CHOOSING A DOOR TYPE
Thermo foil Doors
Thermo foil doors are a low maintenance and affordable type that provides the look of painted doors without the inconvenience of having to continually paint them. They are made out of medium density fiber board (MDF) covered in a thin layer of heat-fused vinyl or laminate that creates a uniform and smooth surface with no color variations or streaks.
Thermo foil doors are amazingly priced compared to wood doors, and typically cost two thirds less, making them an appealing choice for individuals wishing to renovate their kitchens on a budget. Advances in modern design have allowed manufacturers to simulate real wood with their designs so it is difficult to tell the difference between a traditional wood door and thermo foil door.
The thin layer of vinyl or laminate creates a seamless, non-porous surface that doesn’t hold dirt, which makes these types of doors very easy to clean.
MDF tends to have a higher density than plywood, which means that thermo foil doors are heavier to lift and makes installation a challenge. Due to increased weight, special attention needs to be given to selecting the right screws & hinges so that there is no shifting or sagging of the doors over time.
Excessive heat can melt the glue that joined the vinyl or laminate to the MDF and cause it to peel off. Heat can also cause surface blistering and discoloration. Thermo foil doors are most likely to get damaged around cooking areas like the stove and microwave or around the dishwasher where heat from the drying cycle can eventually loosen the vinyl or laminate. A heat shield should be placed between the cabinet and the heat source.
There are a wide variety of wood door types that you would definitely need to learn and choose when remodeling a kitchen. Door style, type, color, hardware and accessories all have an impact on the final cost of your kitchen cabinetry.
The types of woods are:
- PINE: It is available in a wide range of colors from very white to yellowish and reddish-brown shades. It is considered as soft wood, easy to work with, and takes stains and glues very well.
- OAK: It is available in both red and white varieties. Oak is a great choice because it blends beautifully with many different design styles. It is a very strong, durable, and a very hard, heavy wood. Oak has a very prominent open grain pattern with a rough texture, and it stains well with a wide range of finish tones.
- CHERRY: It is a multi-colored hardwood that contains pinkish-brown hues with occasional shades of white, pink and grey. It is known for its smooth grain and unique color that mellows, and deepens as it ages. Cherry wood darkens overtime when exposed to sunlight. Oak is considered a luxury wood due to its expensive price.
- MAPLE: It is a medium to hard wood with a straight, wavy, or curly grain. Maple wood is popular for its resistance and durability, and has a light, uniform appearance that produces a smooth, clean look when stained. Maple is also great for a light kitchen or a dramatic kitchen with darker finishes.
- BIRCH: It is considered a smooth hardwood with straight, wavy or curly grains with a resistance that takes any stain well. Birch wood is mostly a light colored wood, and varies from cream to light yellow. However, the wood found in the center of the tree, or heartwood, takes on a darker reddish brown color, which may result in unique color variation in your cabinetry.
- HICKORY: It is a very strong, hard, heavy wood with a coarse texture and has random natural streaks, which adds unique accents to your cabinetry. The grain patterns varies from very light cream to dark reddish brown to sometimes nearly black which easily can be enhanced by light or natural stains. It may contain various specs and knots.
- ALDER: It is reddish-brown to pale yellow in color and has straight grain with small knots. Alder is slightly softer than other hardwoods. It is popular due to its consistent color, stability and capability of accepting finishes very well.
There are three important details when choosing wood. TYPE, COLOR, and GRAIN.
TYPE: Woods can be categorized as hard or soft. Hardwood comes from broad-leafed trees such as birch, oak, maple, cherry and hickory. Softwood comes from needle-bearing evergreen trees such as pine, spruce and cedar.
COLOR: Stained woods create a very elegant, natural look. There are many stains to choose from depending on the look on the look you want. The same stains can be applied to different woods species, which will create distinct color tones, depending on the variety of the grains. It is better to look at samples before deciding on a specific wood type as stains may bring out more grain variation and imperfections than expected.
GRAIN: Every tree has its own distinct grain patterns and markings, which makes each piece of wood from that tree have its own unique design. Grain refer to the overall alignment, texture and various patterns that appear in your wood, which includes fine, straight, cross, spiral, wavy, curly and arch look.
Thermo VS. Wood Doors
When choosing your doors, it is very important to consider all the factors; both the Pro’s and the Con’s. This is the best way to determine which choice is best for you.
PROS: Although there have been marvellous advances in thermoplastic’s ability to mimic the real thing, only wood doors will fully look and feel like wood doors. They have the advantage of being able to be sanded down and refinished, allowing for a ‘new look’ without having to actually buy new doors. They don’t peel up when exposed to heat, and scratches and gashes only reveal more wood underneath and can be patched with wood fillers. Wood can give a very elegant and rich look to a kitchen that only helps to increase its effect and value.
CONS: Wood can warp and crack under conditions of heat or changes in humidity. Wood usually costs more than thermoplastic doors. If you need to replace a wood door in the future, there may be a marked difference between the new door and the rest of the doors. Patina in the wood causes it to change colour as time passes and it is exposed to light. It may be difficult to match a stain because dye lots will differ, even when buying the same door and stain from the same supplier. Wood doors require more careful cleaning because the finish can be worn away with use and washing with corrosive or abrasive cleaners. Wood doors are made of slats of natural wood and the colours of those sections, themselves, may vary from one another making for an uneven distribution of tones and grains. This is considered a natural quality and charm of the wood. Wood doors usually take longer to order than thermoplastic doors.
PROS: Thermoplastic doors are usually the most economical solution to a new kitchen look. A finished kitchen with thermoplastic doors, although not completely like the look of natural wood, can still look convincing and beautiful. They are easy to maintain and are easy to clean of most stains, including grease. They do not require special cleaners. If a thermoplastic door is damaged, it is more likely to be able to find a replacement for it quickly, economically and closely resembling the old doors as there is little variance in dye lots. Although they cannot be refinished, they can be painted over with a melamine paint for a future change in look. Thermoplastic doors will not warp or crack with changes in humidity.
CONS: Thermoplastic doors are susceptible to extreme heat and should not have heat sources like toasters or self cleaning ovens directly near them. As the core of thermoplastic doors is made of MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) it can suffer from swelling from water damage if any of the MDF is exposed due to the edge glue coming loose. The thermoplastic layer is tough, but thin, and if any scratches cut through it, the MDF core will be exposed. This can be filled with a resin glue or a melamine paint, but it may be more noticeable than similar damage to a wood door. Not all glues or thermoplastic wrapping techniques are equal. Inferior companies may produce doors that will bubble or peel after time.