We love a good IKEA hack around here. Especially when it comes from a professional architect and free of charge like this one from Laura Jane Clark. Laura is one of the architects and presenters of BBC’s home renovation show Your Home Made Perfect alongside Angela Scanlon, which aired its fourth season this summer.
And as she’s a professional architect, we take her word seriously when she shares advice like this IKEA kitchen hack, posted in an Instagram reel on her social media page. In the video, the architect and author says that any inexpensive, flatpack kitchen should be sealed with a sealant such as the CT1 TRIBRID Multi-Purpose Sealant & Adhesive available on Amazon.
This is due to the fact that most of these cheap kitchens are made with MDF or a similar particle board, which is not as sturdy as solid wood or other materials traditionally used in most kitchens. We’ve consulted additional experts to give us a clearer insight into this tip and here’s what they and Laura had to say about it.
Laura Jane Clark’s IKEA kitchen hack
This IKEA hack works on any flatpack kitchen, not just IKEA. But Laura jokingly points out in her reel that hers is in fact from ‘Sweden, you might know the brand’. She posted this tip as a response to a frequent question she gets of whether one needs an expensive kitchen.
‘What I would always say is that you have to seal all of the edges because the inexpensive carcasses are just MDF inside,’ she says. ‘When water gets in, it expands.’
So her solution is to go in with a CT1 sealant alongside all the edges so that no water can get into the board.
She clearly knows what she’s talking about. So it’s no surprise that our experts only further confirmed and elaborated on Laura’s advice.
A photo posted by on
‘MDF is very prone to water damage and as such should be protected from moisture,’ says Penelope Jacobs, kitchen design expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk, the UK’s leading trades matching site. ‘It’s low tolerance to water causes the MDF to swell and your kitchen cabinets will be permanently damaged. There would be nothing left to do but replace them.’
‘By applying CT1 to the edges of the cabinets you will effectively be sealing them. This will prevent water getting to the MDF. CT1 applied to the edges and joints of kitchen cabinets and drawers will also increase their structural strength. It seals the gaps in drawers and cabinets protecting them against pests and containing any spills.’
What is CT1?
Turns out, CT1 is something of a magical formula.
‘CT1 is a multi-purpose waterproofing, hybrid polymer sealant and adhesive,’ explains Lucy Fernando, Fantastic Handyman's home improvement expert and handyman coordinator. ‘It sticks to almost any surface without the need for additional fixings, can be used in damp conditions and is commonly used in preventing water damage to kitchens and bathrooms.’
‘It conforms to ISEGA, which monitors compliance with the demands on food contact materials. CT1 has antifungal properties and has excellent resistance to chemicals. It can also bond with glass, wood, polystyrene and metals.’
So if you happen to have an unsealed flatpack kitchen in your home, you better get to it before it’s too late.
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Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.
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