Do you have a plywood or MDF countertop or furniture that has swelled due to moisture? Do you know if it can be restored, repaired and / or sealed?

repair chipboard

It is relatively common for furniture made of chipboard (pressed sawdust) or MDF (wood fibers) to deform or swell over time if they are in a place where they are in contact with water or moisture. For example, in bathrooms, outdoors or in kitchens. In the latter case the most common is that of a bench that is swollen.

In the case of both furniture and countertops, it is normal for the chipboard to be covered with a layer of melamine or to be applied some paint, lacquer or varnish, which in theory prevents the passage of water. This is true, but it has its limitations:

  • When sharpening a board (applying adhesive tape to the edge or edge of the board to hide the board’s original appearance), several things can happen that promote the passage of water inward:
    • It was barely sharp. For example, do not coat the entire border or apply enough adhesive or glue. If this is the case, a long exposure to liquids will not be necessary for the plaque to deform.
    • The quality of the glue or adhesive used. Not all adhesives are the same and have the same characteristics, in fact not all are applied in the same way, so some will have greater resistance than others. Normally, quality industrial processes use PUR glues or laser edges that guarantee greater resistance (never a lifetime seal).
  • If the surface of the melamine is hit or scratched deeply, it will no longer be waterproof and the water will flow onto the board.
  • Cuts are made which, although hidden, are not edged or sealed properly. This is the most typical case in melamine countertops, for which the sink hole and the edge is not properly sealed, at most a little silicone on which the sink is and which can be effective at first, but over time the water will pass and can damage the countertop.

Prevention is the basis if you want to avoid repairing the card

If we want to not have to throw away the furniture, the ideal is to prevent rather than fix:

  • Inform us about the industrial process with which the furniture is made to know what resistance the adhesive offers to the passage of moisture and time.
  • exist chipboard or water-repellent mdf, that is, they have improved characteristics against moisture. If the furniture in question, board or countertop is going to be located in a place such as kitchen or bathroom, this type of board is more than recommended. While it is also true, that the price can be significantly higher, although always less than having to replace the furniture.
  • Whether we are going to make the furniture ourselves or hire a professional to do so, we must make sure that all edges are sealed. It is not always necessary to sharpen with tape for this, there are many products with which we can do it, even paints or varnishes that we would normally give other uses.
  • In the case of kitchen and bathroom countertops, special attention should be paid to sealing joints and joints. Check that the silicone is well placed and in good condition around the wash, sink, top, baseboard, corner, plate …
  • If you are going to make cuts, do not make them on the counter, use a cutting board.

The board is swollen and deformed, what do I do now?

The first thing to say is that if the moisture has been penetrating for a long time or if it has been exposed to a lot of unprotected water, little or nothing can be done to repair the swollen lump. However, if it is recent and not excessive, it is possible that we still have time to partially empty or repair the plate or countertop. What should we do for that?

  • The first thing is prevent water from continuing to reach the area so repair the trace. Depending on the use being given to the agglomerate it can be more or less complicated, for example if we go back to the case of a kitchen countertop, it will be necessary to avoid using the sink and the ideal would be to remove it.
  • favor ventilation to promote drying. A day in a dry and ventilated environment will be enough for the board to stay dry. Some may wonder at this point whether in one day will be enough to return to its original form, the answer is no. In one day it will be dry and we will be able to seal it, and then in a few days it will recover its shape, although it will hardly be exactly the same again. Some people recommend using a dryer for a while or even a dehumidifier to get moisture out of the board, which does not hurt, although it is not essential.
  • seal plate

    Once the plate is dry, we will apply a product to seal the edge or tap. If it is hidden, we can use any plastic paint or varnish we have at home (if the surface is very porous, it is advisable to previously use putty to fill the holes) and apply in cases where a sealant can be applied to prevent the water from continuing . reach, for example, silicone around the sink in the case of a bathroom or even the sink in the case of a kitchen countertop. If the edge is visible, we can take the board or bench to a DIY center that we know works with a quality product so that the board can be edged or we can edge ourselves and / or apply a clear varnish to prevent the passage of Water.

Is repairing MDF the same as repairing swollen chipboard?

Basically yes, the process is the same to repair mdf of the effect of water or moisture. An advantage of mdf over the card is that, by definition swells less, in addition to the fact that it is much more common the board is waterproof. And another advantage is that can be sanded or machined much easier and with better results, allowing for deeper repairs.

Water repellent plates

During the process of making slabs, both MDF and chipboard, products that improve their resistance to moisture can be used. These plates are called waterproof. They are the most frequent for the manufacture of countertops, although they are also frequently used to coat walls, kitchen doors, etc.

When we are going to purchase some type of furniture that may come into contact with water, it will always be advisable to use them to avoid repairing chipboard or MDF furniture.