Particle Board Water Damage: Dos and Don'ts
Particle board is a wood product that is manufactured from waste wood particles, sawdust, and shavings. It is quite durable and attractive, considering the low price and affordability. When sealed with a waterproof veneer or a laminate cover, particle board is suitable for a range of applications. However, it is much more prone to moisture damage as compared to hardwood, plywood, or Oriented Strand Board (OSB).
Preventing Particle Board Water Damage
You can avoid particle board water damage to a large extent by following some precautionary measures. The first step is to install particle board only in locations where it will come in contact with minimal moisture. Particle board is a great, economical choice for cabinets or as underlayment for flooring. It is important to remember that particle board will swell and deform very quickly if exposed to high levels of moisture. Avoid installing it under kitchen or bathroom sinks. Particle board should not be used for backsplashes either as they are constantly exposed to water and humidity. However, when used for kitchen cabinets that are a safe distance away from water sources, particle board can stand the test of time.
Avoid driving screws or nails into particle board. Because this material is made of small particles of ground wood, it can lose its shape when indentations are made on its surface. Small holes can also provide an inlet for moisture, which can quickly deteriorate the particle board. If you use particle board as an underlay for walls or floors, never lay tiles directly on it. The particle board must be thoroughly sealed and protected to prevent moisture infiltration.
The use of particle board in kitchen and bathroom walls or floors should be avoided whenever possible. If you do use particle board in these areas, seal it thoroughly and then lay tiles on the wall or paint it. For flooring, a concrete board on top of the particle board provides added stability and protection from moisture. You can lay the flooring tiles or linoleum on top of the concrete board.
Particle board should never be used for outdoor applications, because it will not withstand the moisture from rain or snow for long.
Dealing With Particle Board Water Damage
Once you see signs of particle board water damage, you will most likely have to replace it. Wet particle board provides a fertile ground for mold and mildew. Also, it can stain and warp easily. When wet, particle board can sag under weight, which is unsafe. It will not take well to sharp objects such as high-heeled shoes or furniture that is being moved around.
Wet particle board swells and expands with the moisture. It loses most of its strength as well. It is best to replace the affected parts before the damage gets worse. Particleboard furniture is also susceptible to damage, which can be avoided to a large extent by keeping moisture away. Careful handling of particle board furniture is also important, especially when it is being moved. If possible, disassemble and carry smaller parts of the furniture to minimize the risk of damage.
When it comes to particle board, it is best kept dry! Follow these tips and you'll avoid unwanted water damage.