Guide to Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors

When searching for cabinet doors, you want a look that will complete your home and vision for your space. Sometimes, when searching through the various finishes and paint colors that are available, you may not feel inspired or satisfied by your options. Fortunately, you have the option to purchase quality, unfinished paint grade cabinet doors that are perfect for painting on your own.

Buying paint grade cabinet doors is a great solution for the homeowner or contractor who wants more flexibility in customizing their cabinet doors. At, we offer each of our cabinet door styles in paint grade.

What Are Paint Grade Cabinet Doors?

Paint grade cabinet doors are cabinet doors made from unfinished, sanded wood that is ready to paint and allows for a smooth, even finish. Professionals ensure the door is well-constructed and sanded in the shop so that you can easily complete the process by painting the doors on your own. With paint grade cabinet doors, you don’t need to perform any prep on the doors themselves before you apply a finish, so you can get started painting right when your doors arrive.

Unfinished paint grade cabinet doors are also a more affordable and cost-effective option since they are often made with wood that has more natural color variations and blemishes. With paint grade kitchen cabinet doors, it’s easy to complete the DIY project of your dreams and create doors that look exactly the way you want at an affordable price. Choosing the best wood for painted kitchen cabinets will ensure you get a finish you’re happy with. 

What's The Best Wood for Paint Grade Cabinet Doors?

When choosing a material for paint grade cabinet doors, you want to choose a wood that will hold paint well. The best wood for painting has a smooth surface, few knots, and tighter grains. Woods typically used by professionals on paint grade cabinets are poplar, soft maple, alder, birch, hard maple, and MDF (medium density fiberboard). Cabinet doors with paint grade woods allow for a smooth, even finish for a strong presentation. The following options make some of the best wood for paint grade cabinet doors:

Paint Grade Poplar Wood

For years, poplar has been the paint grade wood of choice for furniture makers and cabinet shops. Poplar is slightly more labor intensive in the manufacturing process than other options, but it paints well. Poplar tends to be more colorful and may require a stain blocking primer and more paint than soft maple, but the additional coats produce a better finish.

Paint Grade Soft Maple Wood

Soft maple is another wood that is frequently chosen by custom cabinet shops for their paint grade cabinet doors. Like poplar, it is low cost and available throughout most of the country. These woods sand easier than alder and don’t fuzz up during sanding, which results in a very smooth finish. Soft maple also won’t telegraph grain through the paint like pine would.

Medium Density Fiberboard

Medium density fiberboard is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibers, which are then bonded together using adhesive. MDF is used as the panel in recessed panel paint grade cabinet doors and is used as the raised panel in some raised panel doors. MDF paints very well and offers stability and binds well to the frame, preventing the paint from cracking.

Formaldehyde resins are commonly used to bind MDF together, so use at your own risk and do your research to make sure that the chemicals used will not affect you. That said, most cabinet and furniture manufacturers have been using MDF for several decades and the risks of formaldehyde resin emissions, when the products are painted, are considered insignificant.



Top Picks for Paint Grade Cabinet Doors

There are a variety of materials that can be used to make paint grade cabinet doors, and it can be difficult to decide which will be best for your project. Cabinet doors consist of a frame and a panel where the frame is always made from a solid wood, and the panel can vary. Many manufacturers prefer to have an MDF panel while others prefer a solid wood panel to avoid the adhesives used in an MDF.

Due to the stability of the adhesive and the wood fibers in MDF, it is a common top pick for cabinet doors, and is an often-recommended combination. MDF is less likely to shrink, crack and show glue lines than a solid wood panel, making it the better choice.

For those who choose to avoid MDF, poplar, soft maple and hard maple are the most popular options. Poplar offers the least expensive option while hard maple is the most expensive. Ultimately, the choice of wood for your cabinet doors, will come down to budget and individual preference.

Why Choose Paint Grade Cabinet Doors?

When you order custom-built cabinet doors, you have the option to select paint grade cabinet doors or finished doors professionally painted in one of several contemporary Sherwin-Williams conversion varnish colors. Although there are many benefits to buying finished cabinet doors, paint grade cabinet doors offer you a unique chance for creativity and customization. Ultimately, there are several great reasons to choose paint grade cabinet doors.

Cost: Paint grade wood cabinet doors cost less than other options, and when you combine that with the savings you get by replacing just the doors rather than replacing the entire cabinet, new doors turn out to be surprisingly affordable. Paint grade doors are more affordable than other grades since the wood has more room for variation. Because painting will cover up any natural characteristics or blemishes in the wood, manufacturers are allowed more flexibility as the wood does not have to be perfectly uniform. On top of that, when you order paint grade doors and finish them yourself, you don’t have to pay someone else to do that work for you. If you’re looking to make a big impact on a small budget, don’t overlook all the exciting potential of paint grade kitchen cabinet doors.

Creativity: With paint grade cabinet doors, the sky’s the limit in terms of style possibilities and design potential. Paint grade cabinet doors arrive ready for you to finish in literally any color you want. If you like to change things up according to the latest in-home design trends, paint grade cabinets are the way to go. In just a few steps, you can have your ideal cabinets with your own professional looking finish.

Convenience: When it comes to replacing your existing cabinet doors with something fresh and new, the hardest parts are cutting, building, and sanding the doors. Fortunately, paint grade wood cabinet doors come prepared so all you have to do is paint. If you love to take on DIY projects and work on your own home, paint grade cabinet doors make it easy and convenient. Anyone can complete a replacement cabinet door project without needing special equipment or creating a huge mess in their home.

Create Paint Grade Cabinet Doors You’ll Love

Paint grade cabinet doors are the perfect option for anyone who wants to improve the look of their cabinets while adding their own touch. To learn more about paint grade cabinet doors and the options available to you, contact us at When you are ready to make your decision, we invite you to explore our expansive selection of paint grade cabinet doors.

Whether you are looking for paint grade kitchen cabinet doors or bathroom cabinet doors, our selection offers something for everyone and every design aesthetic. If you need any assistance, call us at 800-342-1010, contact us via our website, or e-mail us at We look forward to helping you with your paint grade cabinets today!




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