Garage Cabinets Will Warp in The Garage: 3 Things To Watch Out For

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The storage needs in a garage are different than in your kitchen, and your cabinets will reflect that. Cabinets in the garage can help you hide junk and tidy up the space, but you must maintain them well.

Cabinets will warp in a garage due to extreme temperatures, humidity, poor craftsmanship, or neglect. This isn’t always the case; some precautions can be taken to prolong the lifespan of your cabinets. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the common reasons why cabinets warp in a garage and how to prevent this from happening. 

Reasons Why Cabinets Warp in a Garage

It’s not necessarily a matter of if your cabinets will warp in your garage, but when and how badly. 

Things tend to sag or warp a little with time. Still, not all cabinets will bend, and not all will warp badly, primarily if they’re adequately maintained over the years — which can sometimes mean taking things apart and putting them back together. 

However, several factors can cause cabinets to warp in a garage, from poor craftsmanship to temperature extremes. Your cabinet’s longevity will also depend significantly on where you live and what your house is like. 

A garage in a cold climate will have different considerations than a garage somewhere warm in humid conditions. A garage made from steel will have a different environment than a garage made with cement or steel walls.

Regardless, with the proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your cabinets stay in good condition for years to come. Let’s first talk about the factors you should consider if you’re worried about cabinet warping. 

1. Humidity & Moisture Will Warp Cabinets

The biggest reason cabinets tend to warp in a garage is the high levels of humidity and moisture present. This is especially true in areas with high levels of precipitation. The moisture in the air will cause the wood to swell, warp, and sag. 

To prevent this, it’s crucial to install cabinets with a waterproof sealant, purchase a dehumidifier,  or ensure the garage is well-ventilated. While you may think this is an issue only for those in humid climates, it’s not. Garages and basements are typically pretty moist places, even if there isn’t a lot of moisture in the air. You should be cautious of mold, mildew, and the like. Excess humidity can rot your wood and lead to warped cabinets. 

2. Extreme Temperatures Will Warp Cabinets

Another reason cabinets may warp in a garage is the temperature extremes that occur over time. Garage temperatures sometimes reach 90 degrees in the summer and drop to freezing in winter. 

If you have a set of fragile, sentimental cabinets in your garage, try to leave the door open sparingly. These temperature changes can cause the wood to expand and contract, leading to warping and other damage. 

To protect against this, it’s vital to ensure the cabinets are properly insulated and use best practices when opening and shutting your garage. 

3. Poor Construction Will Make It Easier for Cabinets To Warp

If you’re building your cabinets in the garage because “why not,” you need to be cautious so that your craftsmanship doesn’t affect the quality and longevity of the cabinets!

Poor construction makes it easier for cabinets to warp in a garage because low-quality materials such as particleboard and plywood can easily affect temperature and humidity changes. 

In addition, if the cabinets are not correctly put together, with parts being held together by nails or screws, this can make them more prone to warping. To prevent this, it’s essential to ensure the cabinets are constructed with high-quality materials and put together correctly. 

Using a sealant to protect the wood from moisture is also a good idea.

Measures You Can Take to Keep Your Garage Cabinets from Warping

Your cabinets beginning to sink, sag, or warp isn’t a death sentence.

Proper maintenance will maximize the longevity of your cabinets and prevent any warping. 

However, please don’t wait until it’s too late; begin your maintenance routine immediately after you notice something is off. It’s like they say: you wouldn’t fix a roof when it was raining; you’d do it beforehand when it was sunny. Do the same with your cabinets! 

You can do a few things to ensure your garage cabinets last long. Nothing will make your cabinets last forever (unfortunately), but some things can increase their lifespan. 

Taking care of your cabinets by sealing gaps and joints, preventing moisture, installing vents, and finishing them properly will help them last longer. I’ll dive into each of these below.

1. Sealing Gaps and Joints

Using sealant to protect the wood from moisture is essential in maintaining your cabinets in a garage environment. Water causes wood to swell and warp over time. With sealant, this won’t happen as the moisture can’t seep into the wood. 

It also helps protect the wood from UV rays, which can cause warping. This usually isn’t too big of an issue inside a garage. However, if you have windows in your garage or glass on your garage door, this will be an issue for your cabinets.

To get the most out of your sealant, apply it to all exposed surfaces of the cabinets and reapply it every few years.

2. Monitoring Humidity Levels

To prevent cabinets from warping in a garage, it’s crucial to monitor the humidity levels in the space with a hygrometer. If the humidity is too high, it can cause the wood to swell and warp. 

To prevent this, installing a dehumidifier in the garage and regularly to check the humidity levels is essential. You should also limit the amount of water and moisture used in the garage, which can also lead to warping.

3. Installing Vents to Promote Air Circulation

Another preventative measure is installing vents to improve air circulation. This will help keep the temperature and humidity levels in the garage consistent, which prevents warping. 

Additionally, it’s essential to ensure the vents are not blocked by furniture or other items, as this can hamper air circulation. 

4. Using High-Quality Materials 

Another critical step in preventing cabinets from warping in a garage is to use high-quality materials. This means using strong and durable materials like hardwood and high-grade plywood. 

Low-quality materials such as particleboard are more prone to warping and damage due to their susceptibility to moisture and temperature changes. 

Final Thoughts 

Cabinets can warp in a garage due to various factors, such as poor craftsmanship, heat and humidity, and lack of proper maintenance. 

To prevent this, it’s important to monitor humidity levels, install vents for air circulation, apply finishes to protect against moisture, and use quality materials. With the proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your cabinets stay in good condition for years.

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