Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Waterproofing Under the Sink

January 2016 Update: Visit our new blog www.brianandkaylor.com  

Weird things happen under the sink. If you have ever lived in an older home, then you might have had to replace part or all of the cabinet base.  Over time all the small (or big) plumbing leaks, spills, and moisture takes its toll on the wood.  The area under our sink in the new house was in BAD shape.  Swollen and falling apart.  Our house was a vacation home and never had full time residents and in the past 9 years, they weren't even using it as a vacation home.  It had been sitting empty for a long time so small things like plumbing leaks were neglected and caused problems.

This is what it looked like when we bought the house.

Since our base was so bad, we cut out the entire base area.

Then we replaced it with a piece of plywood.  I caulked all around the edges, primed and painted it the cabinet color.

To prevent future water or moisture damage I wanted to waterproof the area.  Some people put vinyl tiles or contact paper down but there are several things I don't like about those options.  First, I wanted real waterproofing.  No cracks for the moisture to get into or edges for it to get under.  Also, I wanted a seamless look.  Tile and contact paper don't match the cabinet color perfectly and are obvious.  I like things uniform and consistent so I bought this.

Its like plastic in a can.  Strange and fascinating all at the same time.  Rust-oleum just released a waterproof product that seems to do the same thing but I had already purchased the Plasti Dip when I saw the Rust-oleum product so I stayed with the Plasti Dip.  It is about $8 a can and comes in many colors including gloss (clear).  Before using the product be sure you have fixed all leaks, caulked any gaps if you replaced the cabinet base, and protect areas that you do not want exposed to over spray!  I taped off a 6 inch rim and taped off the sides of my cabinets to protect them.  I also covered my floors in front of the cabinet with a blanket.  (Excuse the bad photos.  These are all iPhone photos because I have been too tired to worry about the good camera.  Sorry folks...I get to be lazy sometimes.)

WARNING:  This stuff stinks!  Very powerful.  I wore my full chemical safety face mask that I use in the paint booth.  I opened windows and I turned the vent on high.  Be sure to have plenty of FRESH AIR ventilation.  Turning on the vent over the stove will not be enough.  A good way to help bring in fresh air is to put a small fan in an opened window to blow in outside air.

I put two coats waiting at least 4 hours between coats.  Super easy to work with except for the smell.  Now I have a water resistant base under the sink that will be durable enough to handle any water leaks and moisture for many years.  This also makes for easy clean up if you keep cleaners or the trash under the sink.

Can you even see it?!  It looks like any other cabinet base but it does feel different.  If you look close, you can barely see the edge where the texture changes.  Here is a close up.

You wouldn't  know that this base is different than the others if I had not told you!  LOVE!  Just another idea for you DIYers looking for a better option to deal with the moisture problems under the sink.  This is easy and affordable so anyone can do this.  If you don't have previous water damage this project is super easy!  Just tape off and spray!

Here is another reminder of what a little work can do.

Click here to see the finished kitchen.


  1. Great option. Hasn't everyone had a leak? We have a 20 year old house. (My I can't believe that number) and had a leak too. Like your fix.

  2. Wow, thank you for this great tip...

  3. It's very important to have a waterproof layer in places like that. I've seen the wood swelling and flaking under the sinks in places before and it's not good. You don't want to let damage like that to keep going. A little prevention can save you a big headache later on. http://www.westsidesealants.com.au/waterproofing

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  5. Do you think it would cover slight stains?

  6. Where do u buy the spray plastic from

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  8. i think part of good design would mean that sink cabinets had waterproofing to start with, so this has always been a pet peeve for me. i guess in our kitchen and baths the cabinets are all standard and only a few actually have sinks installed above. nobody would want the extra expense of waterproofing all the cabinets when only a fraction of them hold sinks, i guess.

    when i replaced the kitchen faucet 15-20 years ago i discovered discoloration from a long before repaired leak (i just didn't know about it at the time since i was consumed with school and work). to keep water from damaging it in the future i had pieces of plexiglass sheet cut to fit and installed them on the base and also several inches up the walls of the inside of the cabinet. it's about 1/8" thick with white latex paint along the surfaces adhered to the cabinet. the paint covers up discoloration of otherwise ok base and can't scratch or rub off since the unpainted side is what's exposed. it's super easy to wipe off any dust or bits of rusty debris, spilled detergents, or moisture with a damp paper towel. i installed a new faucet this weekend and with the difficulty of removing a rusty nut i managed to drop pliers and a wrench. i noticed there were a few very minor scratches from that, but the surface still looks great. i just need to re-caulk the edges.

    i was thinking i probably should have brought the plex all the way up the sides initially. the place i'd always had a concern over tho was the back wall that all the pipes come out through. ideally i would have found a way to protect that entire wall, but working around the hot and cold and two drains and two electric cables was just too much. it's always bothered me that the back wall is in as much danger of water damage as the bottom of the cabinet, but other than the bottom few inches i hadn't found a way to improve that surface. totally love the idea of painting a rubber coating on there - thanks!

  9. How has the plastic dip held up?

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