I melted the drawer fronts on my cheap plastic cabinets!

gin_ginDecember 30, 2005

Ok this is not a huge disaster as disasters go, but still kinda got me PO'd. Our house is about 10 years old, we've lived her about 6 months. The kitchen is original, white cabinets & white appliances. The traditional styling of the cabinets is not really my thing, but they look nice enough. We want to do a remodel, but that's going to be a few years away if ever. The white doors & drawer fronts are not painted, rather a plastic laminate over MDF. Yesterday I decided to run the clean cycle in the self cleaning oven. Can you see where this is going? Well after it was done I opened the drawers on either side of the oven & the plastic has peeled away & shrunk from the high heat of the clean cycle. ARGH. I would like to throttle whomever deciced to put this stuff right next to the self clean oven. I guess nobody ever ran the clean cycle in the last 10 years?? I have no idea who the manufacturer of these cheap builder grade cabinets is. ARGH! I'm not really looking for advice on how to fix them, just needed to vent. Thanks.


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I'm guessing that this is on the inside of the drawers? You could cover it with contact paper. I guess the people before didn't cook or didn't clean?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2005 at 9:25AM
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No, no, not the inside of the drawers. The edges of the drawer fronts that are very close to the oven door. You can see it looking at the front of the drawer I would not care if it was INSIDE the drawer where it wouldn't be noticable. I should've known better, I knew that it was some kind of plastic coating on the doors & drawer fronts. I know the oven gets very hot on the clean cycle. Yeah, I don't think the previous owners cooked OR cleaned much. You should've see the condition they kept the place when they were showing it, could hardly find the house under all their clutter!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 12:02AM
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Can you peel off the damaged stuff and have a clean surface? You should be able to buy new edging to replace it. Most of the stuff is iron on. Some of it is glued with contact cement.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 11:40AM
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I'm assuming that you have white "thermofoil" cabinets, which are generally MDF with a layer of vinyl-like sheet molded onto them.

I suspect that the original manufacturer's instructions for the cabinets called for removing the nearby drawers and cabinet doors when using the self-clean cycle.

Do you have a cabinet refacing company nearby? They'll be able to fabricate new drawer fronts for you.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 2:55PM
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There are several companies where you could order some new ones from online if you can't find somebody local. Just measure your existing and find some that is the same type you have. Then remove them next time you do the oven self-clean.

Another option is just remove the loose parts and try to find some white paint that matches what you have and paint them until you get ready to replace them.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 7:16PM
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Gin Gin,

Sorry to hear of your problem. I didn't know what thermofoil cabinets until just now, and now I think that I have them also. I probably would have done the same thing, we moved in recently. I just stumbled on this info from www.cabinetmark.com, confirming InfoDivoMary's information. Thermofoil doors and drawer fronts are single piece, manufactured from high quality MDF, computer routed to a selected profile. Thermofoil  a vinyl-like material  is applied to the face and edges using heat and pressure plus adhesive to produce a permanent lamination.
The backs are prefinished white melamine. Matching laminate backs are available as an option on most finishes.

These durable products are completely prefinished, ready to install for years of maintenance-free use. They can be cleaned with methyl hydrate or mild soap & water. (Do NOT use any other solvent based cleaner or any abrasive cleaner.)

Due to the extremely high temperatures created by self-cleaning ovens, a filler should be installed between a thermofoil door/drawer front and the oven. As well, adjacent doors & drawers should be opened when operating in self-cleaning mode.

Thermofoil doors and drawer fronts up to 36" high are warranted for 5 years against warpage, colour fading and de-lamination (subject to the above cleaning & heat guidelines).

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 12:36AM
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Lynne & InfoDiva, this is exactly what I have! There is NO filler installed between the drawer fronts (or doors) and the oven. they were installed right next to each other, whith just enough space so the drawer fronts & cabinet doors don't rub on the oven door when opened. If these instructions regarding opening the drawers were ever supplied when they were installed 10 years ago, they were not given to us. No suprise there, the previous owners did not leave us one single appliance manual. THey also took the central vac tools with them, but that's a story for another day. Because the damage is on the edge plus some of the front & a little bit of the routed detail, I can't just get edge banding & iron it on. I took the drawers out (the drawer fronts were screwed & glued on) and took them over to my Mom. It's a long shot, but she's been able to patch stuff like this before with pretty good results. If that doesn't work at least now I know what this stuff is called, so it might be possible to find something matching. The replies have been quite helpful, THANKS!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 1:17AM
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Thermofoil is a method of simulating wood appearance on cheaper substrates. The wood grain is printed with heat sensitive inks onto a foil and then the foil is run through a hot pinch roller to transfer the grain to the desired panel. The white stuff that curled up in the heat is a vinyl overlay. About 0.006" thick. It is typically applied to a full sheet of material in a process called "flat line". Sheets run continuously through the machine which has a roll coater for adhesive, a roll of vinyl and a pinch roller to press the vinyl into the adhesive. Then the panel is cut into the desired parts and the raw edges covered with edge banding. In some cases, vinyl overlays can be vacuum formed over simple shaped parts.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:56AM
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Well my mom has always says MOM is WOW upside down, and it has always been true! She managed to get it to where it's barely noticable. If you were in my kitchen I'd have to show you where the damage was or you'd never see it. Much much better than either of us expected it to turn out. Yay Mom! lol
I'll see if I can post some before & after photos later.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 11:29PM
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I wonder if the door gasket on your oven is damaged? Hard to believe someone would not clean an oven for 10 years?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 7:14PM
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maybe they did--maybe they just knew they were supposed to remove or open the drawers!

I'm glad WOW, er, Mom was able to fix it for you. What would we do without them.

And...when our kids need us for stuff like this, years down the road, will we be able to? I wonder about that, when I (at 45) call my mom and ask her how to do something, or whether I can use baking soda in something, or whatever. Will I know how to answer? And will my kid trust me?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 7:29PM
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I have the same problem with a drawer front next to the stove.
What did your Mom do to fix it?
Please describe the repair so I can try the same fix.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 2:56PM
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She cut away the curled up plastic laminate stuff and put glue under the edge of the remaining material. She built up the area with the missing plastic with some type of putty (I forgot what she said she used, I'll ask her tomorrow) and painted it white. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close. Since most of the damage was on the edges of the drawer front, the repair isn't noticable unless you open the drawer & then only if you look for it. Now I have noticed that one of my cabinet doors has an area right in the middle where the "thermofoil" stuff is coming loose from the door. You can only tell when you touch it, it moves a little. I wonder how long until the whole piece pops off? This is no where near the oven, this time it's not my fault! Ugh I wish we had the money to remodel this kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:10PM
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She used some kind of spackle for the patches.

BTW to the person that suggested maybe the gasket is bad & they couldn't imagine not cleaning the oven in 10 years, the gasket is fine. I don't think the previous owners ever cooked! I got the feeling they were eating out types.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 2:33PM
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oh boy after reading everyones stories Ill top them all. about 10 years ago I made this gorgous white kitchen yup thermo foil and I have loved it everytime I cook and I cook everyday. I was on the phone with my friend and I looked at my oven and my draws were on fire. I said to my friend my thermo foil is on fire I managed to put it out and then called my insurance company, I had extended my kitchen which cost $4000 and then this fire fire happens. what do I do well I think Ill just replace the panels buy a new oven and when it happens again Ill redo in wood settled. you get what you pay for haha but I still think that thermo foil is clean and bright looking.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 9:32PM
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beachlily z9a

We built our home 10 years ago and did put in white thermofoil cabinets (tired of wood after the last house). We open drawers and cabinet doors when using the self clean function. The first time we used it, the sides of the cabinets buckled. Cabinet maker replaced it and warned us. We haven't had a problem since.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Try posting in the kitchen forum. You may be able to get replacement doors to match. I was thinking about refacing my kitchen but ended up getting them painted. Here is a company I was looking into:

Here is a link that might be useful: replacement doors.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:31PM
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