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I flooded my kitchen a few days ago. One of the consequences is that the wood veneer sheet that covers the gap below my oven has curled up after being soaked in water (see pictures below). Does anyone know how to fix this?

Some points

  • This damage is cosmetic. This veneer is a thin sheet attached to the base of my kitchen cabinets, so it blocks a gap.
  • The material appears to be a thin piece of wood with some fiber- or paper-like layer
  • I tried pushing it back but it has hardened in place and almost cracked when I did so.
  • I was wondering it helps to partially wet it again. If that makes it soft, I could flatten it and use a heavy object to hold it in place for a few days
  • If wetting it doesn't help, does heating with a hair drier soften it, so I can reshape it?

overview of damaged cabinet side detail of curled up veneer and particle board

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I would use caution with whatever you do there is particle board behind that and if it swells up if it hasn’t already it may be tough to repair without a commercial steamer. I have used a damp towel and an iron to fix flood damage like this. The trick is to get the veneer damp and hot it becomes almost like pasta noodles I then use a wood glue and saturate the back side (the wood glues I use are water based). After glueing and making sure I have enough weight pushing on the surface to hold it let it dry slowly a fan can help but don’t add heat that causes the veneer to pucker unless really clamped.

I have used this method in both homes that the kitchen flooded and to recover some 20’s furniture that the owner wanted fixed. With a little patience you may be able to bandaids this, I say bandaids because I have not had good luck with particleboard after a flood.

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Ensure that the particle board is completely dry. If not use a hair dryer and slowly wave it across the particle board at a safe distance so as not to scorch any material.

Once dry apply contact glue to the particle board and the underside of the veneer. Contact glue is sold in a small jar that has a brush applicator attached to the lid for easy use.

Apply an even thin coat to each surface and wait until the glue dulls over and becomes tacky. This should only take a few minutes and can be hastened with the hair dryer.

Once the glue is tacky starting at the point where the veneer starts peeling, press it down towards the edge of the particle board. The idea is to press any air that may prevent the veneer from adhering.

Be forewarned that once the two glued surfaces make contact they will be glued permanently and can't be removed.

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    You missed the part that when the op tried flattening it out it started splitting. Using a hair dryer will make this splitting worse with heat. Particle board if it is swollen is usually toast heat won’t help but fans do work to some extent.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 14 '21 at 14:22

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