Kitchen Cabinet Painting: Which Woods Are the Best to Paint?

Are you thinking about refinishing your kitchen cabinets? While painting your cabinets is a sure-fire way to upgrade your kitchen on a tight budget, it also takes careful planning and a lot of preparation on your part. Did you know that the type of wood your cabinets are made of can make a huge difference in how well your kitchen cabinet painting project turns out? Which woods are best to paint, and which require you to take additional steps before painting can begin? Here’s what you need to know about kitchen cabinet painting and the best type of wood for kitchen cabinetry.

Kitchen cabinet door wood types
Image source:

Best Woods for Kitchen Cabinetry Painting

Paint-grade kitchen cabinet doors are usually made from woods that have tighter grains, such as poplar, soft maple, alder, hard maple, birch, pine, and medium density fiberboard (MDF). The reason for this is because these woods have a reasonable to high capacity to be stained or painted. Plus, the tighter grain enables paint to adhere better and, when painted, it usually has a smoother finish.

Open-grain woods, such as oak, mahogany, or walnut, look rougher and tends to have heavy grain, grooves and holes. Due to this, open-grain woods usually require a filler to cover the grooves before painting if you want a smoother finish. Although tighter wood grains are easier to paint, it is still possible to get a smooth paint job with open-grained wood. Here are the pros and cons of some popular wood types:

  • Maple & Poplar: These woods are common for door panels because of their workability and affordability. However, these woods can be a little too soft, dent easily, as well as absorb too much paint.
  • MDF: This type of wood can be challenging to finish; however, it is great for larger sections because of its dimensional stability.
  • Alder: Alder is great for painting but can absorb primer too quickly like other softer hardwoods. It is also more expensive.
  • Pine: This type of wood is easily available and is often used for furniture. It is affordable and paints well, but knots and pitch pockets may bleed through the paint without the use of an excellent primer.
  • Birch: Birch is great for painting and has grown in popularity for cabinet applications. It is harder than alder, pine, and soft maple, which makes it more durable. It is more expensive but requires less primer and sealer.

If your cabinets are made of softer, open-grain woods such as oak or walnut, you can sand them down to make a smoother surface, fill in any grooves and ridges, and airbrush paint them for a full, opaque colour.

Not sure what type of wood your cabinets are made out of? Professionals cabinet painters, like the ones at Booth7, will know how to paint your cabinets based on the wood grain and ensure you get a flawless finish.

Things to Consider when Refinishing Your Kitchen Cabinets

  • Every hour spent preparing the cabinet saves two hours in the repainting process.
  • Experimenting with your finish on scrap wood can save you from ruining your door.
  • Break all sharp edges with fine sandpaper to ensure a smooth surface for painting.
  • Remember that wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity, and no paint is completely moisture-proof. Due to this, hiring the professionals to paint your cabinets in the right environment can save your project and extend its lifespan.
  • The softer the wood, the easier it will dent.
  • Highly experienced kitchen cabinet painters use a dust-free spray booth and can ensure you get a quality paint job that is either a high gloss or matte finish, depending on your preference.

How Booth7 Can Help You

Booth7 can be your one-stop shop to give your kitchen or bathroom a fresh new look and style and help you help make wise, affordable decisions about your home upgrade. Our services include a free in-home consultation, so you can get professional advice, competitive pricing, and custom designs that suit you. We handle all the details of your project from start to finish, so you can trust you are in good hands!

To get started on your home renovation or any painting project, call Booth7  today! Fill out our online form or contact us at

By | 2019-06-14T07:02:55+00:00 June 6th, 2019|Blog|Comments Off on Kitchen Cabinet Painting: Which Woods Are the Best to Paint?

About the Author:

Mike is a co-owner and Managing Partner in Booth7 – Painting Solutions and brings a strong dedication to superior customer service, organized production, quality control, and a family culture into the existing environment at Booth7.

As a “hands-on” manager, Mike enjoys working closely with both clients and employees and is available to both 7 days/week for any request.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting: Which Woods Are the Best to Paint? Booth7 2019-06-14 07:02:55 the type of wood your cabinets are made of can make a huge difference in how well your kitchen cabinet painting project turns out. Here's what you need to know about the best woods for kitchen cabinetry. Blog
Homestar Best Award Winner 2023 Homestar Best Award Winner 2022 Homestar Best Award Winner 2021 Homestar Best Award Winner 2020 Homestar Best Award Winner 2019