I am a professional cabinetmaker. During the last eight years I have carved out a niche in the area of kitchen and bathroom repairs and renovations. Among the many repair requests I receive, replacement of heat foil 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 most common with this type of door. The vinyl peels off the dash due to excessive heat or the plastic liner begins to loosen because the manufacturer did not put enough glue on the dash surfaces when the doors were being made. In both cases, the doors are usually beyond repair and must be replaced. Here’s the rub though: Many customers have no idea where the actual doors came from. There are literally hundreds of MDF door manufacturing companies spread across the United States and Canada. So here’s what I do to get around this minor hiccup. Most of the time, if I remove the front of a vinyl-wrapped drawer and look at the back, there is a decal. This label will have the company name, production date, door style, and color codes. Once we have this information, we contact the company to find out if the doors are still under warranty. Some MDF manufacturers offer a five-year warranty against discoloration and delamination. Please note that heat damaged doors will not be covered under warranty. The next step is to request a catalog and color samples. Once these materials arrive, we can identify the style of the door, match the color, and order replacement parts.
Tips to protect your thermofoil doors from heat damage:
1) Remove the drawers and doors on the side of your oven when using the self-clean function. When cleaning is in progress, there is a small amount of extreme heat escaping around the edges of the oven door. This will melt the plastic and cause it to shrink and bend.
2) Avoid placing fryers directly under the upper cabinet doors. Here again the heat will affect the edges.
3) Pull or push toaster ovens away from the edges of the doors so that rising heat does not damage the doors.
A few words about warranty coverage for thermoplastic cabinet doors.
It’s important to know that although your doors can be replaced at no cost by the manufacturer, you’ll still have to pay a professional cabinetmaker to make the change. Just as an example, if your cabinetmaker charges $50 per hour from start to finish, the cost of 21′ of upper cabinets and 21′ of lower cabinets should cost around $500-600. The company that originally manufactured the doors must cover all shipping costs. So, if the cabinet man says that he will have to pay to have the doors shipped to him, he would suggest that he call the company directly and find out for himself.
hire a professional
Replacement of 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 hassle in the end. Professional cabinetmakers have special drilling machines and jigs that allow them to produce excellent results when replacing MDF doors.