Previously, we have discussed the effects that humidity has on wood cabinets, as well as ways to control the humidity levels in your home. There are situations, however, in which wood cabinets may not be the best option. Perhaps you live by the water or you want to avoid the potential problems that painted wood cabinets may have and you want another option. One available option is thermofoil cabinets, but as with any cabinetry choice, there are pros & cons.
There are many benefits to thermofoil cabinets, especially their resistance to moisture. This makes them the ideal choice for bathroom cabinets, where humidity is always going to be a factor. Thermofoil is also less expensive and much easier to clean than traditional wood cabinets. Thermofoil cabinets are also available in a wide variety of looks, including high-end looking options for a mid-range price.
White thermofoil was especially desirable to this homeowner because of the small size of the bathroom. Having white cabinetry helped to keep a bright, open feeling, where dark wood might have made the room feel smaller.
There are also some particular limitations to take into consideration. One of these important considerations is that they are not heat-resistant, meaning that if they are too close to an oven or other heating source, problems can arise, such as the laminate peeling away from the core. However, heat shields can be installed (which are essentially just metal strips) between the heat source (such as an oven) and the cabinets, which will handle this issue. Another thing to keep in mind is that while they are incredibly resistant to moisture, they are not completely waterproof. If the laminate becomes damaged in any way and moisture seeps in, the cabinet could be destroyed. One final consideration is that, since they are made of laminate melted onto a MDF core, they are heavier and a bit more difficult to install than traditional wood cabinets.
The good news is that thermofoil cabinets are made far better now than they were ten years ago and the limitations should not be too much of an issue if they are installed correctly and cared for well. Many cabinetry brands offer thermofoil cabinets, including Aristokraft and Schrock. They are an affordable solution, but you will need to decide if the pros outweigh the cons in your particular situation.