Tricks Of The Trade: Paint Or Laminate?

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By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM
Published in the March 2009 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Q Is there a laminating material that can go right over old laminate to reface cabinets? Or is there a paint that doesn’t look like paint and is long lasting?

Becky Clegg, CFM
Crowe Chizek
Oakbrook Terrace, IL

A You have a couple of choices, depending on the condition of the existing cabinets. Paint can be used if the old laminate is prepped for painting.

Several of the sites regarding painting over laminate emphasize the sanding of the old surface, the application of a quality primer, and two coats of the exterior paint. Several sites also warned that scratching of the painted surface will be noticeable, if (and when) it happens.

Another suggestion is to have a finish carpenter glue a new laminate finish over the existing laminate. You will need to use a product with a relatively thinstock laminate. This option may be more expensive, due to the higher costs associated with the material, along with the labor it will take to install the laminate properly on the old cabinets.

In lieu of replacing the cabinets, prefinished doors are also available. This would be a good, cost-effective compromise between refinishing and replacing the entire cabinet.

Elledge,facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit AllianceCompanies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from theInternational Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and isa member of TFM’sEditorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask TheExpert” portion of the magazine’s Web site. To pose a question, visit this link.

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