Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Melamine


QUESTION: Hi, A few years back you posted some suggestions for repairing peeling melamine cabinet doors.  There were links to two suggested adhesives / contact cements.  Neither link works now, and I'm wondering of those products are still available or if you would recommend others? My thermofoil cabinets are 7 years old and the one peeling is beneath the sink, next to the dishwasher, both areas where dampness might be a culprit.  Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!!!

ANSWER: Hi Yvonne,

You could use a contact cement, or a melamine glue. Both work well for bonding melamine to wood, although the contact cement provides an instant bond, while the melamine glue requires clamps to hold the two sides together while the glue is drying. The contact cement may sound like a better solution, but the melamine glue probably will bond your materials better.  

Here are links:

If your melamine is peeling off in large sheets/areas, you might want to place a board on top of the melamine while clamping it, to provide even pressure on it while clamping. Just a single clamp isn't going to give you an adequate overall pressure to give you a good bond.  On the other hand, if moisture is the culprit, the contact cement is more impervious to moisture.

Another suggestion might be to buy a new door. Is it possible to contact Thermofoil  and just order a replacement? A door that is already delaminating is probably going to still have problems down the line with delamination in another area.

OK, I hope these links help - good luck, and feel free to write back if you have more questions.

Jamie in Vegas

Jamie Yocono
Wood It Is! Custom Cabinetry
Las Vegas, NV

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Many thanks, Jamie.  I appreciate the promptness of your response!  It's the edges / corners of the doors (which have rounded edges on the facing sides) and the Thermofoil meets at the back edges of the doors or drawers, probably the most vulnerable spot.  It's two edges of the same door, the one under the sink which is next to the dishwasher.  Unfortunately, it was custom, so I don't think that Thermofoil can give me a new door, but if they could, how would they match the color?  Is it something I could send off to Thermofoil?  The "wood" is actually MDF, and would the MDF be more absorbent than wood and suck up the contact cement?  Or would the fact that the contact cement works by contact cause it to adhere?  And how would you suggest applying the pressure to these surfaces?  It's not quite the same as with the flat sides where some clamps could be applied.  Or maybe there's a special tool that would do this?  I've asked the carpenter who installed the kitchen 7 years ago for his recommendation, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said that this is what happens to Thermofoil because it's "cheap" (these were not exactly cheap cabinets).  I'm afraid it's going to fall to me to do....


Contact Cement grips immediately, so there is no need for clamps. None!

My best advice is to peel off that part, or at least peel it back as far as you can, without breaking it, and coat both sides of the part you're gluing with contact cement. Give each side AT LEAST two coats of CC, letting each coat dry in between.That is the key for an instant bond - both sides have to be completely dry.  The MDF is porous, and will suck up the CC like a sponge, so that's the reason for the multiple coats. You may even need three coats on the MDF side.

When you put the two pieces back together, make sure everything is aligned perfect, because you don't get a second chance. If you're confused, do a Google search on using CC and watch a video. It's easy to use, but the key for an instant bond is dryness.

Hope this helps.

Jamie in Vegas

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Jamie Yocono


Woodworker, Furniture designer/builder, industrial arts educator. Bachelor degree in Furniture Design, and journeyman carpenter, with a 4 year apprenticeship. Currently owner of custom furniture/cabinet shop in Las Vegas, NV. Can answer most woodworking questions EXCEPT those regarding repairs, refinishing, and antiques.


Bachelor in Furniture Design - Ohio University (1980) Journeyman Carpenter, Local 639 Adult educator - Developed adult education woodworking program for the University of Akron, and taught classes there for 9 years. Opened a private woodworking school in Las Vegas, NV and teach private and semi-private lessons. In 2011, I will begin teaching UNLV woodworking classes at my school. Sweet!

Furniture Society

Tile Design and Installation Magazine (Article on inlaying tile into wood)

Journeyman Union Carpenter Bachelors degree in Furniture Design (Ohio University) College of Hard Knocks!

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