Kitchens are prone to water damage if the correct preventative measures are not taken during the installation process.
As any doctor will tell you, prevention is better than cure. A melamine board that has been exposed to water for a period on an open edge will show physical signs of damage. Extended periods of exposure to water will compromise the structural integrity of the cabinet and it will start to sag and fall apart. All this is easily avoidable, and it is quite possible to have melamine cupboards still looking great years after installation, even in high moisture areas.
When installing cupboards it is best to have them on adjustable legs instead of having them on particleboard constructed bases. This keeps moisture from rising into the structure and ruining your cupboards. Simply install melamine kick plates to hide these adjustable legs. These might show signs of damage over time, but they are easily fixed by unclipping them from the adjustable legs and replacing them with new ones.
When you construct your cupboard, don’t try to cut costs by not edging some panels. This might seem like an innocent cost saving. It is a norm in the installation business to not edge the sides that won’t be visible. But the fact is, edging also protects against moisture penetration. Rather edge the whole lot and have that extra barrier to rely on.
Always apply silicone along all of the edges of your newly installed cupboards, all along the kick plates, and where the cupboard and wall meet. Should you ever have a spill, water will not be able to top penetrate along the edges. The most important part of this step is to silicone the area where the countertop and wall meet. Be sure to cover all the most common entry points; along basins, pipes or taps leading through the cupboard. Always use quality silicone that is mold and mildew resistant, specially formulated for kitchens and bathrooms.
Finally, never allow water to spill on your cupboards unnecessarily. If it does, be sure to dry it properly.