Can You Repair Peeling Thermofoil Cabinets?

You may be able to reglue one or two sections, but once the laminate layer has pulled off from the MDF, the thermofoil cabinet is exposed to humidity and the swelling breakdown of the structure begins.

Thermofoil cabinets are designed as a laminate that has been heated to shrink-wrap over an MDF core panel. This pressured bonding is fantastic and serves well for the limited years. Yet thermofoil cabinets are designed to be disposable. They make a great selling point for a quick and affordable modern appearance, but they do not last, especially in the Florida humidity. 

In most scenarios, thermofoil doors peel much more quickly than cabinet boxes. If the boxes are in good condition, then we recommend replacing the thermofoil doors with wooden doors. We recommend wooden doors because wooden doors will never have to be replaced if cared for under normal use. Resurrect Wood Refinishing offers a door replacement service that still preserves the existing cabinetry. Our refinishing product adheres to laminate, so we have the ability to replace the doors, color them, and match your current cabinet boxes. In basic terms, the answer is no, you cannot repair peeling thermofoil cabinets.

Can Thermofoil cabinets be refaced?

Absolutely. While it may be unfortunate that your thermofoil cabinet doors are peeling, in most scenarios the cabinet boxes are untouched and last much longer. Our kitchen cabinet re-door service provides customers the opportunity to replace their thermofoil cabinet doors with wood doors. We recommend wooden doors to prevent future replacement. We can choose from any design, as all of our doors are produced from a custom carpenter. Once the color and door are selected, we can preserve the existing cabinet box to match the new design. 

Why are my bathroom and kitchen thermofoil cabinets peeling?

Your bathroom and kitchen cabinets are most likely peeling due to humidity. Coffee makers, dishwashers, shower heads, and anything else that produces high steam in a close range to your cabinet, can cause slight lifting to the glue on the edges of the thermofoil layer. This trapped water lifts the bonding between the laminate layer and the MDF core which begins the dreaded “peeling,” process. Additionally, if your cabinets do not have any handles, high-traffic use of opening and closing your cabinet doors on the corners can also increase the risk for damage in those sections.

How long do Thermofoil cabinets last?

Most vendors only guarantee their thermofoil cabinets for a year. Anything beyond a year is subjected to “manufacturer fault,” which does not cover peeling or damage due to elements like humidity or normal use. 

Outside of warranty, thermofoil cabinets are expected to last up to five to ten years when cared for properly. That isn’t to say that small sections may start to peel or chip sooner. It must be advised that while thermofoil cabinets may be a solution for a budget-conscious decision, the investment is temporary and will need to be redone down the road.

Are Thermofoil cabinets cheaper than wood?
The raw price of thermofoil cabinets is more expensive than wood. Builders are able to sell them at a cheaper price because the laminate is already finished. The only reason wooden cabinets seem more expensive is because they have to be finished with a stain or solid color, which is an added service. This can deter customers because when compared by prices, thermofoil cabinets definitely seem more appealing. The problem is that thermofoil cabinets will always, at some point, need to be replaced. Wooden cabinets will never have to be replaced if taken care of. Consider replacing–not “repairing.”