How To Paint Cabinet Doors

The secret to painting Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors:

Primer and preparation are the secret formula that will allow you to achieve the painted look a painting professional will admire.
I recommend using Latex primer and paint on cabinet doors and any painted wood products that will be kept indoors. The cleanup is easier, it doesn't smell as bad, and it's not harmful to people, pets, or the environment.

It's human nature to anxiously rush toward the final paint coat, but this is one of those tasks where rushing will produce disappointing results. Just take the time to follow this process and you will get a result that will please you, and your friends.

Now, lets get started by working through the process step-by-step.
Lay the door on a flat surface and lightly sand the door with a flexible-foam sanding sponge (I like the 3M sanding block sponges best) or 220-grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand "with the wood grain" on the front, back, and sides.

Remove any residual grit with a clean cloth (tack cloth is best) or a vacuum.

Next comes what is probably the most important step in the entire process. Sealing and priming the wood.
The priming coat, is also called a sealing coat, or a Sealing indicating coat. These are essentially the same thing. It's purpose is to seal the wood so that the final paint will adhere evenly and also make it easy to spot uneven areas in the wood while it's still easy to correct the blemish. Primer can be applied by brush or roller. I like to use a roller for the bigger areas followed by a good quality brush for smoothing and painting the finer details on the cabinet doors. You won't need the $25 brush but don't but the $1 brush either. Expect to pay $6-$10 for a good, fine-bristle brush. Try not to get paint all over the brush, dipping only about 1/2" to 1" into the paint is best. Also, between coats you can place the brush in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out, and avoid cleaning it until the end of each day.
Any hardware or paint store will have a wide selection of sealer/primer and paint for your replacement cabinet doors. Be sure and match the primer with the paint you plan to use. If you are going to use latex (water based) paint, use a latex primer. If using an oil based paint, use an oil based primer. Also try to use a primer with a drying time of 30 minutes or less. White primer works best because it will show the uneven areas of the door better. This allows you to spot (and correct) the areas that need filling before painting.
Once the first coat of primer is dry you will be able to see some small, uneven areas, scratches, or dents in the wood. Now it's time for the filler.

This is the most important step in obtaining that perfect painted finish.
All hardwoods have voids, which cannot be seen until it is primed. I use a filler to fill all of these spots. The two types of filler I've used with success are Bondo 907 Glazing and Spot Putty and Elmer's Wood Filler Max White. The Bondo putty works best, mainly because it is an orange color than makes it easier to see where you have filled. The Elmer's is white. Fillers must be sanded smooth after drying and then sealed with primer before painting to prevent the color from bleeding through.
After filling, sand the filled areas (use the 3M sponge to keep your fingers from sanding dips in the filled areas), wipe the dust off, and apply one last primer coat.
When the primer has dried, give the doors a light sanding and wipe them clean of any dust. If the final inspection doesn't show any unfilled scratches or small voids, you are ready to paint.

Painting is actually the easiest phase of the project. But without going through the priming-sanding-filling-priming process, there would be little chance of obtaining truly great painted kitchen cabinet doors.
Using the same roller (for the large areas) and paint brush (to smooth and paint the smaller and detailed areas) technique used in the primer step, apply your paint to the doors.
There is no need to sand between paint coats but it is a good idea to clean the brush between coats to prevent any dried paint from working its way into your finish.
Although the finish may look good after one coat of paint, two coats are normally applied to assure durability of the finish. Just follow the directions on your paint (and primer) and follow the drying time recommendations.


Here is a link to additional Paint-Grade finishing information.


and some thoughts on staining cabinet doors… 

Good luck with your kitchen project and if you run into any questions please visit CabinetDoors.Com,  or call and we'll be happy to help.

Cabinet Doors 101: measure openings, install hinges, hanging and alignment.

Search

CabinetDoors.Com is proud to have an A+ BBB Rating

Your Cart
Cart is empty
Customer Reviews

Your Youtube videos are outstanding. You made measuring and hanging my new doors a snap. Thank you. Jen A.

I ordered new cabinet doors for my upper cabinets in my kitchen. They needed to match the bottom doors. Thanks to your very knowledgeable staff, I got perfect doors--the grain matched, the trim matched, and the hardware is outstanding. I am delighted and would recommend this company without reservation. Thank you for an outstanding product. Madge S.

My order of cabinet doors was delivered today, and I could not be more pleased. They are BEAUTIFUL. Thank you so much for making a great product.Stacy K.

I'm a home re-modeling handyman and I just finished a kitchen remodel using your Shaker Doors. This was my first order from you and the sizes and overall quality are much better than my prior supplier. You helped my make my customer very happy.Mike B.

This was my 4th kitchen re-model with your cabinet doors and, just like before, the doors were perfect. The workmanship is top notch and the sanding was exceptional. My 5th kitchen job is scheduled for August and I'll be ordering from you again. You make a great door.Kent's Kitchens

We ordered replacement doors for our 60-year-old home and were very pleased with the product. The milling was of the highest quality. The joinery was very well done, and the wood selection was obviously done by a professional who cares what the finished product looks like. It is one thing to assemble a project with technical skill, and another thing entirely to accomplish the assembly with an eye toward bringing the best out of the wood being used. Both aspects were accomplished, and at a very high level! The dimensions were absolutely perfect. Each door was correctly dimensioned to within less than 1/16 of an inch. It was very pleasing to see this attention to detail, especially since I took the time to measure my cabinets twice, making sure I had done my part. I had never worked with white birch before, and when I saw the issues with staining the wood (soft grain with blotchy absorption of the stain) I was a bit worried. I had no problems at all because the wood was of a higher quality white birch that had been properly handled at the mill and sanded to a stain-ready finish. A good sanding sealer was applied, and then the stain. The results were EXCELLENT! All-in-all, we received a great product, great advice and excellent customer service from CabinetDoors.com. We would certainly recommend them to anyone looking for cabinet doors. Nice job, everyone! Michael R.

The doors arrived today and fit perfectly. Thank you very much. I will be ordering the remaining 18 doors and 6 drawer fronts in the next couple of months. Walter W.

I remodel kitchens for a living and I can only say...I wish I had found you sooner. These are the overall BEST cabinet Doors I have ever installed. Excellent quality and workmanship. Jake A.

Your cabinet doors are much higher quality than the doors that were installed by our home builder. There is really no comparison, you make a GREAT product. Al N.

The contractor remodeling our kitchen was so impressed with the doors we ordered from your website that he is going to use your doors for all his future jobs. Marcia N.

Your cabinet doors, and the finishing tips in your blog, made my kitchen remodel look GREAT. I recommend your doors to everyone. Kay H.

Hi, I have received my 1 door, and I feel like I received the same quality service and product as if it were 50 doors. I am very pleased with a beautiful door delivered as promised. Thanks, David H.

Although I haven't bought the cabinet doors for my kitchen remodeling project yet, I will be making my purchase from cabinetdoors.com. Your site, and especially your Blog, has more useful information than I've found anywhere else on the internet. The information you provide is exceptional and you have helped to give me the confidence to take-on this project. Nancie D.

We took your advice and ordered the smallest door in our kitchen to see your quality...which is absolutely great...Now we are ordering the rest of the kitchen and bath doors. Don & Barb B.

These cabinet doors are PERFECT! Super high quality and right-on size. Harry D.

So glad we remodeled our kitchen with your doors, instead of doors from the hardware chain. You saved us over 35%. The doors arrived in 12 days, (including 4 Fedex shipping days). The hardware chain quoted 28 days, and your quality is far better than their samples. Mark H.

These doors are EXCELLENT! In quality and workmanship and value. Very glad we found you. James L.

A friend put me onto your website and I can't thank her enough. You make an excellent product and I'm completely happy with everything about my purchase. Paula B.

I am very satisfied with these doors. The quality is GREAT!. Alex D.

Very nice cabinet doors, the color matching and the sizes are right-on. Paul L.

Your customer service is fantastic. Somehow you spotted an error I made on my order (I reversed width and height on one door) and called me to ask if the size was correct. Your attention to detail prevented me from ordering one of my doors wrong. Thank you so much. Bryan E.

Shipping Times

Fedex or UPS Shipping time from our factory to you.

Our production time is 7-10 days. Just add shipping to your state for your expected delivery date.

Delivery times

For shipping times to Mexico and Canada Please call.

My Profile
Wood Selection