In my last blog we talked about the age of the 3D laminating industry and the struggles we’ve had. When you think about, when compared to nearly every other popular wood products manufacturing technique, 24 years old is still a baby. Many of the others have been around for several decades, if not centuries. Given that the industry is still so young, it is not difficult to understand why so much is still so unclear to so many.
Today I want to talk a bit about the most common misconception among consumers of thermofoil products at the retail level. For over a year I’ve been monitoring internet references to key industry terms such as RTF doors, membrane pressing, 3D laminating, and thermofoil. Anytime something new is picked up by Google, I receive a notice in my inbox. To give you an example of how well this works, I was notified of my own blog on Woodworking Network the day after it went live.
In addition to press releases, website additions and blog entries, I’m also frequently notified of internet discussion groups geared toward consumers of home remodeling products. As it turns out, thermofoil is a hot topic among those considering kitchen, bathroom, or closet remodeling. However, the typical discussion shows how much work we have to do. A quick glance at these discussions leads me to one conclusion: In the eyes of the average consumer, thermofoil is synonymous with white, and it looks like cheap plastic.
I was so irritated to by the tone of one of these discussions that I decided to participate to see if I had the ability to change a few minds. One post after another attempted to discourage everyone from looking at thermofoil. In my post I briefly mentioned my own experience with thermofoil and linked to a website that showed five-piece thermofoil doors very similar to the ones shown in the photo. They’re not white, cheaply made, and they don’t look like plastic.
What followed completely caught me off guard. The entire tone of the discussion changed. The very first responder said, “Wow you are correct. Those are not your mama’s thermofoil doors. They look great!” The rest of the discussion was completely positive and closed with a very encouraging comment:
“Now that I have seen the new styles of thermofoil doors I would not hesitate to use it especially since it is just so much more affordable and holds up so well. I admit that I didn't know it had come so far even from just a few years ago. It's neat that it comes in the darker colors now and also squared corners.”
One battle has been won, but there is still so much work left to do.
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