Water exposure events such as plumbing leaks, roof leaks, moisture intrusion issues and their effects on cabinetry are a major concern for property owners and insurance companies. Unfortunately, there is limited published data correlating water exposure duration and resulting physical damage. To study the effects of water on wood-based composite cabinetry (particleboard), U. S. Forensic conducted an intricate experimental test program. The test program was conducted over a period of 10 weeks and included the data collection of readily observable physical changes.
Test Program Basics
- Selected average to below average quality cabinets purchased from a big box hardware store.
- Constructed simulated kitchens with countertops, adjacent cabinets, and wood framed partition walls covered with gypsum panels installed over a concrete floor slab.
- Test was quality controlled for air temperature, water temperature, and water delivery rate.
- Collected extensive documentation.
Test Program Parameters
- 70 total days of water delivery.
- Two locations of water delivery: Interior of the cabinet and within the wall behind the cabinet.
- Measured flow rate daily (0.5 gallons/day, 32,000 drops/day).
- Water maintained at room temperature (average 700 F).
- Utilized 3 different units for each water delivery location (for repeatability); resulted in 6 different test specimens.
- Observation schedule varied between continuous (cameras connected to laptops), daily (photographs), and periodic deconstruction (photographs).
- Quantitative measurements: Swelling location and amount (thickness measurement with digital caliper), moisture content mapping (with moisture meter), shelf deflection.
- Qualitative: Fungal growth, wetness/stains, decay.
To learn about the results of the study, visit Phase II: Testing & Results. If you would like to learn more about USF related services, visit our Moisture Intrusion & Duration , Moisture and Storm Damage and Thermal Imaging Services pages.