Vinyl Doors – Pros and Cons

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Anyone who’s had a vinyl door kitchen in the past 15 years will probably have had some problems with peeling doors or know someone who has. This will largely be down to a major problem in the industry which happened around 8 years ago, this coupled with the way kitchens get used with heat from toasters and steam from kettles has led to vinyl doors getting a bit of a bad press.

In this blog we’d like to take a look at the pros and cons of vinyl doors and try and dispel some of the misconceptions about the product. It’s best to start with some general FAQ’s about vinyl doors.

What is a vinyl door?

Vinyl doors are manufactured by creating a door style out of MDF, usually routed out using a CNC machine. The raw MDF door is then wrapped with a plastic vinyl and stuck with an industrial adhesive. Vinyl manufacturers have an extensive range of colours and effects ranging from high gloss finishes, flat colours and wood grain effects to imitate real wood doors.

What kind of guarantee do they come with?

Vinyl doors used to come with a 2-year warranty. This was largely down to the kitchen environment having adverse effects on the doors with heat and steam acting like Kryptonite to what is an otherwise robust door. With advances in adhesives and technology used to wrap them, the warranty period has increased to 6 years.

Do the doors peel?

The short answer is yes! But there are ways to prevent this from happening and we know of vinyl kitchens that have lasted 20 years without peeling. It’s all to do with the way the kitchen is used.

Why have I heard of so many vinyl doors peeling recently?

The vinyl door industry had a real problem around 2007-2009. At the time, door manufacturers were unaware that MDF board manufacturers had changed the way they manufactured MDF, specifically that they had begun using a different type of adhesive to bond the fibres together.

The new adhesives reacted with the adhesives used to laminate the vinyl to the MDF and unfortunately the reaction wasn’t instant so it wasn’t immediately picked up on. It took nearly 5 years for the doors to begin peeling and the peeling was extensive! There were occasions when the entire kitchen door delaminated with the handle being the only thing keeping the vinyl on the door. Because the board manufacturers supply most door manufacturers, the results were the same for nearly every vinyl door supplier in the industry.

Thankfully this problem was rectified and through this process the industry learned a lot and now produces better adhesives and can now give longer guarantees as mentioned above. This problem is now a thing of the past……but that doesn’t mean the doors can never peel!

You may be wondering why anyone would buy vinyl doors with these problems being inherent? Well there are as many good points as there are faults……. which brings us to our pros and cons

Pros

Cost effective.

One of the biggest pros the vinyl door has is its cost! It is one of the least expensive doors on the market and with impressive styles and colours you can achieve a wow kitchen without a huge price tag.

Uniformity of colour.

One person’s con is another person’s pro! Although vinyl doors can never look the same as a natural wood product…. sometimes that’s exactly what our customers want.

Natural woods come with shakes, sap marks and knots that some clients simply don’t like. With a vinyl door, what you see is what you get which is peace of mind for some clients. Also, because we aren’t looking at a natural product, some of the wood effects vinyl’s have some very interesting effects to them which would be hard if not impossible to replicate with stains etc on a real wood door and there are some lovely looking wood effect doors in the vinyl ranges.

Easy to clean, low maintenance.

Vinyl doors are extremely robust when it comes to dirt and stains and are very easy to clean. It is the easiest to clean surface on the door market which is a big selling point to clients who are wanting a low maintenance kitchen.

Colour co-ordinated cabinets.

Because vinyl doors have a limited range in colours, it is more likely that there is a matching board out of which we can make the cabinets, ensuring a completely colour co-ordinated finish to the interior of the cabinet.

Cons

The doors can delaminate.

Now that the major fault issue is a thing of the past, the only reason a door would peel before it’s reasonable life span (at least 10 years) would be down to how the kitchen is used in relation to the doors.

The most common areas where the vinyl tends to peel is above toasters; above kettles, above steamers and either side of ovens when the oven has a fault and the heat seals start to degrade. All of these issues are preventable if you use your kitchen in a different way.

Make sure you pull your kettles, toasters and steamers away from any wall units prior to use, this will reduce the direct steam/heat which causes the doors to peel. Also, check the heat coming out of your oven when the door is closed. There should be little to no heat but if you can feel heat bleeding out then there’s a good chance your heat seals have degraded which could cause your doors to peel.

Only a 6-year warranty.

Unlike wooden and painted doors, the vinyl doors we supply only come with a 6-year warranty. Wooden and painted doors are manufactured in such a way that nothing can really go wrong with them beyond the obvious wear and tear from use. Vinyl doors however will eventually degrade as adhesives have to break down given enough time.

There’s no way to say how long this will take and we have seen vinyl kitchens that have been installed for over 20 years without issue but as a guide we would expect to see some peeling in a kitchen after 10-15 years. The worst culprit for this is high gloss vinyl doors as the high gloss vinyl is slightly thicker and has more spring to it.

Lacking natural look in wood effects.

Although there are some fantastic wood effect vinyl’s on the market, nothing beats the real thing and imitation wood effect vinyl’s will never give you the same look or feel as a natural wood kitchen

Limitations in colours.

Another shortcoming of the vinyl doors is the lack of colour choices. As vinyl is manmade, it is made in huge quantities to supply the world market. Therefore, it isn’t cost effective to mass produce hundreds of different colours. This means vinyl manufacturers tend to limit the choices of colours and finishes so unlike a painted door where you can literally choose any colour with a RAL number, vinyl doors only have a smaller selection of colours to choose from.

The pros and cons of vinyl doors are pretty finely balanced but the cost saving element and easy to clean nature of the doors really does give it that edge needed to maintain this doors popularity.

If you’d like to find out more and physically see the doors mentioned above then please visit our showrooms and speak to one of our experienced staff.

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