Thermofoil, used by cabinet makers such as Merillat, is a vinyl sheet product that's fused to engineered wood, creating a laminate finish similar to melamine. The thermofoil creates a durable, easily maintained surface for kitchen cabinets and other furniture. If you want to reface older kitchen cabinets with white Merillat thermofoil, you can paint them using procedures similar to painting any type of laminate surface. If you use products designed for the job, you'll have no trouble giving your kitchen a facelift.
Things You'll Need
- Drop cloths
- Grease remover
- Protective clothing -- gloves, eyewear and respirator
- Sandpaper, 220-grit
- Tack cloth
- Laminate primer
- Paintbrushes or rollers
- Laminate paint
- Foam brushes
Unscrew the hinges from your kitchen cabinets and remove the hardware from both the cabinet facing and the doors. Remove the drawers and take off the door and drawer pulls as well. Set the hardware aside. If you choose, you can replace the hardware when the refacing is done to further update the look of the kitchen.
Spread drop cloths on the floor under the cabinet facing and under the doors and drawers.
Clean the thermofoil surfaces with grease-removing detergent. Use a stronger grease-removing agent to clean stubborn greasy or grimy areas. Some grease removers are very toxic, so wear protective clothing, including gloves, eyewear and a respirator.
Sand the entire surface of the thermofoil with 220-grit sandpaper. Do not sand away the laminate finish. Sand only until you see the shiny surface become dull and dusty.
Wipe the sanded surfaces with a tack cloth to remove dust. This step is best performed just before applying primer to the surface so more dust does not have a chance to settle on the sanded surfaces.
Roll or brush on a coat of primer designed for laminate surfaces. Cover all the thermofoil surfaces with a thin, even coat. Following the directions on the primer label, let the primer dry. You must allow the primer to dry completely. Otherwise, the surface will not be as hard as it can be with totally dry primer. Many primers recommend several days of drying time.
Paint the primed surfaces with a thin, even coat of laminate paint. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly and apply a second coat if the first coat is not opaque. Let the second coat of paint dry completely.
Apply a protective coating of polyurethane with a clean paintbrush to the painted surfaces if the cabinets will see a lot of wear. Let the polyurethane dry completely.
Put the drawer and door pulls back on and reassemble the kitchen cabinets, using the old hardware or new material. If you scratch paint off any area during reassembly, touch up the primer and paint with a foam brush.