Bathroom or kitchen cabinets with thermofoil coating are a mixed blessing.
The good blessing part is thermofoil cabinets are among the cheapest cabinets you can buy.
The dark side is that the thermofoil in cabinets is subject to the delamination of the medium density fiber base (MDF).
Instead of living with the problem or taking the more expensive route and buying new cabinets, you can fix the thermal coating of the peel relatively quickly by gluing it in place.
So if you wish to add a few more years to peeling your thermofoil kitchen cabinets in Sherwood, Oregon, here are our thoughts and tips;
Whenever you have a laminate or veneered material, you run the risk of delamination.
It is common for a wood veneer to start peeling off furniture after a few years.
Traffic, contact, and humidity will only speed up the process.
But thermofoil cabinets are particularly prone to delamination.
Unlike the example of furniture (wood veneer on wooden furniture), the thermofoil is a sandwich of two different materials.
Thermofoil is a thin vinyl material which is applied to
MDF panels under vacuum and under heat.
While the bond between thermofoil and MDF is strong once applied, this bond can fail in the long term.
Heat, humidity, and a combination of both loosen the bond between the thermofoil and MDF.
Since bathrooms are high humidity environments, humidity and direct contact with water will only exacerbate the delamination process.
If it is a one-time repair focusing only on a corner of the cabinet or two, you can proceed with the repair.
But if this is a kitchen-wide problem, you should consider replacing your cabinets entirely or installing new doors.
If the cabinet boxes are in good condition, but the cabinet doors are chipping, it is best to buy new cabinet doors or reface them.
If your base MDF itself is bulged or is in a condition other than completely flat and smooth, you should not try to repair the MDF.
Warped MDF boards cannot be sanded, planed, or made smooth.
How to Repair Thermoforming Cabinets
With just a few simple tools and materials, you can repair thermofoil cabinets.
As long as the MDF core is in good condition, you have an adequate surface to stick the thermofoil.
Buy a contact cement for home repair, such as DAP
Weldwood contact cement.
You can find it at your home improvement or hardware store. You can even find it at a craft and hobby store, but make sure you don’t buy a craft adhesive.
There is not much to do, because a little contact cement goes a long way. For small repairs, the 3-ounce bottle should suffice.
-Scrap wood, such as short pieces of one by four.
-cloths, rugs, etc.
1. Pull the Thermofoil backward
Have a helper hold the peeling thermofoil away from the
MDF. Be careful not to pull too far or at an acute angle, as the old thermofoil may break or crack.
With the thermofoil pulled back, scrape off any excess cement from previous repairs.
2. Apply contact cement
While the helper keeps the thermofoil away from the MDF, coat both the back of the thermofoil and the top of the MDF with contact cement. Be sure to apply contact cement near the edges.
Do not immediately lay the foil back in position. The instructions on the cement specify how long you should wait before pressing the two materials together.
3. Tap Set and secure
Press the two materials together.
Hold firmly in place for about an hour. Using the flexible materials as protection on the face of the thermofoil, sandwich the work between two pieces of flat scrap wood, held in place with carpenter’s clamp.
You can remove excess contact cement from the edges by gently rubbing it with your fingers or a piece of cloth.
The Bottom Line
If your kitchen cabinets are still in good physical condition, repairing, refacing, repainting, and staining them are some of the inexpensive ways to restore their beauty.
Need help refacing, repainting, or re-staining your cabinets?
Our team at Maller Painting Company has years of kitchen cabinet and residential painting experience serving the areas of Beaverton,
Sherwood, and Tigard, Oregon.
To give us a try, book a FREE estimate below or call us on (503) 410-6366 if you have any questions.