Thermofoil cabinets are popular in many homes as they are affordable and appealing. However, they tend to peel over time.
Peeling thermofoil cabinets can be an eyesore. In addition, they are difficult to clean.
So, does this mean they are not worth it?
Not at all!
What I love about thermofoil cabinets is that they are easy to fix, even when they peel. This process requires little effort, and you can do it at home without professional assistance.
Read on to see how you can fix peeling thermofoil cabinets and make them look new.
Can You Fix Peeling Thermofoil?
Yes, it is possible to fix the peeling thermofoil. However, it can sometimes be challenging.
You will need to pull back the peeling layer, clean the underside and then reapply it to its position.
The most crucial factor to consider when repairing the thermofoil is ensuring the MDF core is in perfect condition. This way, you won’t have issues sticking to the thermofoil.
How to Fix Peeling Thermofoil Cabinets
With a few materials and tools, you can fix peeling thermofoil cabinets in no time.
What You Require
- A nylon bristle paintbrush
- A clean, soft rag
- Masking tape
- A small handheld chisel
- Woodworker’s clamps
- Contact cement
- Short pieces of scrap wood
Steps to Fixing Thermofoil Cabinets
1. Pull the thermofoil layer back. Brush off excess particles and dirt from the underside of the peeling thermofoil.
Also, scrape off excess cement from the MDF core as possible.
Important Note: Handle the thermofoil with care. Do not pull it too far, as it can crack or snap off.
2. Using a paintbrush, apply contact cement on the MDF core and at the back of the thermofoil.
Important Note: Ensure that the contact cement also covers the edges of the repair area.
3. Leave the contact cement for about 15 minutes to dry before pressing the two materials together.
The materials must be dry to the touch. Otherwise, they will not stick together.
4. Place some soft rags on the thermofoil face and sandwich the repaired work between two pieces of a flat scrap board.
Hold the materials with the woodworker’s clamps and press them together firmly for about an hour.
5. Remove excess contact cement from the edges of the repaired area. Then, wash all your tools in warm water to prevent the contact cement from sticking.
Important tip: Ensure that the thermofoil’s MDF sub-structure is not chipped, damaged, or moist, as this can affect the final finish.
Caution: Do not dampen the MDF, thermofoil, or rag before repairs. Doing so could ruin the MDF.
When to Call a Professional
If your cabinet doors are damaged due to water infiltration, repairing them can be pretty expensive and time-consuming.
The core needs to be cut, measured, and laminated in such a case. Doing it on your own can be frustrating and draining.
This work is best done by a professional to obtain a factory finish and leave your cabinet boxes as good as new.
Important note: Some cabinet makers may have a warranty that covers your cabinet if it peels in less than five years.
Why Do Thermofoil Cabinets Peel?
Thermofoil cabinets peel when the bond between the foil and the surface weakens. It could be as a result of:
- Extreme changes in humidity or temperatures
- An already damaged MDF
- Water damage
- Poor manufacturing
Feedback from some users also shows that excess heat from the oven during your cleaning can also cause peeling off.
Fortunately, peeling is not the end of the road for your cabinets. There is a way out!
How Much Does It Cost to Fix Peeling Thermofoil Cabinets?
The cost of fixing peeling thermofoil cabinets depends on:
- The severity of the damage
- The size of the cabinet
- The type of damage
For instance, repairing a standard 10-by-10-foot kitchen could cost you between $800 and $1,200.
According to U.S national figures, the average cost of repairing kitchen cabinets ranges between $131 and $474. If you need to refinish or repaint, the cost may add between $1,000 and $4,100 more to your final price.
We recommend you talk to a professional for an accurate assessment and quotation.
How to Stop Thermofoil Cabinets from Peeling
Peeling thermofoil cabinets are unappealing and frustrating. Unfortunately, this is a common problem in many kitchens.
The good news is that you can take steps to ensure that your thermofoil cabinets do not peel easily in the future.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to stop the peeling.
- Check to ensure that the cabinet’s surface is clean and has no grease before applying thermofoil.
- Choose your primer well. Use the primer that’s primarily meant for thermofoil.
- Several thin coats of thermofoil would stick and last better than only one thick coat.
- Avoid using your thermofoil cabinet too soon. Always give it time to cure completely.
Although these are simple steps, following them could allow you to use your cabinet for many years. They are also a powerful antidote to the peeling of thermofoil cabinets.
To Repair or Replace Thermofoil Cabinets, Which Is Best?
The decision to repair or replace your thermofoil cabinets depends on the extent of the damage.
If the damage is minor, for instance, fixing only a corner or two of the cabinets, you can do repairs.
But if the peeling is severe and has even affected the MDF core, consider replacing the cabinet doors.
Also, if your cabinet doors are chipping but the boxes are in good condition, refacing the cabinets or buying new doors would be good.
The repair will not solve the problem if the MDF base is bulged rather than completely flat, perhaps due to water damage.
The only way to fix warped MDF boards is by replacing them.