Painting Thermofoil Cabinets


Painting thermofoil cabinets are easy to maintain. Some people are confused as to what thermofoil is and its difference from laminate cabinets. Thermofoil is basically a thin layer of vinyl through an intense heat and pressure-bonding process. In the end, it is easy to clean and is durable. However, because of the smooth finish and that it is a vinyl surface, it is a popular opinion that it is extremely hard to paint. Not to mention that if your thermofoil chips or peels, it is practically impossible for it to look the same as it was prior. Nonetheless, painting thermofoil cabinets is completely doable, but with the right paint, materials, and preparation. Even getting help from interior painters would be a good idea.

Why Consider Painting Thermofoil Cabinets?

While Thermofoil cabinets are renowned for their longevity and low maintenance, several compelling reasons might influence your decision to paint them.


1. Modernize Your Aesthetics

Your kitchen’s aesthetics have a significant influence on your home’s overall ambiance. Perhaps your Thermofoil cabinets were the trendy option when initially installed but now feel outdated. Painting them can help modernize your kitchen’s ambiance without the cost and inconvenience of a full remodel.

2. Customize Your Space

Those seeking a personalized touch to their kitchen may find the limited colour range of Thermofoil cabinets unsatisfying. Painting gives you the freedom to choose the colour palette, allowing a welcoming blend with the rest of your home décor.

3. Cost-Effective Refresh

Replacing cabinets can sometimes become costly, particularly for large kitchens. Painting thermofoil cabinets is a cost-effective method to revive their look significantly. With only the price of paint, primer, and a few tools to consider, you can transform your kitchen’s appearance on a budget.

4. Cover up Wear and Tear

While Thermofoil cabinets usually withstand the test of time, minor scratches and discolouration may occur. Instead of replacing peeling thermofoil cabinets, a fresh coat of paint can effectively mask such minor signs of wear and tear.

5. Increase Home Value

If you’re contemplating selling your property, a well-executed paint job on your cabinets can improve your home’s overall appeal to prospective buyers. The initial investment of time and resources might turn into a greater return in the long run.

6. Environmental Consideration

Choosing to paint rather than replace your cabinets is also an eco-friendly decision. It prevents unnecessary waste generated by replacing otherwise structurally sound cabinets.

Thermofoil Cabinet Full Shot

Things To Do Before Painting Thermofoil Cabinets

As mentioned previously, thermofoil cabinets consist of a thin layer of vinyl that is vacuum-pressed onto the cabinet doors and the fronts of the drawers. Then, the cabinet bases and door are laid in the press and 100% vinyl is positioned on top of that. Secondly, when the top is shut, air is removed from the chamber. With a high-pressure system and an adhesive, the vinyl is fused to the surface. A lot of people try to stay away from thermofoil cabinets, but they do still exist in kitchens from the 90s. They clean up well and painting it can give your kitchen an inexpensive refresh. So, if you are planning on painting thermofoil cabinets, you can do so with these steps.

  1. Painting preparation
  2. Sand using sandpaper
  3. Prime
  4. Painting thermofoil cabinets


First, you will have to clear all objects inside your cabinets. Detach all your cabinet doors if you want to paint and prime them individually. You should use a screwdriver for this step. Clean off any dust and debris you see. Use a warm damp cloth to target all the corners. Then, use a sponge to clean the cabinets with a home cleaning solution. This will be warm water and liquid dish soap. Lastly, dry all the cabinets with paper towels.

Supplies needed

  1. Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer: This primer in particular works best on laminate and thermofoil cabinets
  2. Paint tray
  3. 4 ” foam roller
  4. A foam brush
  5. Painter’s tape: for taping off your walls or countertops to avoid messy troubles.
  6. High-quality paint brush: this makes all the difference in the world to have a smooth finish
  7. Sanding block (medium grit)
  8. Benjamin Moore Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd paint: this paint has excellent self-leveling and hardens like enamel. The finish is extremely durable and makes for a beautiful surface.

Sanding and Priming Cabinets

Using sandpaper, carefully smooth out the cabinets and focus on the rougher sections. This will allow you to create smooth surfaces that your paint and primer will stick to correctly. Thermofoil cabinets are sensitive to rough sanding, which is why you should do this process slowly and gently. Clean the cabinets again with a damp cloth, after sanding. Then, use painter’s tape to protect the surrounding areas of your cabinet, in the event that paint drops. Now, we are at the priming stage. Before priming, look at the primer packaging. You should always make sure that the primer you are using is specifically the best primer for thermofoil cabinets. When you have sorted that out, open all your surrounding windows to give yourself proper ventilation. Use a paintbrush to apply the primer to the cabinets in wide and even strokes. If you are painting the doors separately, put them on a small tarp or blanket. Then, apply the primer. Allow the first coat to dry, then apply a second coat. Throw out the tarp at the end!

Painting Thermofoil Cabinets

Before doing anything else, the second coat of primer needs to be dry. Use a paintbrush or roller to apply latex paint, and once again, use wide and even strokes. You should consider using foam for applying paint to the thermofoil. As mentioned previously, wait for the first coat to dry, then apply a second coat, and so forth. When your last coat is fully dry, use a cloth to wipe a coat of polyurethane varnish on the cabinet surface. Once the varnish is dry, you can remove all the painter’s tape. Lastly, you can attach all the thermofoil cabinet doors to your cabinet frame using a screwdriver. Remember that not all paint is made for painting thermofoil cabinets. Check with your local hardware store to find out which paints work best for your individual needs.

Painter Painting Thermofoil Cabinet



In essence, painting thermofoil cabinets can breathe new life into your kitchen, making it an enticing space for culinary creativity. Whether motivated by aesthetics, budget, or environmental considerations, painting these cabinets can be a rewarding project.

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Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of painting thermofoil cabinets yourself? Perhaps you need some experienced Toronto house painters to do your kitchen cabinet painting. Our team of professional painters has over 36 years behind them. Call 416.494.9095 or email for a FREE quote or visit our website. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below!