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Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

Last post Mon, Feb 1 2010 2:02 AM by fultimers. 10 replies.
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  • Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:29 PM

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Do you have any ideas to help this reader?

    We have pressboard cabinets that are 25 yrs. old and they are fraying at the edges. We are retired and money is tight. How can we revive these kitchen cabinets at the top and the bottom? 

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  • Mon, Jan 18 2010 12:45 PM In reply to

    • Toni B.
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Apr 4 2008
    • Seneca Falls NY
    • Posts 3,826

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Anything made out of pressboard does not last long and is difficult to repair. Even if the surface looks acceptable, the interior gets weaker over time. If you live in an area where there are termites, the news is even grimmer. I would recommend finding a hardware outlet store and start looking for discounted cabinets made from real wood rather than sink your money into repairing pressboard. Or if you have local vocational schools where students could build new cabinets as a learning project. Or if your county has an Office for the Aging, they may have some resources available for home repairs. Finally if you belong to a local church, maybe someone (contractor) in your congregation can help you out. Hope this helps.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • Mon, Jan 18 2010 1:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Second the notion that repairing pressboard is a nearly fruitless effort. Another place to look for discounted cabinets is in a Habitat for Humanity Re-store.

  • Tue, Jan 19 2010 9:31 AM In reply to

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    What about aluminum or plastic edging? Do they make any that would fit? Or maybe you could find a plastic tube that could be sliced down one side and placed over the edges.

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  • Wed, Jan 20 2010 1:26 AM In reply to

    • CAJudi
    • Top 500 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Thu, Nov 26 2009
    • California
    • Posts 91

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Unfortunately, the problem is that if the pressboard is "fraying", there isn't a good surface to connect to, either mechanically (nails, screws, etc) or chemically (glueing). It might even exacerbate the problem. If it's just the doors, then perhaps these can be replaced. If it's the actual structural boxes, then replacement of the cabinets is really the only solution. :(

    Pat:

    What about aluminum or plastic edging? Do they make any that would fit? Or maybe you could find a plastic tube that could be sliced down one side and placed over the edges.

     
  • Thu, Jan 21 2010 12:02 PM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Dec 17 2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,406

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Toni B.:
    Anything made out of pressboard does not last long and is difficult to repair.

    Ah, I wouldn't give up on it just yet. In building R/C airplanes I had to learn a bunch of repair/fabrication/finishing skills. One thing to try would be mix up a batch of slow-curing epoxy with microballons (tiny glass balls, it looks like dust) as a filler material. Chopped fiberglass is stronger, but is hazardous if you breathe it so a dust mask is required when working with it. For the cabinets, instead of epoxy one could use wood glue but it won't be as strong. Sand it down smooth when the glue sets and if done right the repair is invisible under a coat of paint. Using a sanding block is essential to get the edges feathered in correctly.

    I used that technique to repair a partially rotted window sill and it still didn't show ten years later.

    Any hobby shop worthy of the name will have those materials.

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  • Thu, Jan 21 2010 12:35 PM In reply to

    • Toni B.
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Apr 4 2008
    • Seneca Falls NY
    • Posts 3,826

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Good suggestion Walt. That would work in the interim but eventually they will have to be replaced.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • Mon, Jan 25 2010 8:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    If you have government housing projects nearby, they remodel from time to time, and many have pulled out wood cabinets.  Cabinet shops occasionally have some for sale.  I've seen many cabinet sets advertised in shopper papers, and Craigslist in the nearest city may have them.  If you have a salvage and demolition yard within an hour or two's drive, stay in touch with them.  Check with backhoe operators in nearby cities--sometimes they have to pull down old houses with glass-front or knotty pine cabinets.  I totally sympathize with your plight--pressed board in bad condition mildews and it is a feast for roaches. 

    This may not make it past the censors, but my furniture-sales father called pressed board  "glit" --half glue, half s**t.

  • Mon, Jan 25 2010 11:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Could they apply wallpaper directly to them to cover them up?  Or maybe a textured wallpaper (like grasscloth) and then paint it?  I used to have pressboard cabinets in an old apartment, I know exactly what they are talking about.  Hope they find something that works!

    Heather in CA
    http://storingupmytreasures.blogspot.com/
  • Mon, Jan 25 2010 11:05 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader's question: Repairing pressboard cabinets

    Another option would be just removing the cabinet faces altogether.  It's very "in" right now to have open cabinets w/o the doors.  You could paint the inside of the cabinets a different color from the rest of the kitchen to make it really pop.  Or, maybe you could experiment and make curtains for the spaces to give the kitchen a country look.  Tension rods placed inside the cabinet frames might work, depending on the size of the openings. 

    Heather in CA
    http://storingupmytreasures.blogspot.com/
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