Can You Sand Particle Board Cabinets

Can You Sand Particle Board Cabinets?

Particle boards are basically constructed with wood chips and synthetic resin. That’s why they are super lightweight and easy to set up. Of course, they are not as sturdy as the regular hard boards. 

The particle board cabinet comes with a pretty cheap and sleek design. Sanding and painting can significantly upgrade its overall appearance. But can you sand particle board cabinets? Well, yes! Why not? You can easily sand, paint, and refinish the particle board furniture. In contrast, refinishing hardwood might require some extra work. 

First, remove the doors and drawers from the cabinet and lay them on a drop cloth. Rub wood putty on damaged surfaces and let it dry. Now, use 120 to 180-grit sandpaper in a circular stroke to grind the preferred texture. Lastly, apply some primer and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours. Now, your particle board cabinet is ready for painting.

why should you sand and paint your particle board cabinet? 

Increase Its Strength: 

Particle boards can easily wear out due to dust, dirt, and damage with sharp weapons. Just sand it up and paint it to improve its durability significantly.

Reflect Your Style & Interest 

Painting the particle board cabinet lets you express your sense of art, style, and interest. 

Make The Furniture More Appealing

Sanding and painting can significantly upgrade your home aesthetics. Your entire room will feel fresh and new.

Particle Board Vs. MDF Cabinets: Check Out The Basic Differences Now

Particle Board CabinetsMdf Cabinets 
CompositionParticle boards are made up of wood chips and sawdust together with adhesives.MDF cabinets feature fine wood fibers combined with adhesives.
Density It comes with a low-density design.MDF Cabinets are more dense and strong.
Durability Particle board is relatively less durable and more susceptible to moisture damage.It is super durable and can resist mild to moderate moisture.
FinishThey offer a rough texture.Its upper surface is super smooth and consistent.
WeightIt is relatively lightweight.MDF boards are heavy.
PriceAffordable.It is relatively pricey.

What Type of Sander and sandpaper Is Used For Sanding Particle Board Cabinets?

120 to 180-grit sandpaper is widely used for sanding. You can also use them to remove light stock, scuffing paint, and varnishing. Their special non-slip backing can enhance overall stability and reduce fatigue.

Does your cabinet come with a veneer sticker? If yes, sand it with 80-grit sandpaper instead. It will create a wood-like texture on the veneer. Be a bit gentle to avoid peeling off the veneer. 

Are you up for an automated sander? Go for an orbital sander. Just install a 120-grit disc and turn on the lowest power settings. It’s really easier than manual sanding. However, you might have to spend around an extra $25 to $100. However, be aware! Never use an automated sander on a veneer sticker. 

How To Sand Particle Board Cabinets?

Do you plan to sand the particle board for the first time? It’s really easy once you get the hang of it. Sanding and refinishing the particle board furniture may take up to 4 to 5 days.

Set Up The Cabinet For Sanding

  • First, slide up the drawers and remove them from the cabinet.
  • Take a Phillips screwdriver driver and unfasten the bracket and fastener.
  • Don’t forget to label each screw and bracket with its corresponding pieces.
  • Remove the knobs and handles from the cabinet. Assign them specifically with the corresponding doors and drawers. It will be of great help when you reinstall.

Prepare A Stable Working Surface

  • First, lay down a drop cloth along the edge of the cabinet. Thus, the floor won’t be dirty even after sanding, priming, or painting.
  • Place another drop cloth on the table to paint the cabinets and drawers with convenience.
  • Don’t forget to use painter’s tape on the wall which comes in contact with the cabinet. Tape off the sections that you don’t plan to paint.

Use Protective Gears

  • Sawdust and fumes can significantly affect your respiratory system. So, don’t ever forget to use a mask or respirator while sanding or painting. 
  • We will specifically recommend it for oil-based paints. However, if you are up for latex paint, a respirator won’t be mandatory.
  • Gloves can safeguard your skin from paint as well.

Repair The Damaged Wood

Get a can of wood putty and apply it on the damaged particle board surface. A putty knife can be of help to fill up the holes. Now scrape off the extra putty repeatedly. The putty will harden over a period of 24 hours.

Sand The Cabinet

  • Take 120 to 180 grit sandpaper and sand it thoroughly with a circular stroke. 
  • Continuously sand it 4 to 5 times. It will eventually cast away the current finish. 

Now, your cabinet is ready for priming and painting. 

Do you plan to paint the insides and uppersides of your drawers and cabinets? If not, sanding and refinishing them is not really necessary. Moreover, cabinet undersides are sometimes too thin. So, sanding it can significantly crack the particle board.

Apply The Primer

  • Take your paint tray and fill it with an oil-based primer. 
  • Dip the brush on the primer and go for some back-and-forth strokes. 
  • Let the primer sit for 24 to 48 hours. 
  • Once the primer is dried, sand it again with 80 or 120-grit sandpaper.

Paint The Cabinets

  • First, choose the type of paint you prefer. Acrylic offers a smooth finish. But it’s not as shiny as the oil paint.
  • Dip around 2 to 3 inches of your angle brush and paint the corners. Always brush along the direction of the grains. 
  • You can also use a paint roller on the flat segments.

Common Mistakes Of Sanding Particle Board Cabinets & How To Fix Them?

As a first-timer, sanding and painting the particle board might seem like a big deal. So, let’s check the dos and don’ts of sanding the particle board furniture.

Ignore Blemishes Or Damage

Never ignore blemishes before sanding and painting. First, apply wood putty on the scratches and let it sit for 24 hours. Trust me, just priming and painting won’t really hide the blemishes. 

Skip Priming

After sanding, priming may seem like extra work. But primer helps in adherence of the paint to the furniture surface. Without priming, the paint will peel off too frequently.

Don’t Rush

You are applying multiple layers of putty, primer, and paint. You have to be patient and let each coat dry separately. Overall refinishing may require up to 4 to 5 days. So, rushing it up will only damage the furniture.


How do you get a smooth finish on particle board? 

Get 120 to 180 grit sandpaper and sand the surface thoroughly. Be gentle and go for 4 to 5 rounds. It can expose the wooden pores and smoothen the texture.

Is MDF better than particle board? 

In terms of durability and performance, MDF Cabinets definitely got the upper hand. But if you are up for a lightweight and cheap cabinet, particle boards are indeed a great choice.

Final Words 

Every particle board user wishes to give their cabinets a new look. After all, a plain particle board may seem too cheap. So, can you sand particleboard cabinets?

You already know by now that – sanding particle boards is super easy. Sanding and painting will not only enhance durability but also appearance. However, it’s really lengthy and time-consuming. So, be patient and paint your particle board with perfection now!

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