The Best Finish for Kitchen Cabinet Doors

A couple of years ago, I completely remodeled a kitchen which consisted of custom built cabinets and doors. During the planning stage for the remodel, the question came up about the best type of finish to use on the kitchen cabinet doors.

The doors were constructed using 3/4″ thick medium density fiberboard (mdf). When the machining processes were complete, the doors were primed with three coats of white primer. The primer was sanded lightly between each coat. The doors were then painted with five coats of flat white paint sprayed on with a texturing gun.

The finish coat was a sprayed coat of automotive spot-type clear coat. This particular type of clear coat was purchased in a quart can and was accompanied by a pint of catalyst that had to be mixed with the clear coat at a ratio of 4 parts clear coat with 1 part catalyst. The painted doors were all placed side-by-side on a spraying rack and sprayed with the clear coat. By the time the last door was sprayed, the first door was dry.

You may be asking, “Why would you use automotive finish for kitchen cabinets?”. The reason is very simple. First of all, this particular type of clear coat dries so quickly that there is no time for dust or insects to settle into the finish. When spraying in an open shop without a paint booth, this was absolutely essential. The finish is crystal clear and with white doors, this is a must. Best of all, the finish is impervious to kitchen grease and can easily be cleaned with spray degreaser to keep them looking bright and new. Just think of the abuse the finish on a car withstands.

Polyurethane finishes all have a tint to them and tend to darken with age. Grease also softens polyurethane, making the finish impossible to keep clean. Laquer finishes are clear, but suffer from the same softening from kitchen grease-laden vapors.

The automotive clear coat was the perfect solution to all the problems. When the clear coat was sprayed over the textured paint coats, the doors had the appearance of textured glass, and the look was perfect. Two years after the remodel, the doors look just as good as the day they were built. So for me, I’ll never go back to using polyurethan or laquer for cabinet doors, especially in the kitchen.

Until next time, stay safe, work hard, and as always, thanks for stopping by MVB Crafts.


Kitchen Cabinet Doors


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5 Responses to The Best Finish for Kitchen Cabinet Doors

  1. Thank you very much for the post, I really learned something from it. Extremly good content on this blog. Always looking forward to new post.

  2. i tried adding your post to my digg account as i liked it,but seems someone has already submitted this to digg,hence i just voted it. i found it very interesting because of your perception on the subject.

  3. Thanks a lot for the entry, I even learned something from it. Incredibly quality content on this blog. Always looking forward to new article.

  4. sandy Penner says:

    I am getting ready to finish my new cabinet doors and drawer fronts.. Any way I can use the clear coat method only. These are oak raised panel doors.

    • RandyCBrown says:

      The automotive clear coat method will work just as well on bare wood as on the painted doors. You may have to apply an additional coat to get the proper seal that is necessary to fully protect the oak wood. Thanks for visiting us.

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