How to Paint Alder Cabinets


Alder wood is an easy timber to work with. It cuts evenly without much splintering, and it accepts wood stains very well. Since it reacts well to most stains, alder can be colorized to fit a number of design schemes. Of course, the color palette for wood stain still has its limits, and wood surfaces tend to give off a rustic vibe. If you want to lighten your cabinets, or if you want a contemporary dark look without visible wood grain, paint is your answer. Painting over alder cabinets requires some specialized priming, but overall it isn't too different from painting any cabinet surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Trisodium phosphate cleanser
  • Rag
  • Screwdriver
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Painter's tape
  • Stain-blocking primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Oil-based paint
  • Clean the alder cabinets with trisodium phosphate cleanser and a rag.

  • Remove the cabinet hardware. Often, you only need a screwdriver to take off the hardware.

  • Sand the alder cabinets with 220-grit sandpaper if they have a glossy finish. Glossy wood varnish doesn't accept new paint easily, but sandpaper creates enough surface texture for paint application.

  • Apply painter's tape to any nearby wall or counter surfaces. The tape protects these items from accidental paint drips.

  • Prime the alder cabinets with stain-blocking primer. Use a brush for edges and a roller for larger portions of cabinetry. Even if your alder cabinets are unstained, a stain-blocking primer is essential for alder cabinets. As a cut wood, alder releases natural wood oils. Without special stain-blocking primer, these natural oils will seep through paint and cause discoloration. Let the primer dry for an entire day before proceeding.

  • Paint the cabinets with oil-based paint. Use a brush for edge work and rollers on main surfaces.

  • Apply a second coat after two hours if you notice any bare patches.

  • Reattach the cabinet hardware and remove the painter's tape after 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stain-blocking primer is available at most hardware stores.


  • "Woodworker's Guide to Wood: Straight Talk for Today's Woodworker"; John Kelsey; 2010
  • "Home Repair That Pays Off"; Hector Seda; 2009
  • "Stanley Complete: Complete Painting"; Larry Johnston; 2007
  • "Room for Improvement"; Barbara Kavovit; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Alder Wood Characteristics

    Though included among the various types of hardwood trees, alder exhibits its own unique characteristics that make it best suited for certain...

  • How to Finish a Knotty Alder Door

    The rustic charm and warm color of knotty alder makes this type of wood an option for doors, furniture and cabinetry. By...

Related Searches

Read Article

Make an Ikea Lack Table Look Expensive With This Cheap Hack

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!