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Can I remove the cover of my fridge?

Meredith K
last year

The previous owners redid the kitchen in the late 90’s and covered their bisque fridge with this black plastic cover.

I recently painted the cabinets and the black stands out. I think the bisque color would blend better. I cannot afford a new fridge, but I’m wondering if I can remove this black frame. It is screwed into the side of the fridge door. I’d have to fill it with something.

I’m concerned that if I unscrew the frame I’m opening myself up to unseen problems, but maybe not?

Has anyone seen this type of fridge cover?

Comments (44)

  • millworkman
    last year

    If it were truly added to a bisque refrigerator by a previous homeowner I do not see why it could not be removed. Just remember it it were a Rube Goldberg project to start with it may not be pretty.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last year

    IMO leave it alone it will die soon. I think to add bisque color to that space would not be a good idea.

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  • njmomma
    last year

    I would leave it as is also.

  • Fori
    last year

    You can carefully start unscrewing and see what you get...


    I think it looks fine, though. You have other black things in there.


    It's a neat surface. I would probably be applying window film to it right now, just so see what happens. :)


    Kitchen looks great, by the way.

  • partim
    last year

    My mid-90's fridge is also still going strong. My sister's purchased in 2000 has been replaced twice. Appliances are being built now for obsolescence.

  • Helen
    last year

    Leave it as it is because the black is far better than bisque or whatever is lurking below it.


    My refrigerator last 34 years - it was still working when they hauled it out.


    I could have replaced it but it wouldn't have been a significant upgrade because the space for the refrigerator was small and would have meant a major project in terms of cutting cabinets down - painting etc and I was just holding off until the gut remodel.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    I took it off!

    My kids hate it b/c they think it looks old. I like it and I love having a magnetic surface again.

    We moved here 9 years ago and this fridge has shown no signs of wearing down. We looked for a new fridge over the summer, but decided to wait since we have so many more pressing expenses and it would basically be a cosmetic fix.

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    last year
    last modified: last year

    The fridge had a 'framing trim kit" so you could customize the face of the fridge. They had the same thing for the face of dishwashers so that everything could match in the kitchen.

    If you kept the parts you could have 3 panels made that could actually match your cabinets if you like.









  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Interesting… is this something I could order online or would I have to find someone to make it for me?

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Have new panels made, locally. Any custom wood shop can do it. Anything would be better than the sad bisque color, and sorry, a fridge is NOT really a bulletin board. Buy one of those anywhere, magnet or other: ) and put it in a back hallway. WAH!!!!!!

  • Linda Dornan
    last year

    At least when it was black, the fridge matched the stovetop and what I assume is a trash compactor. Now it just stands out, not in a good way, and doesn’t match anything. I think your kids are right about this one.

  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    last year

    Hate to be negative but I liked the refrigerator before when it had the black cover. As others have said your refrigerator is probably on its last leg and will have to be replaced. When that happens would recommend stainless steel. You can replace other appliances to match as they wear out too. Good luck!

  • millworkman
    last year

    I agree with the others, it looked better black, and see that fridge now feel more certain that the black panel was not a homeowner Rube Goldberg and that the fridge was supposed to have a panel cladding.

  • Jeanne Cardwell
    last year

    Replace the black panel with a white one.

  • Mary Iverson
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Older appliances lasted longer, but they may be less energy efficient than newer.

    Refrigerators can be painted, try chalkboard paint for fun.



    https://www.addicted2decorating.com/how-to-paint-refrigerator.html


    or maybe ombre? stencils??? search on "painted fridge" for creative inspiration.

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Meredith it all depends on how detailed you want to be.

    Do you know the manufacturer of your cabinets? Sometimes they will supply the panels to insert into the frames.

    Another choice is to simply prime and paint the black panels you already have to match the color of the cabinets. They will not have the Shaker details but just have the panels be the same color as the cabinets will be an improvement.

    Another option is to apply peel and stick contact paper if you are lucky enough to find a color that matches your cabinets exactly.



    https://keystonewood.com/products/cabinet-doors-drawer-fronts/appliance-panels/



  • kaseki
    last year

    Let your kids paint it. Meheheheh!

  • susanlynn2012
    last year

    I agree with either putting the black panel back as it did not look bad and looked better than the outdated Bisque. Another option it to prime and paint the black painel to match your cabinets and reinstall it. The refrigerator is old, so I would not buy expensive panels for it and figure out what you want nexts before it dies on you.

  • User
    last year

    I like it and I love having a magnetic surface again.

    I like it too! It's kind of retro. I have a shiny black fridge and hate it, literally any color would be better, so I can see how you would prefer this change even if it looks a little old.

    Since yours has such a flat design, it's kind of perfect for peel-and-stick wallpaper! This fridge might not last too many more years so why not have some fun?

    It doesn't have to be a pattern, you could always go for a solid paper--but that will show flaws more.



  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Can I paint the black plastic? I painted my cabinets cream, not white. Would I be able to find a match?

  • partim
    last year

    I like it too. I think the bisque colour looks fine. "Outdated" is not something that I care about if the colours look good together.

    You can't get to "vintage" (which is apparently good, decorating-wise) without passing through "outdated" (which is apparently very very bad, decorating-wise).

  • User
    last year

    I totally forgot about those panels-- painting or modifying them will be so much easier, and then all you need to do is re-attach them!

    I'm sure you could paint it if you used spray enamel. Finding a perfect match might be hard. Sand and prime the panels first. You will want to be extremely careful with magnets after, so you don't scratch it.

    Some people use chalk paint, but IDK how well that will adhere to plastic in the long run.

    One other option is peel-and-stick stainless wrap. I think it's perfectly fine to have mixed stainless and black appliances in the same kitchen, both are quite neutral.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Okay, so I went to Home Depot tonight to pick up some more Christmas lights, and wandered over to the wood and molding section to see how easy it would be for me to make the paneling.
    I don’t think I could do a good job.

    Furthermore, I tossed some of the black cover and frame in the garage a few days ago. I could get them out of the trash, but it’s unlikely I’d get it all.

    I wouldn’t mind painting the fridge to match the cabinets. Does that look tacky though? The fridge, because it’s old, is that textured feel, it’s not smooth.

    I know a lot of people on here preferred the black. I can understand that. I’m so glad it’s gone though. I’ve hated it for the 9 years I’ve lived here.

    My husband and I went fridge shopping over the summer and decided to wait. It’s on a very long list of things we would like to do, but there are more pressing things we need to budget for first.

  • Mary Iverson
    last year

    A painted fridge looks fine as long as you don't expect a Candy Apple Sparkle finish. Consider something rustic or fun. If you don't like it or it gets scratched up, just repaint it.




    Dying fridges give warning signs: noises, water drips, or lack of temperature control. There are ALWAYS working fridges to be found through Craigslist, Habitat Restore, or your local grapevine if need be.

  • Kate
    last year

    We just went to a local metal shop and had stainless sheet cut to our measurements. Worked out great and no terribly expensive. That was for our 20 year old frig, it was a subzero. It was much less than going to the manufacturer for replacement panels.

  • dadoes
    last year

    Refrigerators from 20+ years ago can run a long time compared to one bought today. My parents' is 27 years, no trouble except once the ice maker. I have one 25 years, no repairs. My grandmother's bought in 1983 was still running 30 years later when she died, had one simple repair done by me, it sold with the house. A family friend has one from the late 1970s or early 1980s running as a garage-fridge.

    The OP's is a Hotpoint which is a GE brand, or was at that time. A local auto dealership has a GE SxS of similar vintage (with ice/water dispensing, which GE introduced in 1969) in their customer waiting area. I've seen it at each my service visits over the past 9 years.

  • partim
    last year

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • arcy_gw
    last year

    Sooo true dadoes but 20 years might not be old enough!! Neighbors got an old 'fridge from her parents when they married 45 years ago. It's still going strong in their basement as a second for high volume times. Upstairs they get new ones every five years now. All the energy efficiency things they put on appliances these days makes them wear out within 5-7 years we were told by the appliance sales person. We are saving electricity but filling our landfills!!!!!

  • dadoes
    last year

    The OP can cite the model and serial of her refrigerator if she wants to know the age more precisely. Serial numbers are coded for the date (typically month and year) of manufacture. Manufacturers repeat the coding on recurring cycles so a guess of the general timeframe based on aesthetics is usually required.

  • User
    last year

    I think a painted fridge would be just fine. Patch the holes with bondo first.

    Mary makes a good point that there are always good fridges to be found. So many people move into new houses and then replace perfectly good appliances just because they don't like the style. My mom had a really hard time selling a relatively new stainless steel fridge a few years ago. It was a really nice fridge, she only rejected it because she hated side-by-side models. She wound up having to give it away for free. Check facebook marketplace or habitat for humanity. You might luck out! It could be easier than trying to make your old fridge look pretty.

    Another argument for finding a secondhand newer fridge is that it will likely be way more energy efficient.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Thank you all!
    I think I’d like to paint it. I started googling. It looks like chalk paint isn’t self leveling. Idk where to begin on this. Can I roll? Do I have to take the doors off?
    Is there a certain brand of appliance paint that’s best?
    Can I get it in the BM shade that I painted my cabinets?

  • dadoes
    last year

    New refrigerators aren't always magnitudes more efficient over a 20yo to the extent that is commonly believed. The largest power-draw is during defrost, running the heating element that melts the frost. Electronic control boards attempt to limit defrost cycles by monitoring variables that contribute to frost accumulation such as how often and for how long the doors are opened vs. "old" designs with timed defrost that runs on a fixed cycle of every X-hrs. Some mid- and higher-end models have variable speed compressors that run at lower speeds for longer periods of time (nearly to the extent of running continuously except during defrost) and draw a lower continuous power level doing so ... but that sometimes garners complaints about continuous operational sounds and "my refrigerator runs all the time, the old one didn't." It also involves more electronics than older models which can lead to more-frequent and more-costly repairs. As always, YMMV.

  • Mrs. S
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I've read most of the replies. I do not dislike the bisque color. I have always liked cream and white or shades of off-white together.

    I read almost all the replies, but seriously, you can get free refrigerators if you poke around enough on Offerup and Craigslist. You may have to pay someone to move it in for you, and haul away the other one. I would just put my energies towards getting a used frig you like and that works in your space.

    Side note: our double oven was very old (20+years) and started to go on the blink, and I found a used, but newer version in stainless steel (which looks a lot better in our kitchen) and the measurements were exactly the same as our old double oven. I still can't believe I got a new oven for a couple hundred bucks. In fact, it did cost more to have a guy install it and haul away the old, but totally worth it.

  • Mary Iverson
    last year

    Foam rollers work well for large flat surfaces. You don't *have to remove the doors.

    You could get paint matched to your pretty backsplash ;-)


    I use Floetrol additive (you don't need much) to help with self levelling and provide more time to work the paint into textures, but ask the paint retailer what would work best.


    There are many ways to paint a fridge, here is one video with details.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxNIGqYlQUI&t=494s





    Paint Color: Dutch Boy brand, Montpelier Green 130-4DB

  • User
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I honestly don't know why chalk paint became the recommended medium for painting furniture. It's just a water based paint, like latex and acrylic. The super matte surface would show oily smudges where you touch it often (like around the handles). In my experience, it's really difficult to clean off oil stains w/o messing up the matte texture and leaving permanent marks.

    Meredith K, I'd look into using the same paint used for your cabinets, in a satin finish so it's easy to wipe down. Sand the fridge really well to give the paint something to adhere to, and use a good primer. Go to the same store that provided your cabinet paint and ask for the right materials, including a good, smooth cabinet roller brush.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks!
    I will paint it. I used Renner 1k paint on my cabinets (highly recommend! They came out amazing!), but I think it’s strictly a wood coating.

    It looks like BM Ultra Spec might be the way to go?

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Also, I figured out how old my fridge is.

    1988 and still going strong!

  • User
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I think it’s strictly a wood coating.

    paint is paint. Renner is water based so it will be fine.* sand the surface to give it "grip" and then use a good primer. (enamel would be better for plastic surfaces, but you expressed the desire to match your cabinets and be able to roll it on with a brush. it will be fine.)

    *(some chemicals may melt some kinds of plastics, but water based paint will not.)

  • Alicia
    last year

    My in-laws have a fridge from the 1950’s in their cabin. I don’t think you need to replace it until it gives you trouble, just because it’s old.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Went to the paint store… they recommend Stix primer and I can use my Renner topcoat.

  • dan1888
    last year

    Congrats. I agree.

  • Mrs. S
    last year

    Wow, it looks really nice in the photos. Will you promise to come back and let us know how it holds up?

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last year

    Yes! I primed with Stix and then used the leftover Renner that I had used on the cabinets. For prep I just cleaned with a green sponge and a mix of water and Dawn. The fridge was in excellent shape as it had had a black plastic cover over it since 1988.