How to finish Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and get a finish you can be proud of.

June 2014 by Jim Hill

So you just received your new Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and are ready to start painting. Here are a few tips to get an attractive and durable finish on those new doors.

Don’t stress-out about the painting process, even if you are an inexperienced painter.
Painted doors are not like stained doors where a disappointing stained finish can ruin your day. If you don’t like your painted finish just scuff the doors a little by re-sanding and paint them again.

First, unpack the new doors and inspect them front and back for any scratches caused by shifting during shipping. Smooth these scratches with 180-grit sandpaper and brush off the dust with a fine brush. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid making cross-grain scratches on your doors.
The better the prep-sanding the better the painted finish will be so take some time making sure the sanding is as good as you can make it.

Next, lay the cabinet doors flat and either wipe them with a clean cloth or blow them with compressed air to remove the last traces of dust. Laying the doors flat makes paint runs less likely and makes it easier to see your progress from the same angle.

Now the painting process starts. Raw wood needs a primer coat before painting and there are a few primer tips that will be helpful: Always match the primer to the type of paint you plan to use.
If you intend to use water-base (or Latex paint) then use a water base primer and if you are using an oil based paint then use an oil based primer.
In my experience Latex paints have advanced over the past decade to the point where they produce both appearance and dependability equal to their oil based counterparts, especially for indoor applications.
These advancements coupled with the water clean-up and environment-friendly disposal are worth considering when choosing your finishing materials.
While buying your primer and paint, also get a brush or two. You don’t need to buy the $20 super brush, but don’t get the $1 special either. A 2-3″ fine brush should be about $5.
You may also want to buy a small 3-4″ fine roller.

Now for the priming: Lay the doors out flat on some kind of dropcloth. Newspaper works fine for this. It will reduce your anxiety to start with the doors face down. That way you will be finishing the backs first so as you get better at painting your best work will be on the fronts, and your learning experience won’t show.
Use the roller to apply a lite coat of primer to the panel and the inside detail of the stiles and rails. Now use the brush in those deep recesses to get the primer to cover all the machined surfaces. Use the roller again to coat the flat surfaces followed by the brush to give a smooth, even coating. After the primer is dried (follow the drying time instructions on the primer can) sand by hand gently with 220-grit paper, just enough to remove any fibers the primer raised, and to restore the smooth finish. Now turn the door over and repeat on the front.
After the primer is dry and lightly finish sanded, repeat the process with a second coat or primer.

Once the primer is dry you are ready for the paint.
The paint basically follows the same steps as the primer operation. Follow the instructions on your paint can to determine if you should sand between coats or not.
After the paint is dry you are ready to install the hinges.
If you are using hidden hinges, like our Blum Clip-tops, try not to get paint into the 30mm hinge cups. The hinges will be a snug fit into the cups and if you get paint into the holes you may need to sand it out to get the hinges into the cups.

Once you get started you’ll see that the process is really not difficult at all, and you will be able to obtain results that will impress your family and friends.

So, get started and if you haven’t ordered you new Paint Grade cabinet doors yet, now may be the time. has been manufacturing custom cabinet doors for 34 years and we’ve been offering doors on the internet longer than anyone else in the country. We have shipped hundreds of thousands of doors to every region and our customer reviews are a consistent 4+stars.

If you have any questions just visit our website at, our Blog at, or call us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We also have extensive posts, advice, and how-to’s on our Facebook page and our Google+ page.

How a do-it-yourselfer can stain and finish replacement kitchen cabinet doors

Jume 2014 by Jim Hill

There are as many ways to apply a finish to cabinet doors as there are custom cabinet shops, but this post will focus on a method of finishing that can be applied by an amateur woodworker with limited staining or finishing skills.

Airless spray guns and $10,000 dustless spray booths and not required for this method. A beautiful and lasting finish can be produced with one $50 visit to Home Depot or Lowes.

The first step is to consider the region where the red oak used in your cabinet doors was grown. Southern Red Oak will have the widest color variations and Northern Red Oak will be the most uniform in color.

Wide variations in color, which is common in Southern Oaks, will be made to appear even wider if finished with light stains of lacquer only. If attempting to make wide color variations seem less pronounced, a darker stain will help.

Less pronounced color variations are found in the growing regions of Northern Red Oak, with the “Wheat Color” of Glacial Northern Red Oak being the most color uniform.
Cabinet Doors made with Glacial Northern Red Oak can be given a light stain, or even no stain and simply finished with polyurethane with excellent results.

Glacial Northern Red Oak is used exclusively by The Door Stop in all our Select Red Oak Cabinet Doors, and this post will focus upon finishing these doors.

Below are examples of a few cabinet door styles made from Glacial Northern Red Oak and stained with differing amounts of Minwax Golden Oak.

The top row of Cabinet Doors are stained with two coats of Minwax Golden Oak. Each coat was allowed to soak-in for 15 minutes than wiped dry with a clean rag. The first coat was allowed to dry for an additional 6-hours then the second coat was applied.
The bottom row of Cabinet Doors were finished exactly like the top row, with the exception of each coat of stain was wiped off after being allowed to soak-in for only 5-minutes.
Golden Oak, like most wood stains, will provide a darker finish if stain is allowed to soak longer before wiping. It will also provide a darker finish when more coats are applied.

It’s very important to not let any stain dry on the surface, and as stain seeps out of the wood, to keep it wiped off.

After 24 hours 2 coats of Minwax Polyurethane (brush on, not spray) was applied following the instructions on the can. In areas of low humidity, the drying time prior to applying the polyurethane can be shortened to as little as 8-hours between coats.

In the sample pictures above the Maverick Cabinet Door is built in Knotty Northern Red Oak (Knotty Oak). All the other doors are shown in Glacial Northern Red Oak (Select Oak).

Minwax Golden Oak Stain is an Oil Based stain that is easy to use and produces exceptional results. It will provide a rich and even finish when used on cabinet doors manufactured with color-matched oak components.

If you are considering Custom Made Cabinet Doors in Oak, you will not find better color matching, higher quality, or better prices than at The Door Stop. We have been offering our products on the internet longer than any other cabinet door manufacturer,

Visit our website at and get instant pricing, including shipping costs on any of the hundreds of door styles we make. We are America’s supplier of Custom Cabinet Doors!