Vinyl Unwrap

A (fair) few years ago, I made a cupboard for the kitchen, and to do the job right, commissioned vinyl wrapped drawer fronts and cupboard doors (and they were not particularly cheap).  I’ve discovered recently that despite the cost outlay, and getting them commercially made (by Schiffer Manufacturing, which no longer seems to exist except in outdated web pages) that it still ended up a disappointment, as the vinyl is falling off every one of the doors and drawers.

Edges lifting, panels warping, delaminating

Entire vinyl coatings flapping in the breeze.

I’m going to have to work out how to fix it – will probably remove the vinyl from each panel, apply glue and clamp it up.  That might be with traditional clamps, but may also be with a vacuum press method (to get a vacuum press large enough, I have heard of space bags being used).

Last thing I wanted to have to deal with.  Fixing someone else’s screwup – especially when I’ve paid for better.

32 Responses

  1. Wht not remove the vinyl, sand the wood and spray paint with high gloss white paint.

  2. yep, would make my blood boil too! Think you’re flogging a deadorse though by re-glueing. Suggest you remove all the vinyl (sounds like that wouldn’t be too hard!) and spray paint with 2 part epoxy. Might cost some but the end result is pretty hard wearing.

  3. Stu, A common problem. I live in WA. A few years back ours did the same thing. They had been installed about 5 years previous I think. We went back to the kitchen manufacturer who gave us the phone no for the door rep so fast you knew you were not the first. He came round measured the doors and said he would be back in about 8 weeks as they were made over east. Sure enough he turned up and replaced all the doors. He blamed a faulty glue batch and said it was a wide spread problem and the door manufacturer was meeting all the costs. For me a good result.

  4. chances are they were bought out by borg manufacturing or run out of business by them ,they pretty much own the industry oz wide, the doors are vacume pressed on after a light spray of adhesive is applied. You wouldn’t be able to clamp them the “foil” as they call it is thin and will leave marks and look a mess.
    someone i know used a steam cleaner on his and the all came off like that and bubbled was a expensive mistake.
    The only way i could think of to fix them is to use craft spay adhesive and try a vacume bag setup, you have nothing to lose, you may be able to use a contact adhesive but its harder to spread and i dont know if it would affect the plastic!

  5. I have the same problem , not sure what to do either

    • I ended up removing the vinyl and getting a really high gloss enamel paint. Used a sealer /undercoat first, then a couple of coats of enamel. It worked surprisingly well, to the point I don’t know why vinyl wrap is so popular, the enamel looked good.

      • Hi I also have vinyl wrap on my kitchen cupboards and a couple have the glue unsticking. My cupboards are melamine not wood. Would I still be able to steam off the vinyl and have 2 pac finish applied.

  6. The vinyl came off easily enough, but I made the mistake of trying to glue (to see if it would work), but even with vacuum pressing it looked crap. (My doors were MDF cored as well)

    Lessons learned: do not put anything on the MDF that is water based – it will immediately cause the fibres to swell where they have been machined. (PVA glue, water based paint etc)

    I used an enamel paint (high gloss) which worked surprisingly well, all things considered. Would have worked even better if I hadn’t damaged the surface trying to glue first.

    Worked so well that I really don’t know why we go with vinyl wrapping at all. I brushed it on, but spraying would have resulted in even better result.

    • hi im going to do my bedroom wardrobes as i am sick of trying to glue it back on i am worried about the glue marks coming through the paint and also i can not remove the vinyl off one of the doors any tips for that liz

  7. Stuart, as I have the same problem (but mine have lasted 10 years) , can I ask how difficult it was to get the glue off under the wrap and did you seal the paint at all? I want to do this but my husband says the glue removal would be too hard.

    • Hi Sharon
      If the glue is even/flat, I wouldn’t bother so long as the paint goes over the top (worth doing a test area).
      I sealed the MDF before applying the paint (undercoat)

      It came up surprisingly well all things considered.

  8. Thanks for the reply. Now to just convince the other half!

  9. ‘Bad batch of glue’…I was told exactly that! Had all panels replaced and sure enough, a couple of years later off it came again. I think my house gets too hot in summer for the glue – at least that’s my excuse for the crappy panels. I might try the painting trick myself. Stuart, did the paint last? I’ve been worried about removing the glue too, but you said you undercoated then used enamel paint…couple of years ago? Did it peel or lift? Thanks 🙂

    • Has worked well so far. I was in that house recently, and had forgotten I had even done it – they looked fine, both to the extent that they looked like vinyl wrap, and there was no issue with lifting or peeling.

  10. What would I do about the other parts of the cupboards that are matching laminate to the doors- if I paint them? Like around the oven? Laminate paint? Is that durable like Ive heard said?

    • Probably best to stay with the same finish throughout if possible – keep it all matching. Check with your paint supplier as to how durable the paint will be in the various locations. Enamel is generally a pretty robust finish. Be good to know if it is oil proof (as in splatter from the stove). Probably more resistant than acrylic, but not my area of expertise.

  11. Everyone is going on about a glue problem, it may be that not enough is being used to cut costs, but the real problem was from the main vinyl supplier, Renolit, who made a bad batch of gloss vinyls. There were also suspicions that the Finsa MDF wasn’t porous enough but the blame lies firmly with Renolit.

  12. I’ve had a quote from a company who will remove the vinyl wrap and replace with a 2pac paint. They will also prime and paint the laminated sections.
    I’ve also had another resurfacing company decline the job due to the problems associated with removing/painting over the glue.
    Does anyone have experience with this? Can you offer advice on the success of the project and how long the 2 pac paint might last?? We really can’t afford a new kitchen.

  13. I have just bought annie Sloan chalk paint to do mine with as the peeling is driving me mad. It works very well I’m told and can do it yourself. Just have to seal with wax or shellac. I’m waxing as don’t want them to yellow

    • Hi Sharon, think your to-do list is like mine! Takes a few years of procrastination before it becomes sufficiently irritating enough to do something about. Think you have been wanting to do this since 2013!!

      Good luck – hope it works out well for you too.

      • Hi Stuart. Well I’ve painted 2 and a drawer so far! What do you think would be the best thing to seal these with? There is a wax that is used over it but I cant use it near the oven. Wax also needs regular re-doing. Polycrylic was mentioned in what I read but I have seen that it yellows? How long would it take to yellow (I can always repaint over it). Can I use minwax water based stuff on mdf? Its a bit confusing as I’ve read people have done it without problems. TIA

        • Hi Sharon,

          I’m wondering how your painting with the Annie Sloan chalk paint went. What did you end up sealing it with?? Have you found that it is lasting? I’m keen to tackle this nasty kitchen issue in the next few months.

          • Hi Juli. Yes I did paint it with Annie Sloan and it is great! It is hard wearing but of course not like laminate. You do get the odd scratch, nothing major and it can just be touched up – over the top of the wax and all. I waxed it with the Annie Sloan wax designed to go with the paint. I even waxed the oven surround which I was initially concerned about and the heat has done nothing at all to the paint or wax. The only thing to consider is that the finish is matte not shiny. You can buff the wax as you put it on. Best thing is, I just painted over the green coloured glue under the wrap – chalk paint sticks to anything. If you find an Annie Sloan paint specialist they will tell you all about it. There is also a lot on the net. My kitchen has held up to husband, kids and a dog that likes to lean up against cupboards with his paws. So I’m very pleased. I’ll try and post some photos

          • Hi Juli. I’m having probs with the internet so apologies if you get 2 replies .
            I did it and its great. I used the Annie Sloan wax designed for the paint as it also sets hard over the paint as a protective layer.
            You do get the odd scratch but it can be retouched and rewaxed whenever you want. It has held up to husband kids and a dog!
            I ended up waxing around the oven too and there has been no problems whatsoever with the heat from the oven. Its as good as new. I love it and it was the cheapest option. I painted over the green glue as the vinyl peeled off very easily leaving the glue as a smooth surface. The whole kitchen cost $66 (I think- around about that) for 1 tin of AS paint which I used 3 coats per cupboard etc and still have leftover.
            The only thing you need to be aware of is that its matte, not shiny. I don’t actually mind, and friends have said it looks great and they like the look too.
            I tried to post some photos but it didn’t work- is there a way to do this?

        • Thanks so much for the info Sharon!

          My Christmas holiday project sorted 🙂

          • Ha ha – there you go- 2 replies with 2 lots of info. I did mine in the July holidays! It was good fun. Good luck- I’m sure you’ll like it. I used Antique White on mine. Its white but not bright white

  14. I just bought a house and after one month the vinyl wrap upper doors started to melt. I had the sale’s man that did the cupboards come in and he said something hot had to do this. I told him the only thing I had which I pulled out was my toaster. He said that would do it, If there is not enough heat coming from my toaster to burn my hand but melt the vinyl would the cupboards be like in a year, He said you can’t have a slow cooker near them or a tea kettle, I have a gas stove what are the lower cupboards going to be like when I turn the stove on, He tried to tell me they have been around for a long time and in 25 years never had a problem., I also asked him where I do my cooking on the floor, He also stated they are much better than wood I said wood doesn’t melt,

    • Hi Bev,
      Not sure what the consumer laws are in Canada, but I would be looking closely at the consumer laws around “fit for purpose”. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that in a kitchen that you would use a toaster, slow cooker, fry pan etc etc on the available bench space. The decisions the builder makes about material choice for cupboards that are installed above such surfaces need to take that into account.

      If this is a new house, I’d definitely pursue this avenue. There is no point putting in cupboards that look good, that are not fit for the location in which they are installed. It would be like using non moisture resistance MDF in a kitchen or bathroom. Sure it looks good, until it is used in a very typical way (and it is perfectly reasonable to expect sink overflows etc).

      Sorry to hear of your issue – on the face of it, your expectations are reasonable.

      The agent also doesn’t take into account that different materials may look the same, but perform differently based on the environment that they are installed. Or made wrong etc etc – wrong material, wrong glue etc.

  15. Hi I have removed the vacuum sealed wrap off my kitchen doors and am planning to paint with 2pack
    I am worried about the glue still on the doors reacting with the2pack primer.What chemical will remove the glue ?(it is very waxy and clogs the sandpaper)
    Cheers Dave

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