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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ - General

Q:  What are your standard leadtimes?
A:  Custom thermofoil Products: 6 business days for standard products, glazed products require a 10 business day leadtime.
Portabella Series: 10 days
Spectrum Series: 8-10 working days
Wood Doors: 5-7 working days
Furniture & Fixtures / Surfaces: 3 weeks
Q:  What is your warranty?
A:  Thermofoil Warranty
Thermofoil components manufactured by Northern Contours are warranted against defects occurring in the manufacturing process and delamination or surface discoloration for five years from the date of original installation. Products produced outside our normal specifications may not be covered by our warranty.
View Thermofoil Warranty certificate

Spectrum Series (Veneer Slab Doors) Warranty
Northern Contours warrants all Spectrum Series doors, drawer fronts, frames and mullions (unless otherwise noted) against delamination, warping, twist, swelling and other manufacturing defects for the period of five years after the date of sale. This warranty assumes the following:

  • Natural variation in the color, texture or grain of the wood is not considered a defect and is not replaceable under this warranty.
  • Proper care and handling must be exercised. Abusive handling of products is not covered.
  • We cannot warrant against abnormal heat, humidity, dryness or cold.
  • Poor or improper finishing done by others is not covered.
  • Warranty covers the repair or replacement of the product only and our liability under this warranty will not exceed the invoiced amount of the products.
View Spectrum Series Warranty certificate

Custom Wood Door with Veneer Center Panels Warranty
Northern Contours warrants all doors, drawer fronts and accessory items (unless otherwise noted) against de-lamination, warping, twist, swelling and other manufacturing defects for the period of one year after the date of sale. This warranty assumes the following:
• Proper care and handling must be exercised. Abusive handling of products is not covered.
• We cannot warrant against abnormal heat, humidity, dryness or cold.

Q:  What types of electronic files will you accept for review?
A:  In order to quote a project we prefer AutoCAD or PDF files. In some cases, we can convert additional file formats.
Q:  What is Membrane Pressing?
A:  Membrane Pressing is the process of applying vinyl films or wood veneers to
three-dimensional surfaces.
Q: What is Melamine? 
  Melamine is a paper product that is saturated with resins to make it durable. It is applied to the backside of the MDF board that we use for our thermofoil 1-piece components. White melamine backs are standard on our door and drawer fronts. Black melamine is standard on Surfaces. Matching melamine backs are available in many of our thermofoils. See Thermofoil Product Guide for additional information on our matching melamine backs.
Q: What is MDF?
A: Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a panel product manufactured from wood fibers combined with a synthetic resin.

FAQ - Wood & Veneer

Q:  What is Veneer?
A:  Veneer is wood in the form of a thin layer or sheet with the grain direction of the wood parallel to the surface.
Q:  What are the benefits of using veneer center panels?
A:  Veneer insert panels give cabinet manufacturers a raised panel that is consistent in color and grain. Not only are these components an efficient use of today’s wood resources, they also eliminate panel expansion and contraction, reducing the splitting, cracking and rattling issues that can develop with hardwood inserts. This makes veneer panels ideal for applications in extreme conditions – hot, cold, dry, or moist environments – where the problems of chipping and cracking associated with hardwood panels are particularly severe. Further, veneer panels arrive sanded and ready to finish. By outsourcing panels, manufacturers can build more doors with the same labor and equipment.


FAQ - Thermofoil

Q:  What is Thermofoil?
A:  Rigid thermofoil or RTF is made from PVC and can be custom blended to provide a wide variety of specific properties. Rigid thermofoils are formulated specifically for 3D forming (membrane pressing). They are durable, printable and coatable.
Q:  What are my size minimums and maximums?
A:  Single component size can range from a minimum of 10” x 10” to a maximum of 47” x 96” without any seams. If larger items are required, we can manufacture those using combinations of different profiles to achieve a nice seam. The size minimums and maximums on our specific door styles are listed in our product catalogs.
Q:  Does Northern Contours offer hinge boring?
A:  Hinge boring is available for an additional charge. See our Downloads page for more information.
Q:  What are the cleaning/care suggestions for thermofoil?
A:  View our Thermofoil Care and Cleaning Guide
Q:  Is thermofoil “scratch-proof”?
A:  Most thermofoil has a thin urethane or acrylic coating that gives you mark and scratch resistance. thermofoil is water resistant, very impact resistant and won’t chip or crack.
Q:  What board thicknesses are available?
A:  The standard door and drawer front thickness is 3/4”. Furniture and Fixtures Surface components are available in 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, 1”, 1 1/8”, 30mm, or 1 1/2” board.
Q:  What thickness is the film being used?
A:  Film thicknesses range from 6mil to 40mil.
Q:  How many different thermofoils do you offer?
A:  Northern Contours stocks over 80 different thermofoil options in a variety of solids, woodgrains and high glosses. While our stock program continues to grow, so does those of our vendors. A variety of thermofoils are available in small rolls. Please contact us for more details.
Q:  Can I get custom thermofoil colors?
A:  We can arrange a custom color match, although minimum order quantities will apply. Consult your salesperson for details and options.
Q:  What is the glazing process?
A:  Trained craftsmen manually apply the glazed finish and a topcoat on select thermofoil components.
Q:  What glaze colors do you offer?
A:  We currently offer White, Caramel, Walnut, Mocha and Charcoal glazes. They are available by product series as follows:
  • Glazed Series: choice of White, Walnut and Charcoal glaze on select thermofoils.
  • Portabella French Miter: Mocha glaze only.
  • Portabella Traditional Miter Summerflame: Walnut glaze only.
  • Portabella Traditional Miter Bisque: Caramel glaze only.

FAQ - Surfaces

Q:  Can I use Surface components for kitchen or break areas?
A:  Yes and No. These Surfaces work great for break room tables but are not made for preparation areas where knives or hot pans are used. The Surfaces have a working temperature of approximately 160 to 170 degrees.
Q:  Is there a size limit on Surfaces parts?
A:  Due to the manufacturing process, single parts cannot be larger than 47" x 96".

Q:  If a change occurs, can a part be cut down in the field?
A:  Yes. Be sure to use a sharp blade. Also, taping the surface prior to cutting helps eliminate chipping. Keep in mind that MDF is not water resistant and excessive exposure to the raw edge after cutting may cause the core to swell. Let us know if you have questions or need assistance with cutting your part. However, please note that cutting down the surfaces will void the Northern Contours warranty.
Q:  Can I modify a radius or profile location on one of the standard part drawings?
A:  No. These parts are standardized and available in the exact design shown in the range of dimensions listed. This reduces production time, creating a cost savings that we in turn pass on to you and your customer. We do however have a part number (NCS-CUSTOM) which allows you to draw a customized part.
Q:  What do I do if the part requires grommet holes?
A:  To install a grommet, purchase a plastic grommet, apply masking tape over the area to be cut and use a hole saw to cut a hole that is slightly oversized from the grommet cylinder. The lip of the grommet should cover any chipping that might occur. If a dull hole saw is used, scoring the surface laminate with a knife blade will help prevent chipping.
Q:  How does thermofoil compare to High Pressure Laminate/or solid surfacing?
A:  Rigid thermofoil is a 3D laminate meaning it can be pressed around complex corners and in thru holes. HPL is only 2D and cannot be formed in a 3rd dimension which requires the use of edgebanding. Solid surfacing is more expensive per square foot and is more scratch/mar prone than thermofoil. Contact your sales representative for more information or testing results.
Q:  Do I have to order to the nearest 1”?
A:  No, you can order by any dimension necessary. We just ask you order in decimal inches, not millimeters. Please note, the standard tolerances are + or – 1/16”.
Q:  Will coffee or mustard stain these table tops?
A:  Not with most of the finishes. Some foil topcoats are formulated to resist such stains. For more specific information, please contact your salesperson or our offices directly.
Q:  I plan to use under-mount keyboard trays. How can I figure out the radius size to determine if I will have enough clearance to access the keyboard tray?
A:  There is a simple formula in the Notes section on each part drawing that explains how to calculate certain dimensions. It also gives you rules for minimum dimensions.
Q:  Do I have to order 24”x30” deep parts?
A:  You can order whatever depth or width you choose (within the size parameters listed on the individual part prints.) The program's intent is to meet the needs of you and your customer. For example, you can order a straight in a 12" width for shelving or as a transaction surface.
Q:  Can a High Pressure Laminate or Pantone color be matched in thermofoil?
A:  The simple answer is yes. Our sales team can help you to source the colors and prints you need. A growing number of matches are readily available. We can also arrange a custom color match, but be warned that the minimum order quantity for custom orders is fairly high. Consult your salesperson for details and options.
Q:  Can I order drawer and door fronts that match my Surfaces?
A:  Yes. We have a complete line of custom doors for all your storage areas. Please contact your salesperson for details.
Q:  Do you offer machining for and installation of threaded inserts?
A:  Yes. We have dedicated tools to drill 10-32, ¼-20, 10-24 and 3/8-16 threaded inserts. We also stock those inserts in a couple of lengths and install them for a fee.
Q:  Do you have the ability to press back bevels?
A:  Yes, We can press a back bevel up to 60 degrees.
Q:  Why does the radius on a corner or along an edge change with different thicknesses?
A:  A thicker part means that more film is affected by the stretching forces required to get the film from the top of the part down to the melamine surface. More material is coming together at the corner and must go somewhere. A great example is to lay a table cloth over a rectangular table. Try to get the table cloth smooth around the corner, you can’t. You need to fold the table cloth at the corner. Film isn’t as severe as it stretches but there is still an excess of material on the corner.
Q:  Why can’t cutouts have a 90 degree angle?
A:  Components are machined using a CNC router, which uses tools that must spin to cut and shape the MDF.  That means that CNC tools are roughly cylindrical in shape.  Inside corner radius are limited to the CNC tools radius dimension.

FAQ - Packaging & Shipping

Q:  How do you package and ship orders?
A:  Northern Contours will follow customer specific packaging parameters where required. If specific packaging specifications do not exist, Northern Contours can use any of its standard packaging options. Below is a list of the standard packaging and shipping options Northern Contours offers:
  1. Down stacking - We down stack the doors and drawers directly onto the pallet with our thin white foam in between each piece. Then, the pallet is wrapped in corrugated cardboard, shrink wrapped and strapped to the pallet and shipped LTL carrier.
  2. Crate boxed - Doors and drawers are placed directly into a box with foam in between each piece. The doors can also be bundle wrapped and set into the box. A lid is put on top and the crate box is strapped to the pallet and shipped LTL carrier.

  3. Bundlewrap - Doors and drawers are bundled 3 to 4 at a time with foam in between each piece and then put on a pallet or in a crate box. Then the bundles are wrapped in cardboard and corners and strapped to a pallet and shipped LTL carrier.

  4. Boxed/Downstacked - Doors and drawers are boxed with 3 to 6 pieces in each box, depending on their size. Then, the boxes are stacked and strapped on a pallet to ship LTL carrier. Each box is labeled with the customer name and PO number.

  5. UPS / Fed-Ex Ground - Doors and drawers are boxed 2 to 6 pieces depending on size and shipped thru either UPS OR Fed-Ex ground. Each box is labeled with customer name and PO number.