Thermoplastic kitchen cabinets: good choice or best to avoid?

October 31, 2014

If you’re remodelling your kitchen, maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the many available options, including thermoplastic kitchen cabinets. But are they a good choice for you or best to avoid? Here's some information to help you decide.

Thermoplastic kitchen cabinets: good choice or best to avoid?

So, you’ve finally decided to remodel your kitchen. There are many details to take into consideration, including what type of flooring you desire, what type of counters would be best for food preparation, and of course, what type of new cabinets are ideal for you. Thermoplastic kitchen cabinets may be the answer you’re seeking. They’re becoming more popular among homeowners, but what are their pros and cons?

Pros of thermoplastic kitchen cabinets

Also known as thermofoil cabinets, thermoplastic kitchen cabinets are made out of a medium-density fibreboard that's been covered in heat-fused vinyl or laminate. They offer you the option of having the appearance of painted cabinetry without having the inconvenience of having to re-paint them over and over again. Here are some of their other pros:

  • They're low-maintenance because the vinyl or laminate is easy to clean, as it does not trap and hold dirt. You can also clean them with water or a water-based cleanser without fear of warping them (however, you should note they’re not completely waterproof).
  • They’re very affordable, making them ideal for remodelling a kitchen on a budget.
  • They offer easy installation, which means you can cut the costs of hiring a contractor and opting to do it yourself.
  • They’re resistant to moisture, which helps in a room where humidity is often a factor.
  • They offer smooth surfaces without colour streaks or colour variations, making them an aesthetic choice. Some even offer the choice of embossed patterns and/or faux wood grains. The lighter colours available will also help you create a bright, open feel.

Cons of thermoplastic kitchen cabinets

However, just as thermoplastic kitchen cabinets have many pros, they also have many cons for you to carefully consider:

  • Because they’re not heat-resistant, they should not be installed directly above a heat source (i.e. stove or dishwasher) without the protection of a heat shield between your cabinets and the heat source. However, if you install them properly, you should be able to avoid any blistering, peeling and/or discolouration.
  • Because they have a heavier density than traditional plywood cabinets, careful consideration is required when selecting screws and hinges to adequately support their weight when hanging them up.
  • If you select any other colour but white, it can be difficult to colour-match them when they need to be replaced. Sometimes it’s also difficult to match the colour exactly because it may have yellowed with age.

There is certainly no right or wrong answer when it comes to the ideal type of cabinets to install in your new kitchen. It all boils down to which factors (cost, aesthetic qualities, or level of maintenance) are more important to you.

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