Damage Duration - Cabinet

Everyone's favorite claim scenario.  A reported flood. Cabinets were reported damaged by the flood.  Your task: determine the duration of the reported cabinet damage/deterioration.  Was the cabinet damage preexisting or was it caused by the reported flood?

The simplest scenario in this case involves 24 hours submersion.  Here is the sample prior to testing.

Here is the same sample after 24 hours of freshwater submersion.  Note the swelling.  Laminate cabinetry will swell when exposed to moisture.  It is important for you to bring a simple caliper out to the subject site to quantify this swelling.

Cabinet Staining-

The cabinet swelling is often accompanied by staining.  However our studies have concluded that staining is an inaccurate method of determining cabinet damage duration.  Staining can occur in as little as an hour after water exposure is initiated.  Chemicals, corroded materials, etc, all contribute to staining.  

Damage from the reported loss or preexisting deterioration?

Okay, back to the original question.  So at this point you've identified cabinet swelling both visually and with your caliper.  So you may ask, "What does a cabinet look like that has been subjected to long term deterioration and deferred maintenance?".  Answer- if its been subjected to moisture, it will contain delamination as identified by swelling.  However a long-term deteriorated cabinet would also contain chips, scratches etc.  We also have ongoing cabinet testing which simulates multiple wetting events over and extended period of time.  The best approach is to survey the entire kitchen cabinets.  A flood would cause widespread damage.  If you only have cabinet swelling near the sink and dishwasher, then you can conclude it's related to plumbing issues and/or deferred maintenance.