Hear the word “Thermofoil” and what comes to mind?  A material containing some type of metal?  Well, despite the name, Thermofoil cabinets contain no metallic material at all.  It’s actually a vinyl that is heated and then molded over a medium-density fiberboard or an engineered wood, giving you a smooth, seamless result that resists chipping better than a painted surface.  As to whether or not Thermofoil cabinets are for you, it depends upon your needs and your budget.  Just like any other material, they have characteristics to consider.


Probably one of the great things about Thermofoil cabinets is their affordability.  Designing a larger space, such as a kitchen, can become very expensive when using wood cabinets.  Thermofoil offers a great, budget-friendly option that is easier on your wallet and also saves time as there is no need to paint or stain them.

Care and Maintenance:

One advantage of Thermofoil that tends to attract home owners is their stain resistance.  Their smooth surface is easy to clean.   And as long as there’s no damage to the laminate surface, they resist chips and staining.  A damp cloth often gets the job done in very little time and any stubborn kitchen residues, such as grease, can be removed with a mild cleaner.  And they do not require a protective coating which saves time and money compared to their wood counter parts.

Design Choice:

Though white and variations of white tend to be the popular choice, Thermofoil cabinets are available in a wide range of colors and patterns.  You can simulate a wood look by choosing a wood grain finish or explore bolder looks with shades of various colors.  The finish can be matte or glossy and you can choose from a flat cabinet door or an embellished design for a more formal look.  While their finish won’t completely mimic wood, there are plenty of design choices to provide you with a beautiful and unique result.

Moisture Resistance:

Thermofoil cabinets are a top choice for homeowners in their kitchens and baths due to their superior moisture resistance over wood and other materials.  This helps reduce cracking and warping in more humid environments.  However, you must take note of the word resistant.  They are NOT moisture proof!  If the vinyl coating is chipped or damaged, then moisture can intrude and it will lead to warping and irreversible damage.

Heat Resistance:

One challenge of Thermofoil cabinets is their heat resistance or actually, a lack of it.  If you place them too close to heat, the vinyl may blister or peel away from the core.  In a kitchen, complete with stove, oven and even the dishwasher, it can be a challenge.  One solution is to install a heat shield.  These are metal strips placed between the cabinet and the heat source to protect the Thermofoil.

Custom Closets and Cabinets offers a variety of Thermofoil selections and patterns with many options including solids, stones, woodgrains, high gloss, leathers and abstracts.  Contact us for your in-home estimate and to learn more about updating the look of residential and commercial spaces with beautiful Thermofoil cabinets.