Some of them had turned yellow and some of the thermofoil was peeling off of others. So removing it was the way to go! We used a Homeright Heat gun that you can purchase here on Amazon. To remove it you simply heat it up with a hair dryer or heat gun and carefully peel it off. The surface underneath is called MDF Medium Density Fiberboard and is painted in the same way you would paint raw wood. I lightly sanded it before applying the paint.
Similar to common laminate cabinets, thermofoil cabinets are constructed with a plastic vinyl layer laminated to an MDF medium-density fiberboard core. Both standard laminate and thermofoil cabinets can effectively mimic the look of wood cabinets but generally cost considerably less. This economy comes at a price, however, since any laminated wood product runs the risk of delamination, and the very thin layer of PVC material used in the thermofoil process is especially prone to peeling. Whenever you have a laminated or veneered material, you run the risk of delamination. For example, it is not uncommon for furniture made from hardwood veneer laminated to a solid wood core to begin peeling after a few years. Traffic, use, and water contact or humidity will only speed up the process.
Peeling thermofoil cabinet doors! Yes! It can be done!
We are in the midst of a small kitchen update. What would the loss be? I knew that sometime in the next few months I would finally have the money for new doors so I would JUST have to stare at it until then. The thermofoil was horrible - it absorbed oil and kids' fingerprints and was lifting and peeling at just eight years old.
Now that it has been nearly eight months without any issues with the cabinets, I decided it was time to share how to paint thermofoil cabinets! If you have thermofoil cabinets and have ever contemplated painting them, you likely know this is a widely debated topic. This same process can be used on many other types like MDF cabinets, melamine cabinets, and more. But first, a little backstory and info on thermofoil cabinets. Thermofoil is essentially a thin layer of vinyl that is applied to MDF via an intense heat and pressure-bonding process.