At The Cabinet Painting Company, we see all kinds of cabinet finishes in all kinds of conditions. We know paint, stain, and lacquer quite well. For the most part, whether your cabinets are cherry, oak, maple, or any other hardwood, our process doesn’t change much as we work to restore life and beauty to your cabinets. However, there is a wildcard out there in cabinet finishes, and that product is called thermofoil.
If your home was built in the late 80s to early 2000s, there is a good chance that your cabinets are thermofoil. There are a few things you need to know about this finish – why it was used, what can happen to it, and what can be done if it’s failing.
Theromofoil is a thin, plastic covering that is applied to base cabinetry, usually constructed of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), leaving a near flawless finish from the moment of application. Because “thermo” means heat, you could probably imagine that the “foil”, meaning thin sheet. is applied by heating up the product so that it adheres and seals. The end result of this process is cabinetry that is uniformed, durable, and easy to care for for years. The other added benefit of thermofoil (and what made it so popular with builders) is that it is budget-friendly. Because the base cabinet isn’t a high end hardwood, the overall cost of the cabinets is controlled. Take an inexpensive cabinet and apply a thin plastic layer to make it look nice, and voila, a home builder’s dream. Usually white, but also available in other colors and imitation wood grain, thermofoil can be found in homes, condos, apartments, and hotels across the country.