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3D Laminate, Thermal Foil, Refacing Material
Whether you are constructing a completely new kitchen in a new house, tearing apart and remodeling your kitchen, or just changing out your doors for a new look, the RTF refacing material will help bring it all together. Brushy Creek likes to call it "Off the Roll." Because that is what it is. You are asking for the same 3D Laminate material that will be fused onto the doors, drawer fronts, molding, and other items they produce. Now what about your face frames and cabinet box ends?
3D Laminate, also called Rigid Thermal Foil, is applied onto your cabinet doors and drawer fronts using Heat, Adhesive, and Pressure. It contours to all those wonderful raised panel door profiles you can select from. It creates those great square corners on shaker and beaded shaker style doors. Heat is what allows it to contour. It is an awesome surface material. It is resistant to water, it cleans well, and the textured woodgrain looks simulate woodgrain in a way where most of us think it is real wood. Technology has come a long way. Old RTF woodgrain colors use to look like painted plastic with a super smooth feel, and a plastic look. Now, we have RTF woodgrain colors that have faint texture that feels like stained woodgrain. We have some with rougher texture to make it feel like real wood that was not sanded entirely, or rough sawn woods which have become popular in rustic kitchens. Some of the textured grain patterns have a mix of sheens to them to reflect light differently. We also have RTF woodgrain colors that simulate knots in the wood. How awesome is that? Then there are also clean solid RTF colors and a few abstract patterns.
So if you have face frame cabinets, those face frames are most likely made of real wood. What are you going to do to that wood? Paint it? Stain it? Try to match to the color of your new doors? When selecting one of the solid RTF colors, many people will opt to paint their face frames and the ends of their cabinet boxes that show. Why not? It is a simple easy solution. And most of the time you can color match paint quite well. But the paint will have a different feel, and potentially a different sheen. And for woodgrain door choices, attempting to stain match to a 3D Laminate color is possible. Not practical, but possible.
The better solution! Order some Off the Roll 3D Laminate in the same color as your doors. Then, you can apply it to your face frames and cabinet box ends, and have an EXACT match to your cabinet doors. And it will feel the same. And it will look great!
Now we are not going to mislead you. It will take some talent to apply it. Especially on the woodgrain patterns. And it is NOT PSA. PSA means pressure sensitive adhesive. Which means peel and stick. This is NOT peel and stick. You will be using contact adhesive and then be patient and careful as you apply it straight and evenly onto the surface you are covering. You can practice first without the adhesive. Get the feel for rolling it onto your face frames starting on one end and moving across, and up and down. Having a second set of hands to help as you do it is always a welcome strategy. For larger areas like the end of a cabinet box, the material is very flexible. You will press it on inch by inch working steadily and patiently as to not trap any air pockets leading to unsightly bubbles. Attempting to roll out a bubble later probably will prove futile. So you do not just slap a piece on the end of a cabinet box. You roll it on and take your time. But you do not take forever, you do have contact adhesive that is drying as you are doing this. Having a "clean" rubber J-roller is a good idea too. Yes, you may have applied the window tinting film to your car windows using a credit card, but thermal foil is a bit more strudy and a lot thicker material. A J-roller with a good grip handle will make life easier. Plastic putty knives = no no. A nick in a plastic putty knife can drag or scratch. You want a clean J-roller, preferably a new J-roller where the rubber has not hardened. Yes, old J-rollers age like rubber mallets. Get a new one.
On solid colors, you have NO GRAIN pattern to be concerned with. When you are cutting strips for your face frame, vertical and horizontal do not matter. BUT, when you have a woodgrain, or the Brushed Aluminum color, anything with a grain, you will need MORE talent. On the ends of cabinet boxes, kitchen islands, and other larger surfaces, kind of straight forward that the grain is going to run vertical. There may be some applications where you may decide on a horizontal approach, but most of the time it will be vertical to correspond to the doors. And cabinet box ends generally have ONE piece of foil when your reface them. On a face frame, you have vertical and horizontal pieces to the frame. And if made from wood and not MDF, you will see how it was pieced together. Vertical pieces of the frame have vertical grain, and horizontal pieces of the frame have horizontal grain. This is how life is. So when refacing your face frame with the RTF, you are going to want to cut some nice 90 degree butt joints where you will butt the foil together. You will strive to keep the normal grain pattern of mixed vertical and horizontal pieces together. There are probably tutorials on Youtube that you can review. Best to review several and not rely on only one guy's advice. Including my long worded speech here.
On the face frame, you may choose to run all your horizontal pieces first going across several banks of cabinets, and then fit in the vertical pieces. Measure twice and three times, it will make for less cutting and less waste. Clamped down straight edges and sharp razors blades are gold! On some joints, the vertical may become the more dominate and pass by the horizontal. You do not want to create a zoo. You do want to be consistent one way or the other. And you are going to need to cut all these strips with the long grain of the piece or pieces of 3D Laminate that you order. Strips can be cut a little wider and trimmed afterward when the contact adhesive takes. This also aids in what if you get it on slightly crooked. Gives you a little wiggle room for the trimming. But the strips that you fit inbetween cross member pieces should be cut to the exact length that you need to fit them between their cross members for a very tight, straight, even fit. (Read that twice.) They can be cut wider too, and have that razor ready in the event that you need to shave a sliver off. You want to press it all down with your J-roller as you are doing the whole face frame. Get every piece in place and pressed down, make all those joints level. Trim the widths later when you are not as tired.
How the Off the Roll pieces come
You will purchase it by the linear foot. All pieces are at least 48" wide, most may be in the 49 to 51" size. And then you can order, 12", 24", 36", etc. The grain runs with the length, not the 48" width. So do not think that you can order just one linear foot and cut 48" strips out of it. Most you will get is 12" strips to follow the grain pattern. So you will most likely need 3 linear feet or more to do a proper job, and then depending upon how much you plan to cover, you may need more than one 48 x 96" piece. You can order multiple pieces in whatever linear foot length that you need. For example, say you need to cover the ends of two cabinet banks and they happen to be 60" tall and 27" in depth. You can order two off the roll pieces at 48" x 60". Why would you want to get 8 linear feet when you need 5 linear feet twice. The foil is priced by the square foot. So plan plan plan. Map out how you can use each piece. Order multiple pieces in different linear foot lengths. Minimize your waste. And not a great need to order extra, but do plan for a little extra. It will keep from delaying your project. If you determine that you need more, you can come back for it later. But not much sense in ordering tons of extra linear feet that you would not be using. Just get a little extra as error planning. We all goof up from time to time.
So on the order form you would request it in 1 foot mutiples of linear feet knowing that grains run with the length of the roll, not across the roll. On solid colors you have much more leadway and potentially can order less linear feet.
Questions? Call or e-mail us. No pictures on this page. Just the lesson. Sorry if it seemed long, but some people just do not know. Homeowners can do this themselves. And we are just trying to provide answers to the questions we have received over the years.
And when in doubt?
Get yourself four pieces of face frame size wood, and make yourself a practice frame. Then get a few 2x4s and mount the frame vertically, do not just lay it on a counter top or table. When you will be applying this in your kitchen, you will be working on a face frame in place, which will be perpendicular to the ground. So you do not want to practice the wrong way, you want your mock face frame to be like a real mounted face frame. Or just lean it flat to a wall, but practice in an upright fashion.
Then cut a few strips of RTF to proper size. Roll the horizontal pieces on first or vertical pieces. Do it as you will be planning on doing your kitchen. Then practice butting in those opposite pieces and creating nice clean joint lines. Trim up the widths after all are rolled on and have had a chance to sit for a while. When you are confident, go onto the kitchen. If the kitchen comes out great, get a picture of yourself, put it inside your practice face frame, and hang it on the wall - in the garage. Your wife is not going to let you put a poster size picture of yourself in the kitchen.
Brushy Creek Custom Doors web pages:
Brushy Creek Summary (info on how to order also) | Door Profile with color images | Door Design Styles | 3D Laminate COLORS | Shaker Style Doors | Frame only and Mullion Doors | Hinge Boring info | Fluted Fillers | Molding options | Wine Racks and Valances | 3D Laminate for Refacing | On-Line Quotation and Ordering Form | Measuring Advice | Receiving your Doors and Warranty Info