White Cabinetry Thermofoil vs Painted

midwestmamaNovember 8, 2009

I have had my heart set on a white kitchen for so long. The thought of not getting the white really bothers me, it isn't something I plan on being flexible about.

We were at the cabinet store and the cabinets they recommended for us were all thermofoil. When I inquired about painted finish instead we were told we could go with Dura Supreme Alectra, but that they would be much more expensive.

I had also been looking into the Ikea cabinets but their white are all thermofoil also.

I'm looking for affordable cabinets that are easy to maintain, can be wiped clean, and last a long long time. The thermofoil we looked at seemed so cheapy but were very small cabinet samples. (Merillat)

What is your opinion on painted vs thermofoil?

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>I had also been looking into the Ikea cabinets but their white are all thermofoil also.

Actually, only the Adel White is thermofoil. The other whites are all painted.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 5:18PM
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Wow, I didn't realize that. Of course Adel was the one I preferred, but it does give me some more options at least. I like the lindingo some, I also like the beadboard but afraid it would just be so much harder to clean with all the grooves. So now the decision... why one over the other? Thermofoil vs paint?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 5:36PM
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Thermafoil makes me think of beach rentals. We went with painted Kraftmaid cabinets. The paint charge was expensive...but I timed it with a great rebate offer and nixed some of the designer extras

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Ikea cabinets have much to recommend them -- most of all the price! But the Ikea white thermofoil cabinets we installed in 1998 have not held up well at all. As a result we are now shopping for new cabinets. This time I will insist on white painted wood. (It is possible that Ikea has improved their cabinets since then since I've heard many happy reports of Ikea cabinets on this website.)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 6:07PM
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how big is your kitchen and what is your budget? what elements would you like to incorporate into the space? how many showrooms have you visited? we are building so budget is a big consideration. i went out and got seven quotes for our large kitchen. only one of them was for a semi custom line which i thought was overpriced. for something called semi custom it was more like stock to me. go out and get more quotes and don't shy away from custom because you think it will exceed your budget. good luck!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 6:16PM
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My friend, who has thermofil, is having problems with the cabinets on both sides of her oven. The heat is making the thermofil seperate from the MDF base.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 6:20PM
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If you want a shaker style door there are a couple of other options with ikea: buy the boxes from ikea and custom order the doors (Scherrs and other companies are set up to make this reasonably easy), or a few people have painted the ikea oak tidaholm door, which has a narrower, more traditional looking stile around it for a less modern look than the Adel doors give.

I also wish they had a painted white shaker style door.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 6:26PM
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Doesn't "painted" just mean melamine? We have old Ikea cabinets, which I understand to be melamine. It is a painted veneer that can be pried off.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 7:11PM
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All the Ikea whites are a melamine/thermofoil/polyester. None of them are wood that is painted white. A couple of them (Lidi & Stat) are "fiberboard with polyester paint" but if you see if in real life, it is nothing like wood with regular paint, IMO. I would not order a white cabinet from Ikea without seeing it in person first.

I was very anti-melamine/thermofoil when choosing cabinets. I tried and tried to talk myself into it to save money, and I could not. My cabinets are maple with white paint - and I can definitely tell the difference.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 7:15PM
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You should look into a local cabinetmaker if you want painted cabinets. That's often a cost efficient option.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 9:39PM
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The ikea boxes are melamine. The doors are mdf with paint. (Whether you like the paint is another question but it *is* paint, and not melamine.)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 9:43PM
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I went with white painted maple. I was a little leery of the maintenance because I believe thermofoil is probably a little easier to maintain day-to-day but more problematic over the long haul. Mine are only 2 months old and so far, so good, as far as stains go. We're messy people. LOL.

I was in a friend's thermofoil white kitchen recently and was reaffirmed in my decision to go with paint; I really do prefer the matte vs. glossy finish. That's not to say there are not lacquer-shiny finishes in white paint. I just didn't go that route.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 10:17PM
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Dura Supreme makes a good cabinet. In fact, a really nice cabinet. They are pricier than Merillat in any finish.

I don't like thermofoil in a kitchen, though I do have a thermofoil cabinet in a little bathroom. It cleans up well. In fact, it was a floor sample that I paid $50 for and I couldn't turn it down. Even came with a blue corian-type top and a faucet that I didn't use. After I got the dirt (yuck!) off it, it looked like new.

Get some different prices from different cabinet lines and dealers. It's a competitive market, and someone will want your business enough to work it out for you.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 10:48PM
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well. I am on my third house and third white thermofoil kitchen. The first house was schrock 42 inch cabs with pretty detail and white laminate counters, burgundy walls and hardwood floors. Not beyond budget, but they did yellow quickly for some reason and schrock replaced them all. We sold that house in one hour for 5000 more than the asking price. They said they loved the kitchen. Next house, 90 year old house. Again we did not want to overimprove and this time did newport, 42 inch from american woodmark/home depot. Again hardwood floors, stainless everything. It looked gorgeous. Again our house sold this past summer with a bidding war (5 contracts) They loved the kitchen....now in our new home, once more we did home depot, Newport. The cabinets held up at 2nd house and american woodmark was exceptional in service, so why change?!. We are upgrading to granite and again, we have dark hardwood floors. There is just something aBOUT white that you never tire of, and its obvious, we have not. We were only aBLE TO DO 36 INCH CANINETS THIS TIME BUT DID 5.5 INCH CROWN TO THE CEILING AND IT LOOKS GREAT. There is a lot of detail in the door which I did in square, not cathedral, and it is more of a matte finish. wish I knew how to post photos, but its not finished anyway. I almost did painted white but was talked out of it as they said the painted does not hold up as well. Good luck in your selection dilemna.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 11:18PM
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There have been a lot of responses, thanks. I guess I am trying to determine which is better for us. Price is certainly something we need to keep in mind, but even ignoring price, which is better? I heard some problems with heat holding on the glue. I assume the poly paint at Ikea would be kind of a hybrid of the paint and the thermofoil, but not sure.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 12:29AM
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Paint is better. Can you do the painting yourself? I'm getting Ikea, but I'm getting Abstrakt for a totally modern look. I figured that when I go back to a more traditional look, I'll buy doors to replace. I, too, love a white kitchen. I think the idea of Ikea boxes with different doors that you can paint is a good one. I don't care for the other white Ikea doors. They look not so expensive to me. Ikea has great drawer slides and hinges and I LOVE the drawer organizers. If I were to paint doors myself, I'd use Benjamin Moore alkyd paint. I just haven't found a latex that is the same hardness and as easy to clean and that doesn't feel sticky to me. Sorry for random order of comments, but trying to get kids out the door. :-)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 6:51AM
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The Ikea Stat doors (the white beadboard ones) are the easiest cleaning doors I have ever had! They don't look cheap to me, I have used some in combination with the Ikea oak butcher block and it is a gorgeous combination. In my bathroom I have constructed a floating vanity out of a shallow kitchen cabinet with Lidingo doors and the same butcher block top.

I don't know if you have read it on the Ikea website, they now have a 25 year warranty on kitchen cabinets and doors. Plus they come standard with the fabulous Blum hardware!

Next year I will be renovating the second half of my kitchen and I have no doubt whatsoever where I am going to buy my kitchen!

Read up on why to choose Ikea at ikeafans.com
I have picked up so much info there, as I have on this forum.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 7:04AM
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I've had my Ikea kitchen (lidi white) for close to year now (and, yes, Ikea cabs have changed a lot for the better since 1998) and it has taken a beating since. My 2 year old uses the cabinet handles as steps to climb onto the counter. The kids bash into the doors all the time, I've jabbed the drawers with a knife horrified that there will be a gash and *nothing*. The polyester paint finish so far has been super strong!

Sorry if ppl are getting sick of this picture, I feel I've posted so much in the last couple days! But here's my Ikea Lidi white - which is the painted polyester finish.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 9:13AM
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The nearest Ikea is 4 hours away and we don't have experienced Ikea installers in this area. For those reasons, I'm hoping to NOT need Ikea, but there is a pricepoint where it is worth it. We would need to drive to Ikea (Minneapolis) to see the cabinetry. Perhaps another drive to BUY it if we aren't ready that day, have to rent a trailer or truck to haul it, and what about when we need some part that was broken, forgotten, etc...

I do love their reputation, ratings, and hardware options though, so am not ruling them out.

Mom of 3, that is beautiful. I love it!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 9:33AM
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I unfortunately am having a very bad IKEA white cabinet experience.

I have STAT cabinet doors (white foil with polyester paint) around my stove -- bin over the microwave, 2 12" wall cabinets, and 2 12" base cabinets on either side of the stove. These were installed in 2006. The IKEA STAT cabinets around the microwave have yellowed significantly -- in 3 years, they are already a light butter yellow color. The base cabinet doors next to the oven are the original off white / antique white color. All were bought on the same day out of the same store.

I'm pretty upset about this. I'll be removing door panels and taking them into IKEA and looking into that warranty. Otherwise I see my only choices as painting all of them, or replacing the yellowed door / drawer fronts with new ones.

I'll let you all know how this turns out.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 1:58PM
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