How to Protect a Bathroom Cabinet From Water

A wooden cabinet in a bathroom is subjected to heavy moisture in the air that can damage the wood surface over time. Most cabinets come with a protective finish of paint or varnish, which may not be enough protection for a bathroom environment. Coating the piece in polyurethane will add protection without obscuring the color of the surface. Although oil-based polyurethane has a slower drying time than water-based products, it provides better protection.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver

  • Old newspapers

  • Vibrating sander

  • Medium and fine sandpaper

  • Tack cloths

  • Finishing paintbrushes

  • Rags

  • Oil-based polyurethane

Step 1

Disassemble the cabinet, taking off all hinges and hardware with your screwdriver. Lay out the pieces on old newspapers.

Step 2

Set up your sander with medium-grit sandpaper. Run the sander over the surface cabinet parts, dulling each section to take off any gloss or grime.

Step 3

Repeat the process with fine sandpaper to get the piece smooth and clean. Wipe up the dust with a tack cloth.

Step 4

Brush a light, smooth coat of oil-based polyurethane on the cabinet sections, using a refinishing paintbrush. Keep the polyurethane thin and smooth, then let it set for 24 hours.

Step 5

Sand the dried polyurethane lightly by hand with the fine sandpaper, just enough to make the surface dull and flat. Wipe up the dust with the tack cloth.

Step 6

Apply a second layer of polyurethane. Let it set for 24 hours, hand-sand it, then brush on a third layer. Let the third layer set for 48 hours. Put the cabinet back together.

References & Resources