I finally determined the source of the leak (How to start investigating the source of this leak in the bathroom), but now I am stuck with dealing with the water damage.

It turns out that the water was leaking from the left hand side of the tank, running down the back of the toilet to the baseboard, and then finding its way to the right where it was wicked up by the particleboard of the cabinet. Toilet and cabinet

I removed the shoe molding from around the cabinet and found mold and water damage: Shoe molding with mold Top view of cabinet water damage Side view of cabinet water damage

Do I need to replace the cabinet, or is there a less drastic solution?

Do I need to remove the shoe molding and baseboard to check for damage to the drywall behind the toilet? The drywall sounds dry when I tap it, and the baseboard and shoe molding feel dry, but there are a lot of stains on the shoe molding and on the grout by the shoe molding.

2 Answers 2


Chances are, now that the leak has been repaired, the moisture will dry up and you won't have further problems. You may have some subfloor to replace when/if you ever replace the finished floor, but it's probably not an urgent matter.

Since you have an overhanging faceframe you can add a veneer to the side panel of your cabinet without showing an edge at the front. I'd visit your local home improvement store and see what they stock in the way of paneling or pre-finished plywood. You could also buy raw birch plywood and finish it to match.

You'd then carefully cut a panel to fit the shape of your cabinet and use panel adhesive or contact cement to adhere it to the side of the cabinet. Sand or scrape any bumps from the existing surface first.

  • Sorry about the down vote, but your answer could actually cause future health problems for the OP or their family.
    – bigbull15
    Jan 30, 2017 at 19:09
  • I agree with @isherwood, if the area can be dried many times by a fan blowing on the affected area and there is no mold a minor repair and refinishing would be all that is required.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 30, 2017 at 19:14
  • I agree with both, however the OP said there is mold. Chances are that the particle board cabinet won't dry without mold starting. I would replace it with a cheap replacement from the home improvement store. Sometimes you can get a basic cabinet with sink for under $60. Easier and faster than taking what you have apart and replacing the pieces that are damaged. Also, I would pull the moulding and check the drywall. Chances are that if the toilet leaked and ran that far, it soaked into the drywall, unless it is the 1/4" to 1/2" off the floor most are for this reason.
    – Jeff Cates
    Jan 30, 2017 at 19:44

You should remove the drywall up to 12" from the floor behind the toilet and if that is an exterior wall remove the insulation as well. You should also remove the cabinet because it will hold moisture in the cavity below the interior cabinet floor (the piece of wood/MDF you set stuff on in the cabinet). If you have visible mold on the outside of the wall or baseboards, it's almost guaranteed you have mold in hidden spaces.

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