Protecting Your Kitchen Cabinets | Tips to Prevent Damage

written by Kasey White
last updated: January 16, 2023

The majority of kitchen cabinets, particularly those made out of wood, are designed to survive for many years. The timeless elegance of high-quality solid wood cabinets makes them a perfect complement to any kitchen. However, no matter the material of the cabinet, as time passes, some form of damage is bound to happen. At first glance, this damage may appear to have come out of nowhere.  Most cabinet damage is caused by fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Humidity in the kitchen may lead to the wood expanding and contracting. This can, for instance, cause the paint on your cabinets to chip and reveal the joint lines. Aside from that, water damage, faulty installation, relocating the cabinets, and unprepared wood prior to painting are all possibilities. For this preseason, we are going to discuss the top five things that can damage your kitchen cabinets.

Extreme Moisture and Temperature Changes

Kitchen temperature and humidity fluctuations are the leading cause of cracks in the wood center panel and cabinet doors that damage your kitchen cabinets. Wood is a natural material that will adjust to the humidity and temperature of your house over time. However, even the best kitchen cabinets may swell in the summer and other humid months because wood readily absorbs the extra moisture in the air due to the higher relative humidity. When winter arrives, the humidity lowers, causing the wood to compress. Additionally, kitchen cabinet paint wears off over time due to the wood's continual movement. These flaws manifest as tiny openings or thin fractures in the cabinet's doors, joints, or corners. That being said, if you manage the kitchen's humidity properly, problems with painting won't arise. On the other hand, if you wish to prevent cracks, you will need to maintain a constant humidity level of between 40 and 50 percent.

Cabinet Damage Caused by Water

The kitchen is one of the busiest areas in the home, so it's not surprising that water spills and stains are common on painted cabinet surfaces. If your high-quality wood cabinets absorb even a tiny bit of water, they can quickly lose their quality and beauty. Cracking of butt joints in corner cabinets, paint peeling or bubbling, and expansion of wood materials are all possible results. However, if you have plywood cabinets and countertops rather than solid wood ones, it's highly unlikely that your cabinets will become damaged due to water alone. That being said, to prevent water damage to your kitchen cabinet materials, you should clean up any spills as soon as they happen.

Failing to Properly Prepare Cabinetry Prior to Painting

When the wood in your kitchen cabinets isn't properly treated or prepped before the final painting process, cracks may form in either a small piece or across an entire panel. For instance, the paint may bubble or shatter if you work on an unclean surface. Therefore, you need to make sure to remove any dirt, grease, and dust from the wood surface before painting. It's also not a good idea to paint your wood cabinet doors and panels while they're still wet. This may cause bubbles to develop on the paint and eventually peel off, leaving behind unsightly fissures. It's best to buy your cabinets from a manufacturer like Wellborn Cabinet. Wellborn makes sure to go through a multi-step process to prevent this and make your cabinets look beautiful.

Household Pests Can Damage Your Kitchen Cabinets

No one wants to believe they have a problem with pests in their kitchen. Nevertheless, it can happen. Roaches, in particular, are often attracted to the greasy residue that builds up behind the stove. Additionally, pests such as termites love moist environments. This makes your kitchen the perfect place for them to establish their colonies. Termites can severely damage the wooden material inside your kitchen cabinets and cause extensive damage to your home in the process. That's why it's so crucial that you inspect your cabinets regularly for signs of infestation so that you can take action right away to minimize any further damage and prevent the spread of the infestation to other areas of your home. 

Poor Installation

When moving into a new home or renovating, most people put in a lot of effort to prevent dents and scratches on their cabinets. The problem is that they don't make the same level of effort to have them installed correctly. This can cause many issues down the line. Cabinets have various joints. This includes butt joints, rabbet joints, dado joints, and corner joints, just to name a few. Joints that aren't properly assembled and installed might weaken the overall structure of a cabinet, which can lead to cracks and damage over time. If you want your cabinets to last a long time without breaking, you need to use professionals who know how to correctly secure the joints and install the cabinets. Wellborn Cabinet has specially trained dealers and professional installers who can expertly install your cabinets.

Grey kitchen cabinets with a pullout desk table

How to Increase the Longevity of Your Kitchen Cabinets?

If you have recently purchased or are planning to purchase a custom cabinet set for your kitchen and are looking for ways to make it last longer, you should:

Keep Them in Working Order

As soon as you notice that they are not performing properly, you must determine what is causing the problem and resolve it. As we have mentioned, leaving technical issues unattended can cause further damage to your kitchen cabinets.

Clean Them Frequently

Cabinet cleaning is a tedious task that no one wants to do. However, you don't need to be completely thorough. You can simply wipe your kitchen cabinet with a damp rag on a regular basis. You can also follow Wellborn Cabinet's directions for how to properly clean your kitchen cabinets.

Minimize the Humidity in Your Kitchen to Avoid Damage to Your Kitchen Cabinets

Moisture is the worst enemy of kitchen cabinets. As a result, make sure to air out any cooking streams and deal with spilled liquid as soon as possible.


Now that you understand what the top five things that can damage your kitchen cabinets are, we hope that you will take the necessary precautions to protect your investment. If you follow these tips regularly, you should be able to get a lot more out of your kitchen cabinet set for years to come. For cleaning supplies that are perfect for your cabinets and recommended by Wellborn Cabinet, look here.

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