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Charleston

Drying Kitchen Cabinets

This past week we began drying a home in the West Ashley neighborhood of Shadow Moss.

In many ways this water loss was typical of most water damage events. We extracted water from the carpet. We set up air mover and dehumidifiers to dry the carpet, drywall and sill plates.

The unusual circumstance associated with this water loss involved drying the kitchen cabinets and the bathroom vanity. Cabinets and vanities can be particularly difficult to dry because their sides are normally constructed of pressed board.

Pressed board is essentially saw dust bound together in sheets using glue. Pressed board quickly absorbs large quantities of moisture. Unfortunately, it does not give up the moisture very quickly.

If pressed board absorbs a sufficient amount of moisture, it will expand. Pressed board that has expanded, cannot be repaired. Expanded pressed board looks unsightly. Expansion also compromises the strength of the board.

Wet pressed board is also an excellent food source for mold.

The fastest way to dry most cabinets is to remove the toe kicks. The toe kick is a plate that is installed at the base of most cabinets. The toe kick is normally installed at the front of the cabinets. Removal of toe kicks allows the restorer to direct air beneath the cabinets.

Some cabinets do not have removable toe kicks. The wood at the base of the cabinets is integral to the cabinet structure. This was the case in this West Ashley home. How do you dry cabinets in these situations?

Our solution was to use the Injectidry wall cavity drying system. This system utilizes a system of hoses to deliver positive pressure to any cavity in the home. In this case, we drilled ¼” holes in a hidden location where the toe kicks would normally be located. We attached special fittings to the injectidry system that were slightly smaller than the ¼” holes.
The injectidry system positively pressurized the space beneath the cabinets with hot, dry air. This caused rapid evaporation of the water trapped beneath the cabinets.
This was a success. We saved the cabinets. This meant that the home owner was spared the expense of replacing the cabinets. The hidden holes can be left the way they are now or repaired at a minimal cost.