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So I have these built-in cabinets (particle board) that are probably 15 years old. They looked fine maybe 3 days ago. Yesterday I noticed fractures and cracks forming in the base on one side of a row of cabinets. There's a similar crack developing on another cabinet but it's not as bad. The large crack in the image has doubled in width in just 12 hours. I'm guessing that it's due to water damage from a nearby pet water bowl. Have never seen any thing more than 2 table spoons of water on the floor and that was rare. The bright splotches are because paint was added over the years. It blends to the naked eye.

I have a lot of canned food in this cabinet (not visible in images) but that's been true for years. Looks like weight is causing the fractures but I know the piece of wood on the side (with the huge crack) shouldn't even be load bearing. I had to take it out and put it back 2 years ago and there was no weight on it. There are support feet under the cabinets. The other strange thing is that I have similar cabinets in an uninsulated garage that show zero issues.

Do you think the cabinet is in danger of collapsing or is it just an optical illusion?

What's the best way to fix this? I don't want to do a fix that will quickly fail either. enter image description here

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    FYI, MDF and particle board are two different things. You have particle board here. – isherwood Aug 19 at 14:46
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    The question is a bit vague. If there are legs under the cabinet this skirt is completely aesthetic, right? How would we know if that's not true based on what you've shown us? More photos would be great. As to the "best" way to fix it--that's subjective. I'd tear them off and throw them away and move on with my day. – isherwood Aug 19 at 14:48
  • @isherwood best as in not subject to failing soon as mentioned. Thanks for editing q. – HenryM Aug 19 at 15:38
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I would say the best solution is one that gets the particle board monstrosities out of the house, but you probably want a best that's less extreme.

If this is just a trim board preventing stuff from rolling under the cabinet, replacing it with a trim board less subject to falling apart at any hint of moisture would be better. Vinyl trim boards would be arguably "most durable" in that sense, but painted solid wood (not particle board) will likely be fine if the water exposure is not extreme, and will be less expensive than vinyl trim (mostly intended for outdoor use) in my experience.

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  • I hate these cabinets. Hinges are prone to fail because the board isn't strong enough to handle the stresses for example. I do have a solid piece of wood a few inches out of the picture that holds up a bench and it has no sign of decay as you say. – HenryM Aug 19 at 15:41
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    Might be time to look for some reclaimed or used cabinets. They can be had cheap. – isherwood Aug 19 at 16:02

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