you can tackle the task effectively with the right tools and techniques. By following the steps you can restore your cabinets without any challenge.


Most of the time, the part of the cabinet damaged by water are doors. If it is true in your case, rehinge the cabinet doors (if possible) to repair them easily. This will help you to fix warped cabinet doors if they are warped or swollen with water.

Dry Out MDF

If the MDF is still wet, dry it before going ahead. You can dry MDF by using a dryer at low heat to avoid any damage to the material. It will be helpful to repair the MDF in less time because natural air drying will take several hours to dry completely.

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Sand It

Once the MD is dried completely, sand the damaged area by using medium-fine grit sandpaper to avoid any damage to the MDF. A 100-120 grit sandpaper can be a good choice to sand it safely. Sanding will help to remove rough edges or raised portions.

Fix Swollen or Warped MDF

Fixing swollen or warped MDF can be difficult to fix because MDF is less resistant to water as compared to solid wood but you can fix it. Place the swollen or warped MDF on a flat place and apply heavy weight or pressure on it for several hours.

Related Post: How to fix a warped cabinet door?

Apply Wood Filler

Once the MDF is sanded, apply wood filler by using a putty knife to fill cracks, or holes in the MDF to get a smooth surface again. After filling the gaps, use the putty knife to smooth the surface of the filler. This will help create a flush finish with the rest of the cabinet surface.

Allow the wood filler to dry completely. This usually takes several hours, but it’s important to ensure that it’s completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Sand It Again

Once the filler is dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the filled areas. Sand in a gentle, circular motion to blend the filler. After sanding, use a damp cloth to clean the surface of the cabinets and remove any dust.

Restore Finish

Now it’s time to restore the finish of the MDF cabinets. Apply a coat of primer to the repaired areas to seal it. Choose a primer that is suitable for MDF surfaces.

Once the primer is dry, paint or refinish the cabinets to match the existing color and finish. Apply multiple coats as needed, allowing each layer to dry before proceeding.

Related Post: How to Repair Water-Damaged Particle Board Cabinets?


To prevent MDF cabinets from water damage in future, consider the following preventions:

Avoid Accident Spilling: Avoid liquid spilling on MDF cabinets and if accidentally happen dry it thoroughly to avoid water damage on MDF.s

Apply Waterproof Sealant: Apply waterproof sealant to the MDF sheet to protect it from moisture or water contact.

Repair Leaks: Check if there any leakage in water plumbing near the cabinets and then repair leaks properly to avoid water damage in future.

Proper Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in areas where cabinets are installed, such as kitchens and bathrooms, to prevent moisture buildup.

Regular Maintenance: Inspect the cabinets regularly to check if there any water leakage around the cabinets to fix it at time.

Final Words

MDF cabinets can be damaged easily by water because MDF is less resistant to water as compared to solid wood. Once you fix the MDF water damage, you need proper maintenance to avoid future damage.

To protect MDF cabinets from future water damage, consider applying sealants or water-resistant coatings on them. Applying sealant or coating works like a barrier against water, moisture, or steam.


Can you fix water damaged MDF?

Yes, you can fix water damaged MDF like a professional. First, dry the damaged area of the MDF and sand by using 100-grit fine sandpaper. After sanding, apply wood filler to fill holes and cracks. Once the wood filler is dried, sand the area again and repaint the surface.

What happens if MDF gets wet?

When MDF gets wet, it can absorb moisture which can cause it to swell, unsightly bulges or bumps in the surface, or even break apart. It’s crucial to dry out wet MDF as soon as possible to prevent further damage and, if necessary, repair or replace the affected area.

How to repair a swollen MDF baseboard?

To repair a swollen MDF baseboard, dry the damaged area of the MDF and sand by using 100-grit fine sandpaper. After sanding, apply wood filler to fill holes and cracks in the baseboard. Let the wood filler dry. Once the wood filler is dried completely, sand the area again and repaint the surface.

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