No announcement yet.

Working with particle board cabinets

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Working with particle board cabinets

    While searching online for solutions, I stumbled onto a few posts similar to my situation so thought this might be a good place to ask some questions.

    When we bought our home (17 years ago) we did a few upgrades. One of them was a granite counter top and ceramic floors in the main bathroom. We left the rest in place as it seemed to be relatively new.

    What we didn't notice, or didn't know, was that the cabinets were made of particle board covered with a thin white laminate. Presumably that would have been fine in a dry environment, but not so in the bathroom. The board has begun to peel and show the particle board.

    The second problem is that the kids made a mess of the insides of the drawers and they are stained, drawn on, etc. In other words, awful is too kind a word.

    So, we have both an external problem as well as internal.

    Would anyone be able to make suggestions how we might repair these cabinets?

    • would like to do it in situ and avoid potential damage to counter top (exceptionally large with granite backsplash) and ceramic tiled floors
    • needs to be a DIY (financial limitations) and something senior citizens can do

    • is there a way to clean the insides of the drawers and/or line them (maybe entirely, not just the bottoms), or paint, or something else we haven't thought of?
    • is there a way to repair the cabinets themselves and/or paint them and/or something else

    While I'm certain there won't be a perfect solution, I'm happy for one which would make these at least look better and if possibly, hold up better as well.

    Thank you for considering my situation and offering any words of wisdom.

  • #2
    Personally, I'd consider replacing the cabinets, fitting them so that you can retain the granite counter tops. The granite of course is durable and beautiful, not to mention quite expensive. However, the cabinets are exactly the opposite! I don't know if the 'chipboard' cabinets were recommended to you, or if it was just something that looked good to you, but as you now see, it was a poor choice. Frankly, I wouldn't use 'chip board' for anything, much less a bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen. Actually, I wouldn't select 'chipboard' or MDF for anything, it's nothing but sawdust and glue and has no integrity over time. In the presence of moisture, it deteriorates and even dry, it warps.

    Understand, I'm not in the building trades, but I've owned three homes over my seventy-plus years, with the last being the present, an old 1887 built. I've only used chipboard and MDF once, soon discovering that it is simply awful material to work with, and an extreme waste of my time (unfortunately I watched too any of those home-improvement shows prior to purchase).

    Cabinets don't have to be expensive, but make sure what you chose is based on decent materials and that the people you buy from know that it's going into a bathroom. Important that you have a decent warranty against warp and moisture-caused deterioration. You might also want to install a decent exhaust fan too.

    Again, I'm not in the trades, just a retired senior citizen with homeowner and some woodworking, electrical, plumbing, and rennovation experience. With your present cabinets, covering-up your present damage is only going to be an ongoing and repeat process.

    I hope this helps,



    • bubbe
      bubbe commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for your thoughts. Unfortunately, the quotes we had were way beyond our means. The quote to remove the counter top and backsplash, and reinstall afterwards, was more than 3x the cost of making the cabinets themselves -- which my husband is capable of and does a lovely job.

  • #3
    If money is an issue look into "Habitat For Humanity".... Often they have nice cabinets for resale from home demolitions
    and remodels at reasonable prices.

    Cactus Man


    • bubbe
      bubbe commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you. We were hoping to find an in situ solution since we don't want to damage the existing counter top, backsplash and floors. If we could remove the counter top and not damage it, my husband would make the cabinets. He's done several in our home and they are amazing.

  • #4
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
    "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"


    • #5
      Ok, I'll take a stab at it. How much of the cabinet is damaged on the outside? Is it possible to get the granite top and splash off? If you can get the top off and reuse it, then you have a couple of options. I would cut the toekick off of the cabinet and make a new one, using something more durable than particleboard. If the rest of the cabinet is in good enough condition, reinstall it. If it is not, consider laminating over the sides, I'm assuming the sides are the only damaged part. You should be able to contact local cabinet shops for scraps and cutoffs.

      As for the drawers, I've seen people use contact paper to cover the bottoms. You could possibly cover the sides on the inside as well. While these are probably not the best options, they are fairly easy and not very expensive, which is what you asked for.

      Good luck


      • bubbe
        bubbe commented
        Editing a comment
        It's rather hard to explain what it looks like but I'll give it a try. There are 3 fixed walls. On the right side is a linen closet, and it extends floor to ceiling. Moving to the left, the counter extends all the way to the opposite wall. The size is suitable for a two sink counter, but it has only a single sink in the center.

        In short, there is no accessible side but for the front.

        To answer your question: the majority of the damage are the drawer fronts and some of the facing but the worst part is the corner along the linen closet where the laminate has peeled and the MDF is exposed.

    • #6
      Bob D's link above is for US restore locations

      For those of us from Canada that find this topic here is a link to find a Canadian store //

      Trivia note: First ever Re-store opened in my city (Winnipeg MB) in 1991. It was such a success that there are now 1100 of them worldwide.