How to Waterproof Outdoor Cabinets: 5 Easy & Simple Tips

Waterproofing outdoor cabinets can help protect them from rain, snow, dirt, and other things that come from the environment. 

This will ensure your cabinets last longer and do not get damaged by water or insects. It is important to waterproof the cabinet so water doesn’t get inside and weaken over time. 

Read this blog post to learn how to waterproof outdoor cabinets.

Materials You Will Need

  • Paints formulated for outdoor use
  • Paint brushes and rollers
  • Rags or cloths
  • Sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Putty knife

Complete Guide on How to Waterproof Outdoor Cabinets

1. Inspect the Cabinets

Before you begin waterproofing your cabinets, inspect them for any existing damage. If any wood rot or rust is present, do not attempt to waterproof the cabinet, as it may be too far gone and require replacement.

2. Clean the Cabinets

Once you have inspected the cabinet, clean it using a mixture of soap and water, making sure to remove any dirt, dust, or grime. Let the cabinet dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

3. Sand and Prime the Cabinets

Sand and Prime the Cabinets

Using sandpaper, lightly sand the cabinets to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. When finished, use an outdoor primer designed for wood surfaces and apply it in thin coats using either a roller or paintbrush. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

4. Paint the Cabinets

Apply two coats of outdoor paint in thin layers with either a roller or paint brush, allowing each coat to dry completely between applications. Make sure to use outdoor-grade paint for additional protection from the elements.

5. Seal the Cabinets

Once you have finished painting the cabinets, use a waterproof sealant such as a clear epoxy coating or silicone sealant to provide extra protection from moisture. This will ensure your cabinets are waterproof and last longer. Allow the sealant to dry completely before putting the cabinet back in place.

Waterproofing your outdoor cabinets helps to protect them from water damage and other elements. 

Make sure to use quality materials, follow the instructions carefully, and take the time to inspect your cabinets before waterproofing them. 

5 Reasons Why It’s Important to Waterproof Outdoor Cabinets

Protection from Weather Elements:

Outdoor cabinets are always exposed to sun, rain and snow. Waterproofing them helps protect them from the weather and make sure they don’t get damaged or decay.



The surefire way to extend the lifespan of your outdoor cabinets is by waterproofing them. Doing so shields the materials from the detrimental effects of moisture and humidity, hence safeguarding your investment for the long haul.

Maintain Aesthetics: 

Water can make outdoor cabinets look bad. The colors might change and the shape could warp. To prevent this, waterproofing helps maintain the original tones, textures and keep the cabinets looking like new. Thus, making your outdoor space look nice for a long time!

Avoid Costly Repairs and Replacements: 

The cost of repairing or replacing damaged cabinets can be quite hefty. Waterproofing acts as a precautionary measure, saving you from these potential future expenses.

Improved Functionality: 

A well-maintained, waterproof outdoor cabinet can serve its purpose without any hitches. There’s no worrying about stuck drawers or peeling layers. So, waterproofing ultimately enhances user experience by ensuring smooth operation.

To make sure your outdoor cabinets remain durable and look good, use this guide to waterproof them. This will save you money in the future too.

So, make sure to follow these steps and keep your cabinets well-protected from the elements. 

Some Tips to Keep Your Cabinet Safe:

Here are some tips to keep your cabinet safe:

prevent moisture from penetrating the surface
  • Use a water sealant or coating to prevent moisture from penetrating the surface of the wood. This will help stop mildew and other types of mold from growing.
  • Consider applying a waterproofing primer before painting or staining the cabinets. This will help ensure that any paint or stain adheres properly and won’t be damaged by moisture.
  • When you install cabinets outside, use good-quality hardware. This will help to protect your cabinets from water damage.
  • Check the cabinet for any areas of rot or decay, and make sure to repair them before applying a waterproof coating.
  • If you need help with the best way to waterproof your cabinets, it’s best to consult with a professional for more advice.
  • Use a putty knife or another tool to help spread the waterproofing material evenly across the cabinet surface. This will ensure no gaps or air pockets in the sealant.
  • You can put a sealant on your waterproofing material after it is applied for extra defense. This will help protect it from water and dirt and make it last longer.

It is important to waterproof outdoor cabinets so they don’t get ruined by water. Following the tips listed can help your cabinets stay in good shape for a long time.

Type of Materials That Are Best for Outdoor Cabinets

When it comes to selecting materials for outdoor cabinets, the primary consideration should be their durability and resistance to weather elements. 

Here are a few materials that are suitable for outdoor cabinets:

1. Stainless Steel: 

This material is used to make outdoor cabinets because it is very strong and not easily damaged. It provides a modern, sleek aesthetic that many homeowners crave. It’s also easy to clean and resistant to both corrosion and weather elements. 

2. Marine Grade Polymer (MGP): 

Marine Grade Polymer (MGP)

Marine Grade Polymers are extremely durable, waterproof materials that are resistant to harmful UV light, mildew, and mold. They are commonly used in boats and marine applications, making them an excellent choice for outdoor cabinets.

3. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): 

HDPE is a type of resin that is highly resistant to impact, moisture, and UV light. It is easy to clean and maintain, making it a practical choice for outdoor cabinets.

4. Teak Wood: 

This is also a popular choice for outdoor cabinets due to its natural resistance to moisture, decay, and insects. Teak also has an appealing natural look and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

5. Powder-Coated Steel: 

This material is steel coated with a protective, durable layer of powder coat finish that is resistant to weathering, chipping, and scratching. It is waterproof and can be found in a variety of colors to match any outdoor decor.

6. Concrete: 

Outdoor cabinets made from concrete are extremely durable and can handle bad weather conditions. They also offer a unique, industrial aesthetic to your outdoor space.

Each of these materials offers a unique set of benefits and aesthetics. So the best one for you depends on what you want and the style of your outdoor area. 

Are There Any Common Mistakes to Avoid When Waterproofing Outdoor Cabinets?

Ok, let’s be honest! It might seem straightforward when waterproofing outdoor cabinets. But trust me, if you are not careful, you could end up making common mistakes. Be sure to pay attention when doing this task. 

First, people often overlook the importance of using the right sealant. Not all sealants are created equal, my friend. You have to make sure you’re using one that’s specifically designed to withstand outdoor elements. 

Another pitfall? Applying sealant on dirty or damp wood. That’s a big no-no. Always clean and dry your cabinets before you start. And remember, patience is key! Let each coat of sealant dry thoroughly before applying the next. 

Lastly, remember the joints and edges. Water has a sneaky way of finding the smallest openings, so make sure these areas are well covered. 

So, keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to waterproof cabinets that stand the test of time!

What Types of Environmental Conditions Could Damage Outdoor Cabinets?

Outdoor cabinets are susceptible to various environmental conditions that can cause significant damage over time. 

Sun Exposure
  • Sun Exposure: Too much sunlight can cause the color of your cabinets to fade and the wood to dry out. This can lead to cracks or make it bend. To prevent this, consider installing your cabinets in a shaded area or use a UV-resistant sealant to protect the wood from harmful UV rays.
  • Rain and Moisture: The most common threat to outdoor cabinets is water damage. Excess moisture can lead to wood rot, mold growth, and eventual structural damage. Waterproof your cabinets thoroughly and ensure proper drainage to prevent water buildup.
  • Temperature Fluctuations: Extreme heat can cause wood to expand, while cold temperatures can cause it to contract. Over time, this cycle can lead to cracking or splitting. To solve this, use a flexible sealant that can accommodate these changes without cracking.
  • Wind and Storms: High winds and storms can physically damage cabinets, leading to scratches, dents, or even broken parts. Ensure your cabinets are securely anchored to prevent this.
  • Insects and Pests: Termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-boring insects can cause damage to your cabinets. Consider treating the wood with a pest-resistant coating.

From the first stage of waterproofing, make sure your cabinets are thoroughly clean and dry before applying any sealant. 

Choose a sealant that is high quality and made for outdoor use. Apply several thin coats of the sealant and let each coat dry before putting on the next one.

Don’t forget to pay extra attention to joints, crevices, and any areas where water might seep in. Regularly reapply sealant as needed. 

Do check and maintain your cabinets to prevent damage before it happens.

To Finish

Waterproofing your outdoor cabinets is a great idea to make them last longer. Look out for paint peeling, mold, and wood decay. 

Think about the weather in your area and how much work it will take to keep the cabinets in good shape. 

I hope you have benefitted from this article in understanding the correct procedure for how to waterproof outdoor cabinets. 

It is essential to follow the instructions step by step to protect your outdoor cabinets.

If you liked this article, read our other guides about waterproofing.

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