Cabinet Materials - Thermofoil
Thermofoil Cabinet Specifics
Thermofoil cabinets are created by heat sealing a thin vinyl layer around materials such as MDF (medium density fiberboard) or particleboard. It is an affordable alternative to buying solid wood cabinets, and makes for a seamless looking cabinet with a consistent coloration throughout. Thermofoil is also one of the easiest cabinet materials to maintain being easy to wipe clean and not staining easily. Thermofoil cabinets are available in a variety of quality and price levels.
Thermofoil does have its cons of course. Since it is usually made from MDF or particleboard, the cabinets will not be as strong as cabinets of solid wood. Both materials are made by combining sawdust and glue which are significantly less sturdy. These materials are prone to not holding screws as well which may lead to loosening hinges over time in addition to a tendency for shelves to sag under the weight of heavy items.
Thermofoil and Heat
It is also very important that thermofoil cabinets are protected from excessive heat which may cause the foil to peel away from the material underneath. To avoid this problem it is recommended that heat shields (or spacers) be placed between the stove and cabinets. Unfortunately, once the vinyl has begun to delaminate or peel it is not possible to have the cabinet "re-wrapped" making your choice of installer that much more important. Make certain you hire a contractor that is knowledgeable about the heat related issues of Thermofoil.
As with most materials the life of the product will be determined by the quality of the manufacturer's product and proper installation. Taking those considerations into mind thermofoil cabinets can last you up to 10 years.
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