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How to Protect Cabinetry From Heat?

Postby sweaner on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:56 pm

As our new kitchen slowly becomes reality, I am wondering how to protect the cabinets from the heat of the espresso machine. I will be keeping the machine in the corner of the counter top. It does produce significant heat, and of course steam. What can I put on the underside of the cabinet to protect the wood and the contents?
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Postby smillions on Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:48 pm

I wouldn't recommend using any type of foam board insulation; I would be worried about condensation being trapped between the insulation and the cabinets. The cure could be worse than the disease.

You might try a melamine paint. That would seal and protect the wood, but it won't do much to stop the contents of the cabinet from getting hot. Another option might be a small fan, especially if you are on an outside wall and could vent it directly outside.
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Postby EricL on Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:11 pm

If you have the typical 12" cabinet depth, when you are steaming milk the steam 'should' rise in front. I just examined our 20 year old cabinets, which are particle board on the bases, and where coffee pots have been, there is a rough texture but no real degradation of the strength. Over the Silvia, they are smooth. That's a period of about 8-9 years for the silvia, 20 years for the coffee pots in two different locations. And I would venture a guess that the silvia generates a more steam than a Vetrano, just due to all the flushing and purging of the boiler. Heat may be another issue. Maybe a discussion with your carpenter or cabinet maker would be in order. I'm sure the new kitchen will be a bit nicer than our 1980's original equipment cabinets,
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Postby cbrucecampbell on Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:51 pm

I do a little cabinetry on the side (and my own coffee bar). If you can, just make sure they are made out of better grade plywood - even marine grade. Then the surfacing won't matter as much. A few coats of varathane will be fine. OTOH the composites (MDF, etc...) are prone to fail in damp areas no matter how they are surfaced.

Dunno about heat. Has not been an issue around my coffee bar - yet.
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Postby sweaner on Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:39 pm

Thanks everyone. The cabinets are plywood and a good grade. This is a corner cabinet, so it is deeper than 12".
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Postby jdefontes on Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:08 pm

Our kitchen has cheap mdf cabinets from Ikea. A year or so of having Silvia on pretty much all of the time has totally ruined the door on the cabinet above the machine. The finish is cracking off and the "wood" is clearly swelling. At this point we're just going to leave it until we move out (which will hopefully be soon) since I don't see any way of protecting against the same thing happening if we replace the door. Moving Silvia is not an option due to space constraints. You get what you pay for I guess.
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Postby keepitsimple on Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:37 am

Hi

Are you still in the planning/design stages of your kitchen ? If so, and you've got the opportunity, you might think about raising the cabinets above where you intend to place the machine. If you can do so, it largely eliminates any heat/steam issues.

I refitted my kitchen a couple of years ago, and designed this into it, along with dedicated water/power/drainage.

I also chose aluminium/glass fronted cabinets above the coffee area, but this was more for aesthetics than anything else. Also the cabinet above the coffee area has a glass base with integrated lighting.

It works out very well.

(Apologies for the very poor picture quality)

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Postby sweaner on Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:49 am

Rob, an excellent idea, but the designer (wife) would have none of it!
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Postby keepitsimple on Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:31 pm

aaaah

The advantages of being your own specifier/designer/contractor, with nobody else to have to please :D
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