Paint Grade Cabinet Doors

Painted Cabinet Doors

Paint Grade Cabinet Door

If you're thinking about installing painted cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom you want to make sure you're buying paint grade cabinet doors.  Many homeowners today love the look of painting cabinet doors in styles like the ever popular shaker cabinet door style.  Painting kitchen doors in your home lightens up your kitchen to make it feel brighter and more spacious. 

This page is to help you learn about which woods are best for painted cabinet doors, how to measure for them, and how to order them from our site.  Each of our cabinet door styles are availabe in paint grade wood so you are able to get the style you want.

Most Popular Wood For Paint Grade Cabinet Doors

Having fabricated many tens of thousands of cabinet doors we have a lot of experience working with all types of wood.  There are types of wood which paint well, and others which aren’t a good surface to be painted.  Read below to get a better understanding of which woods you should choose for your cabinet doors if you plan on painting them.

Tight Grain Woods Are Best

Professional cabinet makers know that the best woods for painting are those that have tight grain.  This means that hard maple, poplar, birch, alder, pine, and MDF, are all great options when considering painting your cabinet doors.

Cost Of Tight Grain Woods

If you’re considering which woods are best to paint you’re also likely wanting to get the best deal on your doors.  The cost of woods range in order from cheapest to most expensive as: poplar, soft maple, alder, pine, birch, and hard maple.  While poplar is the cheapest birch wood is popular and even used to fabricate pull out shelves.

Oak Doesn’t Paint Well

If you’re considering painting your cabinet doors oak isn’t a very good option as it is open grain.  When left with no other option oak grain can be filled in with bondo or drywall putty to create a smooth surface for the paint to applied to.

Best woods For Paint Grade Kitchen Cabinet Doors

While opinions might vary some there is generally a consensus about which woods are best for kitchen cabinet doors.  Read more about each wood to discover which is best for your paint grade kitchen cabinet doors. 

Poplar wood

For many years poplar wood has been the top choice for paint grade furniture projects.  While poplar does take a little more work than soft maple to work, it is less costly.  One challenge with poplar is the tendency to fuzz up during sanding.  If you choose poplar wood for your kitchen cabinet doors you plan to paint, make sure it is completely clean before applying paint.  Poplar does absorb more sealer and paint than other harder wood species, so don’t be surprised while painting.

Soft Maple

Soft maple also a very popular choice for paint grade kitchen cabinet doors.  It is also a low cost wood type which is easier to work than Alder and doesn’t fuzz during sanding like poplar.  It also is better for paint grade doors as it doesn’t show the grain through the paint, like pine has a tendency to do.  Soft maple is also a good wood for paint grade doors as it sands faster than alder.


Alder is suitable for making paint grade cabinet doors, but does absorb more primer and paint than other options. The cost of alder varies by location as it is grown and harvested in the northwest.  When purchasing cabinet doors from our company the price is the same for the doors no matter where you live.


Pine for cabinet doors and furniture is different than the pine used for 2x4’s and 2x6’s.  While the wood comes from the same trees, the pine used in framing isn’t typically kiln dried to 7-9% moisture content needed for furniture.  Pine is a plentiful and common wood found in cabinet doors and many other furniture applications and does accept paint well.  The main drawback is the tendency for the knots and grain to “telegraph” through paint and show in the finish.


Birch is a great option for kitchens that get a lot of use, or families that have younger children.  It is tougher than poplar, soft maple, alder, and pine.  This means it will weather the use and abuse that’s common in family kitchens.  It will cost a little more but will last longer, be more durable, and require less sealer, primer, or paint.

Hard Maple

Hard maple is without a doubt the best wood for paint grade cabinet doors, and the most expensive.  It is incredibly strong and will resist denting in busy family kitchens.  This will help prevent chipping and cracking of the paint layer.  They will simply last longer and look better.  The cost of hard maple is about 2.5 times the cost of soft maple, so it is an investment in quality. 

MDF (medium density fiberboard)

We use MDF for panels in all of our paint grade cabinet doors.  MDF paints well and is resistant to expansion from moisture variations.  While formaldehyde is used in the creation of MDF, there is a slight potential for resin emissions.

Best Practices When Painting Cabinet Doors

No matter which type of wood you choose for your cabinet doors the follow tips will help you get the best look. 

  • Preparation before painting is key – The rule is “prep prep prep” and every hour you dedicate to prep will save you two hours having to repaint your cabinet doors.
  • Follow the “5-F Rule” – The 5-F Rule is “Fine Finishers Finish Firewood First”.  This is a rule that means you should test and practice your finishing skills on scrap wood or firewood before moving onto cabinet doors you’ve bought online.
  • Sharp edges don’t hold paint – Before you paint you should knock down any sharp edges with some fine sandpaper.  The sharp edges don’t hold paint and will end up being potential areas for chips and might allow moisture to seep into your wooden doors.
  • All wood reacts to humidity – No matter where you live there is fluctuations in humidity and all wood types react to it.  That means that while paint will slow the amount the doors expand and contract there is no such thing as a totally moisture-proof door.  Dried paint doesn’t have elasticity and will eventually crack as the wood under it expands and contracts.
  • The hardness of the wood matters – Softer woods dent more easily when hit and kitchens are one of the most used and busy rooms in the house.  A pot or pan that’s accidentally bumped into a painted cabinet door that’s made of softer wood is more likely to dent.  While the dent may be minor the dried paint will crack fairly easily if the wood is dented.  No matter what wood you choose the weakest link is always the cabinet door’s paint.
  • Professional look takes practice – Most people wanting to have painted cabinet doors want that perfect mirror like finish that you’d see on a piano.  This high gloss finish is a skill that’s learned and typically applied by a experienced painting professional in a dust-free spray booth.  While you can get an excellent finish at home it won’t be in your driveway with a brush.  Getting that fine finish doesn’t come from a can of spray paint.  For homeowners to get that high gloss look it takes a spray painting system that is airless or uses compressed air.

Ordering Your Paint Grade Cabinet Doors

If you’re ready to install a new kitchen and need cabinet doors, or you are looking for replacement cabinet doors we can help! offers over 300 styles of cabinet doors which can be ordered as paint-grade.  We hope that you’ve learned which woods will fit your home, your needs, and your budget best when considered which paint grade cabinet doors to order for your kitchen or bathroom.

Finding, Ordering online, and finishing Replacement Cabinet Doors

How to choose between Replacement Cabinet Doors

Cabinet doors are available from a wide variety of sources that include big box hardware stores like Home Depot to small home garage cabinet shops and cabinet door factories.  Cabinet door factories buy the wood cheaper, use better wood working equipment, and can offer much better pricing as they typically only sell in bulk. breaks that mold by offering the same wholesale pricing access to homeownners and distributors alike.  

The reason for not offering to sell direct to the consumer in the past was cost. It was less costly to sell only in large volume and direct to builders and cabinet shops than to the end user.  With ever improving websites and shopping carts it has become possible allow individual homeowners access to place their orders directly with our factory.  This effectively cuts out the middle man, retail prices, and big box stores with their inflated costs.  In addition to giving homeowners and contractors access to small order placements we offer hundreds of styles.  Local hardware stores might only carry a dozen styles for your to choose from. 

The reason for the limited selection at the big-box stores is simple; they just don't want to stock the inventory required to offer hundreds of styles, so they only offer a few.  Next comes the question of price.  The retail store will order the cabinet doors from the manufacturer. Then he adds his costs for delivery, store space, salesman salary, and profit.  The manufacturer only needs to cover his increased costs for operating on the internet and for the smaller average order size.

The manufacturers motivation is that maintaining a website is far less expensive than maintaining a huge retail store and employing a few computer programmers is less expensive than a large sales staff 16 hours per day.  Once setup and operating the website continues to operate with very little added cost to the manufacturer.  Because of these cost savings the web manufacturer is able to offer a much greater selection, at a lower retail price, and with a shorted deliver time.

Click here to check our our Most Popular Replacement Cabinet Door styles.