How to Finish Unfinished Cabinet Doors

Painting Cabvient Doors Green

Being a professional cabinet maker, I’ve had plenty of experience with unfinished wood cupboard doors. There are different applications that apply to various painting or staining methods. In this article, we will outline how to paint and stain different types of wood kitchen doors.

Before purchasing your doors read this article on getting wholesale cabinet doors.

First off, you are going to need plenty of room to work with. For an average kitchen there are generally about thirty five doors and drawer faces. It will be best to have some saw horses set up or large tables to put the doors on while they are drying.

Tools and Materials Needed:

Depending upon what method you will be using to finish the doors, not all of the things on the list will be needed.

Applying Stain to Cabinet Doors

  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Sprayer
  • Wiping Rags
  • Stain
  • Clear-coat
  • Wood Sealer
  • Paint primer
  • 100 Grit Sandpaper
  • 220 Grit Sand-paper
  • Protective Respirator Mask
  • Palm Vibrating Sander
  • Wood Patch/Filler
  • Air Blower of Some Sort

Follow these preliminary steps for painting, staining or just clear coating your cabinet doors.

Preliminary Steps

  1. If the raised panel or flat doors are not already sanded well, start with the 100 grit paper and use the vibrating sander on all areas of the cabinet doors.
  2. Following the 100 grit, now use the 220 grit paper on the entire surface of the doors.
  3. Blow the kitchen doors off really well with your air blowing device.
  4. Fill in any depressions or dings with the wood patch and allow it to completely dry.
  5. Sand the doors again with the 220 grit paper.

Tip: Use your air blower often to keep all dust off of the kitchen cabinet doors during the finishing process.

Painting Unfinished Cabinet Doors

Cabinet Door Paint Drying Racks

Now that you have your cabinet doors sanded and the blemishes filled, it’s time to start painting the unfinished cupboard doors.Make sure you blow off all dust before proceeding to the next few steps. You can even use a soft cloth rag while blowing the dust.

  • Apply the primer to one side of the door and let it completely dry according to the manufactures recommendations.
  • Examine the doors for more blemishes and fill the holes and scratches with yet another application of the wood filler.
  • Hand sand the wood cabinet doors doors using 220 sand paper.
  • Apply a second coat of primer and allow it to dry. If there are additional flaws, fill and hand-sand them out again.
  • Paint on the final coat of primer and let it dry completely. Then, lightly sand the kitchen or bathroom vanity doors again.
  • Apply two to three finish coats of paint to the doors allowing plenty of drying time between coats.

Staining or Clear-coating Unfinished Cabinet Doors

Now that you have your cabinet doors sanded and the blemishes filled, it’s time to start staining and clear-coating the unfinished cupboard doors. You should always work on the backside of the kitchen or bathroom vanity doors first. This will ensure that when you get to the unfinished frontside of the doors, you will already have the system down really well. Review this article for Glazing Kitchen Cabinet Doors.

  • Apply one thin coat of sanding sealer and lightly sand it off with 220 sandpaper.
  • Apply the stain to the doors if you are staining them and wipe it off according the manufactures instructions. Allow the stain plenty of time to dry.
  • Start here if you are not staining the doors. Apply one coat of the clear sanding sealer and allow it to completely dry.
  • Using the 220 grit paper. Gently hand-sand the clear coat wood sealer.
  • Apply a second and third coat of the sanding sealer, repeating the previous step.
  • Spray on two to three coats of your final clear finish allowing plenty of drying time between each coat that is applied to the kitchen cabinet doors.

The main things you should know about painting, staining or clear coating unfinished raised panel cupboard doors is that the preparation work of sanding and filling in all of the flaws is the most important step. If you do not prepare your doors properly they will show all of the flaws that you did not work out of them.

The other things is that you should never rush the process of painting your kitchen cabinet doors. It is vitally important to keep your fingers off of the tacky surfaces and allow them to completely dry prior to handling them.

If you take your time, your unfinished kitchen cupboards will look amazing.

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