What Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets


Sandpaper is a type of flexible, porous material used to smooth surfaces. It is similar in form to a sheet of paper which has been cut into many thin strips. Sandpaper comes in two different types: cloth and paper. Fabric can be used with adhesive backing or as waterproof sheets. Paper is sold with pre-applied adhesive on the backside.

When sanding, dust particles accumulate on the surface being worked on, which can cause defects if not removed entirely. Their grit size also categorizes sandpapers—the smaller number denotes a more acceptable grit size, thus more abrasive material that will draw more nuanced layers of wood faster than coarse grades. In this article, I will discuss “what grit sandpaper for cabinets.” So let us get started.

What Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets

Summary: If you’re looking for a way to give your cabinets a fresh new look, grit sandpaper is the perfect choice. This type of sandpaper is made from rough, jagged pieces of stone that have been ground down to a very fine texture. Because grit sandpaper is so finely ground, it can be used to remove scratches, scuffs, and other marks from your cabinets’ surface. By using this type of sandpaper, you’ll be able to achieve a high level of shine and luster in just a few short minutes.

A Detailed Discussion on What Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

The type of sandpaper you use for cabinets and other furniture will depend on the desired look of your home. Choose a grit that fits your lifestyle and the lifestyles of those you live with.

The grits are from coarse to fine, which also means from rough to smooth, so be aware if you plan on sanding down something in your bathroom or kitchen, there could be wet issues later due to any residue left behind from the sanding process.

You may want a very high coarseness when going for a rustic country-style look because this creates an uneven surface area that looks old and naturally worn out without much effort.

120-150 Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

This is course, which means it will tear up the cabinets’ surface quickly, so be prepared to keep working on a particular spot if you are trying to get this type of look. It does not leave behind a very smooth finish, so you may have issues with things sticking down the road if wet surfaces are common in your home or bathroom.

150-180 Grit Sandpaper  For Cabinets

If you are going to use wood that has been treated, then all bets are off because treated wood contains chemicals that can be dangerous when sanding, and luckily no one wants their house smelling like chemicals after they’re finished building something new. Coarse grits also work well when putting together stuff like pallets because this is the look you want, and it’s best to do this type of work outside.

150-180 Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

This is good grit sandpaper if you want to keep the rough, rustic countryside because the rough, splintery surfaces will actually get rougher than before when using such high coarse sandpaper for cabinets.

This looks just like what you’d expect from an old barn or farmhouse, so be prepared to remove any pre-existing splinters that may have been formed over time. You’ll definitely need some wood glue, and you’ll definitely want some sealant, too, because once this is done and dried, there’s no going back, although it does go away nicely with the proper cleaner.

180-220 Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

This is slightly less rough than the other grits, but it’s great for creating an old-style look. Unfortunately, it also looks like what you’d find in a log house or cabin, meaning this needs to be cleaned out with sealer and cleaned up later after use.

If you’re using wood that has already been treated, then again, all bets are off because this type of sandpaper can make that kind of wood dangerous while also making it more porous for fluids to get into the grain, leading to bigger problems down the line. This does not work well on laminate kitchen cabinets either, so keep that in mind if you plan on trying this sort of look yourself.

One last thing to know is that this sandpaper grit can also work if you plan to paint your cabinets and give them a distressed look because it creates a good base for something like paint.

What Sandpaper Should I Use on Cabinets

220-240 Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

This is the first medium-grit sandpaper, so it’s not as rough but still looks old and worn. You’ll see this type of finish in log homes or cottages, which means you may want to use wood glue or sealer before you start sanding down your cabinet doors, drawers, or any other surface area.

This will work well with pre-treated wood, but you should be aware that the treated grain will now have porous surfaces, leading to moisture issues later on down the line.

240-280 Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

This is good medium-grit sandpaper to use on cabinets if you want a nice smooth finish that isn’t completely polished but not courses either. This works well with treated wood for the simple fact that it’ll keep the moisture from getting into the grain of the wood, which means you won’t have to worry as much about your new cabinets swelling, cracking, or warping over time because that’s just one less thing you need to worry about when making something new.

It also creates an easy surface area to paint over later, so if you’re looking for extra flair in your kitchen, this may be worth considering when deciding what type of cabinet sandpaper to buy.

300-360 Grit Sandpaper for Cabinets:

This type of sandpaper is the last sandpaper grit on the list if you want a really polished and smooth look. This is good for those who aren’t looking to paint their new cabinets but use them as they are. It’s also great for those who don’t want anything old or rustic in their home, which, again, it’s not recommended that you go with something like this, especially if your home has high moisture content and often gets wet.

For projects like pallets and other types of projects that use less than quality wood, this can help create a nice finish later down the line. If you’re going to use an expensive hardwood, then we’d recommend another type of sandpaper.

How to Use Sandpaper for Sanding Cabinets?

For those new to sanding cabinets, you might wonder what grit sandpaper for cabinets is recommended. You can use 80 for light sanding or 100-120 for heavy sanding of the wood cabinets. The first step would be removing all doors and drawers from your kitchen cabinets so that you can access them easily. Start by wiping the door with a damp cloth to remove any dirt before moving on to active work on it.

Use a Sandpaper

Remove any handles or knobs attached to your cabinet doors before starting work, making things much easier. Next, take some mineral spirits in a container and soak some rags in them before placing one of them under each doorknob at its base, along with another rag placed under the door itself. This will prevent the door from distorting while you are working on it with a sander.

If your cabinets have a high gloss finish, start with 80-grit sandpaper and work your way up to 100-120 before going in for finer grits of 150 and above. Always ensure that you stand far from the cabinet when using a sander or any other power tool to avoid injury.

Always keep your wood grain going in one direction rather than back and forth, as this will produce scratch marks instead of removing them. Once you have finished with 120 paper, switch on your vacuum cleaner and blow out all sawdust from crevices before switching on the sander again for fine smoothing in the form of 150-grit sandpaper.

When done with this, take a damp cloth and wipe down all surfaces again before using paint rollers to apply primer on them in thin coats.

If your cabinets have knots or other defects that can be seen through thinner coats of primer, cover these areas up by applying masking tape to prevent the primer from seeping in there while priming. Use an angled brush to spread two thin coats of paint over the cabinet doors when they are ready to be installed once again. 

Remember that sanding cabinets are not something you can do in a hurry as it requires a lot of time and patience. After all, work doesn’t get completed overnight!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do I Get A Smooth Finish on Kitchen Cabinets?

Cabinet refinishing is one of the simplest home improvement projects, but its success depends on how smooth you sand your cabinets. To get a smooth finish on a kitchen cabinet, use different grits of sandpaper. For example, start with #80-grit paper to knock down scratches and then switch to #100 or #120 grit to make the surface even smoother. Finally, end it off with #150 grit paper.

Cabinet refinishing is one of the simplest home improvement projects,

When Should I Use Higher Grit Paper?

Higher grit papers remove deep stains and scratch marks from cabinets, while lower ones are for maintenance between coats of varnish or paint. If you use oil-based paints or varnishes, try using 80-grit paper because it can keep the wood from being raised. However, a #100-grit sandpaper is good enough if you use latex paints and varnishes because they cure too hard to make the 80-grit paper useful and will leave scratches if you use it on oil-based products.


I hope this article has benefited from learning all the related information regarding “what grit sandpaper for cabinets.” Thank you, and have a nice day!

Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth is a creative writer and digital editor based in the United States. She has a passion for the arts and crafts, which she developed from a young age. Elizabeth has always loved experimenting with new mediums and sharing her work with others. When she started blogging, she knew that DIYquickly would be the perfect platform to share her tutorials and tips. She's been writing for the blog from the beginning, and her readers love her helpful advice and easy-to-follow instructions. When she's not writing or editing, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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