Plastic laminate cabinets have been around for a long time. There are many pros and cons to having Formica installed on your cabinet doors. I’ve been a cupboard professional for over thirty years and am very knowledgeable about plastic laminate kitchens.
Let’s begin With The Pros
The advantages of having plastic laminate doors in the kitchen are many. This particular style has been ever popular in the Florida area for many years.
When looking at the cost comparisons of Formica, Thermofoil and real wood, we see that the Formica doors are the least expensive to install of the three. Some would argue that the vinyl coated doors are about the same cost, but this is not true. It has been our experience that the flat plastic laminate doors are the least costly to manufacture and install on cupboards. Even though they are reasonably priced, the quality of the material is superior to Thermofoil or real wood kitchen cupboard doors.
Color and Finish Selections
You will find thousands of Formcia colors that are provided by the leaders in the industry. The biggest suppliers are Nevamar, Pionite, Wilson Art and Formica Brand Laminates. Not only are there many solids and patterns in stock, but there are top coats such as flat, satin, stippled, and high gloss that are optional selections as well.
Easy to Clean
This is one of the greats pros of Formica cabinets, they are very easy to clean. Any all-purpose household cleanser works just fine on these kitchen cabinet doors. My favorite is Windex because I feel it is a streak free cleaner.
Formica plastic laminate will last a lifetime if it is adhered to the surface properly. Many of the basic white kitchen cabinet doors that were installed years ago are still looking great today.
If you ever have to replace a door, the color consistency of a new sheet of laminate is amazing even ten years later.
Resurfaced or Painted Over
Formica can be covered over with new laminate of painted over with the proper kind of paint. This is called having Formica cabinet doors refaced.
Disadvantages to Having Formica Kitchen Cabinet Doors
One of the biggest cons of having plastic laminate cupboard doors is that they have a tendency to warp if the cabinet manufacturer did not equal the pressure of the center-core board by laminating both sides of the doors.
If they are made properly getting curves in the doors will not be an issue. If you are considering having them installed in your kitchen pay a little extra and ask your cupboard door manufacture to laminate both sides of the door with plastic laminate. This will ensure that it will not warp.
Video on How to Repair a Warped Cabinet Door
Discontinuing Laminate Colors
Through the years white Formica colors have stayed consistent in being available, but many of the wood grains, solid colors and various patterns have been discontinued. Finding discontinued plastic laminate for cabinets is a laborious task, one that oftentimes ends in defeat.
Even with the best of care, eventually someone is going to put a chip in a Formica cupboard door. The reason that this is considered to be a con is because if the color is not available anymore, you are basically out of luck. A good cabinet maker can sometimes remove an existing piece of laminate from the side of the range, dishwasher or refrigerator cabinet area in order to re-laminate the damaged cupboard door. Repairing chips with filler does not really ever work well.
Some might say that the one of the cons of having Formica cabinet doors is that the get water damaged. This is not true. No cabinet door can withstand water saturation. People have just equated Formica cupboards with particle board swelling and flaking apart when it gets wet. If any cabinet part gets soaked with water, even ply-wood, it may need to be replaced.
The only style that an authentic Formica cabinet door comes in is “flat.” No raised panel styles are available in the hard coated plastic laminate. Some companies manufacture shaker door styles out of laminate, but they are still flat with no concave or raised rounded edges on the panels.
How long a set of Formica kitchen cabinet doors lasts really depends upon how well they are taken care of. Formica can be painted or resurfaced in order to give your cupboards a different look. Of all the pros and cons associated with Formica, I still think that they will outlast the alternative door selections available on the market today.