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White Kitchen Cabinets

Why Homeowners Love Them So Much and How to Get Them

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White Kitchen Cabinets

White Kitchen Cabinets - Kraftmaid Thermofoil

Copyright/Courtesy Kraftmaid
White kitchen cabinets are, as the saying goes, timeless. But in a sense this is true. They can help your kitchen achieve either a cool modernity or a warm cottage-y feeling, or anything in-between. Let's take a look at why so many homeowners seek white kitchen cabinetry, and three ways you can go about getting them for your own kitchen.

Benefits of White Kitchen Cabinets

  • They provide a neutral canvas for fancy, interesting cabinet fixtures.
  • They let you dress up your kitchen in other ways—funky countertops, for example.
  • They give the kitchen a sanitary feeling.
  • They can help nudge your kitchen into a “country/cottage style,” if that’s something you’re trying to achieve.
  • They avoid the heavy, ponderous feeling of darker woods.
  • Thermofoil/MDF white cabinets are relatively inexpensive. Painting kitchen cabinets is even cheaper.
There are several ways to get white kitchen cabinets.

1. Install White Thermofoil Kitchen Cabinets

If thermofoil was invented for anything, it apparently was invented for the sheer purpose of creating white kitchen cabinetry. Thermofoil is a very thin melamine coating that is adhered onto the fiberboard core material of kitchen cabinets.

Thermofoil serves two purposes. First, it seals up that particleboard material, because particleboard cannot tolerate any kind of moisture. Even small amounts of moisture will cause particleboard to swell up, warp, and fall apart. The second purpose of thermofoil is to lay down a consistent color coat. Because particleboard is porous, it is terrible when it comes to taking paint.

Another negative aspect of thermofoil is that when it chips, it’s chipped—for good. Little you can do about it. You can't paint it, you can’t patch it. So the main thing you can do is try to avoid ever chipping or scratching thermofoil. On the plus side, white kitchen cabinets that are coated in thermofoil are abundantly available and extremely cheap.

2. Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets

Refacing is another popular way to turn existing kitchen cabinets into those highly-desired white kitchen cabinets. A company comes into your home (sorry, no DIY on this one), removes the doors and fixtures, faces them with a thin veneer, and then faces the exposed parts of the cabinet “boxes” with veneer, too.

Refacing isn’t as cheap as those junk-mail ad circulars might have you believe. But it is sure cheaper than new cabinets.

3. Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets are a real wood surface (not melamine), they will take paint. The only question is whether you can condition the wood to sufficiently take the paint.

Kitchen cabinets near the stove area are notorious for having layers of kitchen grease that is nearly impossible to wipe down. Sanding and/or chemical solvents will be needed to prepare the wood. The good news is that clean areas probably will need little more than a light sanding to roughen up the wood for your initial primer coat.

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