A few days after buying our house, we noticed this lovely mess inside one of the kitchen cabinets. This is the cabinet next to the dishwasher, so I'm guessing there was a water leak at some point.

The floor of this small cabinet is partially rotted away, as is the back bottom of the cabinet. You can also see a pipe in the wall -- so it must have gotten into the drywall too.

There's a big draft when you open this cabinet, probably because they removed wet insulation. Should I try to squeeze a batt of insulation back there to address the air leak?

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  • Is it still wet at all? – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 9 '19 at 23:29
  • No, this probably happened many years ago. – Michael Feb 9 '19 at 23:49
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    Note that those drawers depend on the back panel for support, so either fix the back panel or be cautious with the weight (if any) in the drawers. FWIW, if this was my house, I'd replace that cabinet and in doing so, be in a position to better understand the scope of the leak. This smells like way more than a dishwasher leak to me. – Aloysius Defenestrate Feb 10 '19 at 14:22
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    Insulation doesn't really block airflow. Wall sheathing, housewrap, and vapor barriers do that. – isherwood Jul 10 '19 at 14:07

Possibly caused by some problem with the dish-washer?

It seems to be structurally sound enough. (maybe 40% strength, but "enough")

Fill the void with expanding foam and place a wooden panel in the lower part of the back (do no get in the way of the drawer) to keep the foam in while it cures, the foam will glue it in place forming a new back for that cupboard.


Batt insulation would be good to put in there, just don’t compress it at all if possible.

Obviously, replacement would be ideal; there is just so much water damage there. But, you can probably make some decent repairs.

  1. The board on the bottom looks loose. I would pull that up
  2. cut away all rotten wood from the back and bottom
  3. You might need to put some 2x4 under the current bottom to support a new bottom
  4. Replace the wood with plywood
  • If it is a single base cabinet, pul it out and see if it is repairable, you can then asses the damage of the wall. If you can't repair the cabinet, buy a new one and see if you can transfer the drawer face and the door so they match your other cabinets. Matching stain is easy, but faces not so much. I bought all nw cabinets during a kitchen remodel, a year later I wanted another cabinet, drawer faces or doors. The company informed me that they had discountinued that line a month or 2 before I made my request. So if I want parts or anything, I now have to make my own. – Jeff Cates Feb 10 '19 at 21:25

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