I am a professional cabinet maker. For the past eight years I have carved a niche in the area of repairs and alterations to kitchens and baths. Among the many request for repairs which I receive, replacing thermofoil cabinet doors is high on the list. First let me say that there are two other popular terms used to describe this style of door, MDF and vinyl wrap. There are usually two types of damage that are the most common with this type of door. The vinyl peels away from the board due to excessive heat or the plastic coating begins to loosen because the manufacture didn’t get enough glue on the surfaces of the board when the doors were being made. In both of these cases, the doors are usually beyond repair and must be replaced. Here’s the problem though, many customers have no idea where the actual doors came from. There are literally hundreds of MDF door manufacturing companies scattered throughout the United States and Canada. So, here’s what I do to get around this minor set back. Most of the time if I remove a vinyl wrapped drawer front from the drawer and look on the back side of it, there’s a sticker on it. This label will have the companies name, date of production, door style and color codes on it. Once we have this information we then contact the company to find out if the doors are still under warranty. Some MDF manufactures offer a five year guarantee against discoloration and de-lamination. Please note, heat damaged doors will not be covered with the guarantee. The next step is to request a catalog and color samples. Once these materials arrive we are then able to identify the door style, match the color and order the replacement parts.
Tips for protecting your thermofoil doors against heat damage:
1) Remove the drawers and doors that are next to your oven when you are using the self cleaning feature. When cleaning is in process there is a small amount of extreme heat that escapes through the edges of the oven door. This will melt the plastic and cause it to shrink and curl.
2) Avoid placing deep fryers directly underneath of the upper cabinet doors. Here again the heat will affect the edges.
3) Either pull or push toaster ovens away from the door edges so that the rising heat does not cause any damage to the doors.
A few words about the warranty coverage on thermofoil cabinet doors.
It’s important to know that even though your doors may be replaceable at no cost from the manufacture, you will still have to pay a professional cabinet man to make the exchange. Just as an example, if your cabinet man charges $50 per hour from start to finish the cost of 21′ of uppers and 21′ of base cabinets should cost around five to six hundred dollars. The company who originally made the doors should cover all of the shipping costs. So if the cabinet man says you will have to pay for having the doors shipped, I suggest calling the company directly and finding out for yourself.
Hire A Professional
Replacing thermofoil doors should be done by a professional. So, “don’t try this at home.” If you hire someone to do the work for you, it will save you a lot of time and aggravation in the end. Professional cabinet men have special drilling machines and templates that allow them to produce excellent results when they are replacing MDF doors.