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Kitchen Drawers/Doors material Choices?

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Forum topic by dawolv posted 03-27-2016 02:36 PM 739 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dawolv

7 posts in 2857 days


03-27-2016 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi Guys,
I just bought a home and all of our Kitchen drawers need a major overhaul.
The previous home owner tried to paint over them but failed pretty badly.
It seems originally they were all laminated with some old (maybe 1980s) Alabaster laminate.
So the paint they applied is just coming off here and there and looks sad

So the good news! I want to update the look of the Drawers and then Doors.

I have a pretty good idea of what I want, a very tight Walnut-ish look or a simple modern flat look.
For the ‘Walnut’ look I found some laminate on Wilsonart.com that is close to what I imagined.
I may even do all the bottom cabs ‘walnut’ and the tops just in color…

I have laminated once before, I built a full Sized Arcade cabinet and laminated over Plywood.
I did use MDF to make the CP and just used paint and wet sanded to get a mirror finish for those pieces.

So I am unsure for Kitchen Applications where things will get wet and the drawer faces and doors will need to be scrubbed which materials should I use.

If I just laminate should I use Ply, MDF, Particle, other?
Or is laminating drawers/doors in this way a bad idea?

If I do paint them, (not sure if I want a mirror finish like my CP,) but if I just want to paint them what material would be the best option and what is the best way to protect from kitchen wear?

I was also thinking about changing the overlays style to insets but I have to think about some issues with that idea.

TIA!


20 replies so far

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

822 posts in 388 days


#1 posted 03-29-2016 03:10 AM

dawolv,

While I am not a cabinet maker (and so others may offer more authoritative answers), I have used laminate, Particle Board, MDF, and Plywood in various ways on various projects. Here are my thoughts:

The only issues I see with using laminate are that a good bond of the laminate to the substrate is required. Also the laminate substrate must be stable. Some consideration of how the edges where the laminate of one surface meets another is required to get the look you are after. Unless the laminate is colored all the way through its thickness, a dark line may be seen from a common vantage point.

I would think ¾” Particle Board would be a good choice as a base material for laminated drawer fronts and door. Particle Board will remain flat and provides a solid structure for the laminate. Of course laminate would have to be applied to the edges as well as the front and back of the Particle Board. Square edges would be easiest although I am sure adding a profile to edges is possible with laminate – I just do not know how. If well bonded to the Particle Board, the laminate should protect the Particle Board from moisture.

Whether using Particle Board or MDF, considering European style cup hinges for hanging the doors may offer a little more support. Using three hinges instead of two would also help, since MDF and Particle Board do not hold screws very well.

I would be afraid to use plywood as a substrate for laminate. I would fear the plywood would not remain flat over time and laminate stuck to the edges could release over time.

MDF or solid wood are the materials I would consider for a painted finish on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. The problem with MDF is that while hard, the edges can wear away or otherwise get dinged up. Poplar paints well in my experience, but it is a softer wood that would ding more easily than hard maple.

I am not, by no means an expert on finishes. If it were me, I would probably leave the paint as the final finish (if the cabinet parts were painted). However, I seem to recall seeing where a varnish of some kind is applied to the last coat of paint for some added protection – but I am not sure. Even though this is a kitchen, I suspect the cabinets will suffer more harm from dents and dings than water ruining the cabinet parts. Water rarely stands on drawer fronts and doors. If a gloss or semi-gloss paint is used, it can be wiped clean without much of a problem. I would be concerned that the painted finish would not be durable the closer the sheen of the paint is to flat.

Overlay doors and drawer fronts are more forgiving and thus measurements and wood movement (if wood is used) is less of a concern than the inset style. If the cabinet parts are sized accurately and consider the thickness of the laminate mounted to Particle Board or MDF edges while ensuring adequate clearances, the inset style is doable. Solid wood that is painted would be a little more problematic since the width of the panels may expand or contract after installing, resulting in some binding. But this problem is overcome by cabinet makers every day, so it too is doable.

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

978 posts in 921 days


#2 posted 03-29-2016 03:24 AM

You want a quality job or is this a quick flip?

MDF / particle board has no use anywhere in a quality kitchen or bath as it will dissolve even if laminated, on exposure to water, steam or prolonged humidity.

Walnut 2” door frames with a piece of walnut ply would look a lot better than any form of laminate.

You may also get surprises when you go to hang the doors only to discover the carcase has swollen and the hinges don’t fit.

Lots of choices, many depend on your tools & skillset. Easy for one can be near impossible for another.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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dawolv

7 posts in 2857 days


#3 posted 03-29-2016 01:13 PM

Thanks guys this is good stuff.
I search the web but it is only coming refacing everything instead of building.
And when building it only talks about using rails and stiles.

This is kind of what I was thinking about both painted or laminated just a flat solid piece :/

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#4 posted 03-29-2016 05:17 PM

That ^^ should be ok. See below on materials

/ particle board has no use anywhere in a quality kitchen or bath as it will dissolve even if laminated, on exposure to water, steam or prolonged humidity.
Not if it is done properly. Exposed edges like around a sink will not be a problem if done properly, too.

Many cabinetmakers who make high quality cabinets use double sided melamine particle board.

Personally I wouldn’t use MDF for drawers or doors.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View jbay's profile

jbay

820 posts in 367 days


#5 posted 03-29-2016 05:30 PM


/ particle board has no use anywhere in a quality kitchen or bath as it will dissolve even if laminated, on exposure to water, steam or prolonged humidity.Not if it is done properly. Exposed edges like around a sink will not be a problem if done properly, too.

Many cabinetmakers who make high quality cabinets use double sided melamine particle board.

- rwe2156

Yep, Done it many times, for the budget conscious.
Here is a lunch room going on 2 years. It’s a textured melamine, just band the edges and your done.
Very durable when not mistreated.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

978 posts in 921 days


#6 posted 03-29-2016 05:47 PM

In 10 years it will dissolve. Let someone knock a drink into a drawer and see how it lasts. Edges of laminate seep moisture – period. Why risk it? For the low cost cust melamine et al is fine, but I said in a quality kitchen that is expected to last, no.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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dawolv

7 posts in 2857 days


#7 posted 03-29-2016 05:49 PM

That is fantastic jbay!!
Textured Melamine…Hmmm thats a whole new spin and something to look into.

Any issues with European hinges or the melamine holding screws?
I have installed the hinges before but in Ply and it went well.

Our situation will be mid term…we will be redoing the kitchen but that is a ways off yet.
Our cabs were painted black (o.O) and there is very little light in the kitchen so its dark as heck in there.
I will be tearing down a wall and building a island as well as reconfiguring the kitchen space to add a walk in Pantry…but that is down the line after some other fun projects :)

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1777 days


#8 posted 03-31-2016 07:00 PM

I’ve build 7 kitchens with Melanie coated PB going back over 20 years. Not one single thing has failed and nothing has melted (I’m lol at that one). Mark, you obviously don’t have much experience with Melamine and are just repeating some crap you heard somewhere.

Not only have I use Melamine successfully in kitchens but, part of my day job in the carpenter shop of out local school district is repairing broken cabinets. We have over 100 schools and support building with thousand and thousand of cabinets made from Melamine/PB materials. I have a real good idea on how Melamine covered PB cabinets hold up and it not as bad as many make it out to be. Most repairs I’ve made to PB cabinets is mostly do the shoddy construction methods.

Everywhere you go, banks, hospitals, and even multi million dollar homes you’ll fine PB cabinets.

My melamine shop cabinets over 20 years old…....no failures of and nothing has melted yet.

Some other Melamine stuff I’ve build for the school district that’s not falling apart or melting,

I’m not saying it is as durable as solid wood but it is pretty serviceable and has it place. And remember kitchen cabinet are not family heirloom furniture meant to last 200 years.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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MadMark

978 posts in 921 days


#9 posted 04-01-2016 05:16 PM

Why did the cabs need replacing? Because they failed in service or went out of style. What was the condition of the old cabs? Any failure you see will recur if the same materials & techniques are used. I can’t count (but is way more than 7 over 20 yrs) the number of yecchy cabs & vanities that I have pulled & tossed for melamine or other synthetic material having swelled, melted, delaminated & otherwise rotted.

Do you make the toe kick base of a kitchen or bath cab out of particle board? Have an overflow accident an see how it lasts.

Melamine is great for uppers, closets, pantries, etc, just not anywhere near water. I notice the examples shown are all dry applications.

M

PS I started apprenticing in my fathers cabinet shop at 10 until I went in the Army and have working the trade since. Your examples are all beautiful work but they are in dry air conditioned & heated spaces perfect applications for melamine.

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1777 days


#10 posted 04-01-2016 07:39 PM



Why did the cabs need replacing? Because they failed in service or went out of style. What was the condition of the old cabs? Any failure you see will recur if the same materials & techniques are used. I can t count (but is way more than 7 over 20 yrs) the number of yecchy cabs & vanities that I have pulled & tossed for melamine or other synthetic material having swelled, melted, delaminated & otherwise rotted.

Do you make the toe kick base of a kitchen or bath cab out of particle board? Have an overflow accident an see how it lasts.

Melamine is great for uppers, closets, pantries, etc, just not anywhere near water. I notice the examples shown are all dry applications.

M

PS I started apprenticing in my fathers cabinet shop at 10 until I went in the Army and have working the trade since. Your examples are all beautiful work but they are in dry air conditioned & heated spaces perfect applications for melamine.

- MadMark

The 7 kitchen I did all had sinks. We also have thousand of PB counter tops. The frequency of failures are to far and few between to eliminate PB as a choice of material is just crazzy. Weather you like it or not PB is hear to stay and the choice of many pro shop…...especially those doing framless cabinets.

I’ve seen plenty of failed plywood from water also. And yes I know plywood will take more water.

And remember not every body as an unlimited supply of money. If money wasn’t an issue we’d all have shops bigger that 80 square feet.

You always seem to think you know best for other people…..................You don’t…...lol

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2599 days


#11 posted 04-01-2016 09:40 PM



MDF / particle board has no use anywhere in a quality kitchen or bath as it will dissolve even if laminated, on exposure to water, steam or prolonged humidity.
.............
..............
..............

In 10 years it will dissolve

If done properly, MDF and particle board are perfectly acceptable and will last far longer than Mark says.
The cabinets in my bathroom use doors made up of mitered MDF stiles and rails and a plywood beadboard panel. Painted with latex interior paint.
They are 16 years old and look the same as the day I made them. You could never tell the difference if they were made with hardwood and painted.

I work in a cabinet shop making mostly laminated cabinets on MDF and particle board. In 23 years, the only failures I’ve seen were from pipes that burst and flooded the cabinets.

Laminating at home is a little trickier, because of the edges. It’s much harder to get a good edge bond using contact cement vs the $50,000 edgebander we use.

I would brush at least 3 coats of contact cement on each edge, letting each coat dry before applying the next. And don’t stick the laminate until the contact cement is thoroughly dry to the touch.
AN even better option would be to glue the laminate edges with wood glue, but that will take a lot longer.
As someone previously mentioned, you MUST laminate both sides of the doors or they will warp badly, and quickly.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

View dawolv's profile

dawolv

7 posts in 2857 days


#12 posted 04-01-2016 10:30 PM

Right now we are on a budget
We were thinking about redoing the entire kitchen…new cabs, change out some appliances, adding a walk in pantry etc…but that is a way out yet..
The kitchen is very dark…these pictures were taken right before we bought the home.
We painted the green walls to white to help reflect the light better.

I will be knocking out a wall that is not pictured to combine the dining room with the kitchen and to add more light since we have nice big windows on the other side of the wall and will be building an island.

We both just dont like the style of these cabinets, the paint job they did is coming off and the white/alabaster laminate is starting to show through in spots…its not looking good.

I figure I can at least get the doors and drawers remade while on staying on budget for other projects

So all the cabinet maker advice I can get is great! I made all my shop stuff and stuff for friends but never the trials and wear and tear for a kitchen so I am totally stumped on what substrate I need to use.

I know the look I want …that modern Danish look and would be fun to try that style!

I am also looking at some Walnut veneer but again what substrate will be the best option…

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2599 days


#13 posted 04-01-2016 10:37 PM

My kitchen is birch veneer on an MDF substrate. See my Projects for pics. MDF is an excellent substrate for veneer.
If you’re going to veneer, You NEED a vacuum bag. Do not use contact cement on veneer, it won’t last.
As with laminate, when using veneer, you MUST do both sides.

If you want to paint, I’d recommend a high quality oil based paint for kitchen use. Never paint over laminate, as you’ve seen it won’t last.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

View dawolv's profile

dawolv

7 posts in 2857 days


#14 posted 04-01-2016 11:10 PM

Wow Ger21…my Girl is going to want that backsplash! She loves that look…that sort of modern/industrial.
And that veneer is very nice looking!

I do see you could use these options for applying Veneer:
Weight/Clamp Veneering
Iron-On Veneering
Contact Cement Veneering
Flex-Pro Veneering
Hide Glue Veneering
Paperbacked Veneering
(from http://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/getting-started.htm)

What are everyone’s thoughts on these when applying veneer?

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1777 days


#15 posted 04-02-2016 01:14 AM

Another option for veneering is Peel and stick veneer. I’ve used a fair amount of peel and stick over the years. As with anything properly applied it sticks like crazy. I’ve use it quite a bit for end panels on cabinets over Melamine, PB and plywood with out problems.

This is a picture of peel and stick veneer I put on the sides of my oven cabinet. We use the self-cleaning feature of the oven a couple times a year. When we use it the sides of the cabinet get very hot…..yet the veneer keeps on stricken.

This is blood wood veneer which is much more of a red color that it appears in the pic.

PEEL AND STICK IS USE EXTENSIVELY IN THE CABINET REFACING BUSINESS.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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