thermofoil vs. wood

laurenjayMay 1, 2012

I am planning to install white kitchen cabinets. The decision is between white thermofoil and white wood. Anyone have experiences to share? I have heard that wood shows the seams and thermofoil discolors.

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Fori is not pleased

They just look different. It's true about the seams that you often get in wood. I'm not sure modern Thermafoil discolors, but it looks, well, plasticky. It's alright in a modern style kitchen but looks wrong with other styles. Paint is easier to touch up, but more likely to need it.

You might want to look at painted MDF. Much less likely to crack, and still the nice painted instead of plastic look.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:29PM
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I can't wait to replace my thermofoil cabinets with real wood. They peel when exposed to high heat. The only good thing about them in my view is that they are very easy to keep clean.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:56PM
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We put Thermofoil in our kids' bath in our previous home. I hated them after a while because in some spots where they got wet the front veneer bubbled out from the cabinet and warped. If I'd have known that was possible prior to getting them I'd have just spent a little more and gotten painted wood. In my opinion, wood cabinets are like wood doors, you're going to have seams if the wood meets at a certain point. That doesn't seem like a drawback to me.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Agreed. We had them in our original builder grade kitchen. Horrible. Looked just like what they were--vinyl wrapped over particle board. The biggest problem is that the thermofoil covering the cabinet doors above our oven would warp and peel off the doors whenever we baked at max temp or used the self-clean. Went through three sets of doors, despite all kinds of attempts to rig up aluminum foil "diverters" to direct the hot air away from the doors. Finally got real cabs and would go doorless rather than use thermofoil again.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Fori is not pleased

To be fair to thermafoil (haha!), people here are replacing it because it failed. They probably have older stuff and it has probably improved over the years. Probably.

I'm not a fan of it, really.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:17PM
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We put ours in in 2006. It was either Cardell or Schrock cabinetry...I can't recall which line we went with for the Thermofoil as we used both lines in our home at the time. Both brands are reputable. So no, not super old and it wasn't old when it started to warp.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:22PM
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bummer! I was considering thermofoil for the laundry room. I need a white cabinet and the "paint" choices from the manufacturer have too much yellow.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:40PM
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I'm with babs -- same vintage, same problems, aesthetically displeasing.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:11AM
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We put the IKEA white Adel cabinets in our laundry room maybe 5 years ago. I think they are some sort of thermofoil. We love them. They've held up wonderfully; they have not discolored at all. On the other hand, the plastic front panel on the dryer has yellowed quite a bit.....

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:25AM
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I think it depends on what you mean by "thermofoil." There are different non-paint white coatings and I quite honestly don't know one from another. But our 20-25 year old white kitchen cabinets, which I have been calling melamine but I don't know what they were, were not peeling at all. In fact it would have taken a blowtorch, a chisel, and an act of God to get that white covering off them, had I ever wanted to. They stood up very well to kids, dog toenails and various other insults for many years. The edges of the doors did yellow with time, and the scribe molding (same color, different material) did end up peeling. So all white non-painted finishes are definitely not created equal. I have Adel white now too and I am hoping they hold up as well as the old ones (except for the yellowing thing).

Side note. Our white dishwasher is a few years old and the plastic panel on the top has also turned color. BUT... Adel white is not really white, it's off-white, and it actually matches the yellowed plastic DW control panel. Ha! (The difference is that the color looks good on the cabinets.) So a very unexpected bonus of the Adel white is that it has made our white DW look better. (The DW is too young to change out so this is good.)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:26AM
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