What are select grade cabinet doors?

What are select grade cabinet doors? Why is the material grade important? Making the wrong choice can cost you money – here’s what you need to know.

A black and white image of a worker sanding a thin piece of MDF.

You can choose from many material grades in the cabinet door industry. Each material grade has different recommended uses and different quality expectations. 

To add to your confusion, not all cabinet door manufacturers use the same material grade names and quality requirements.

You may be wondering, ‘Why is this an issue?”

Simply put, choosing the wrong material grade can cost you. If your customer is unhappy with the cabinet doors they receive, you may need to replace their cabinet doors or provide a discount. 

On the flip side, ordering a higher material grade than you need can increase the cost of the cabinet doors and reduce your profit margin.

So how can you ensure the cabinet doors you order are the correct wood grade? 

At Cutting Edge Doors & Woodworking, we work with cabinet doors all day. Our team has developed several specific material grades over the years to make your job easier.

In this article, you will learn about our select grade material, the highest material grade we have available.

After reading this article, you will understand our quality expectations and the approximate price increase for select grade cabinet doors. You will also know when and why you should consider upgrading to select grade cabinet doors.

Quality of select grade cabinet doors

When you order select grade material, our team has specific quality requirements that apply to the order. You can expect almost perfect cabinet doors.

The entire face of every cabinet door will have consistent color and a uniform grain pattern on the flat surfaces of the door. This applies specifically to flat surfaces because curved or beveled profiles are cut into the wood and can have grain and color variations.

For example, if you order select grade Rift Cut White Oak, we only allow rift cut grain; no quarter sawn or flat cut grain is acceptable on the flat surfaces of the door. However, quarter sawn or flat cut grain may be visible on any profiled edges of the door.

An infographic showing the difference between standard and select material grades.

Select grade doors are more expensive

The higher quality expectations of our select grade cabinet doors mean that they are 20% more expensive on average than our standard grade cabinet doors.

Different wood species or door styles can increase the price difference. Select grade plywood panel doors are usually around 20% more expensive, whereas select grade solid wood doors can be up to 60% more expensive.

More expensive wood types (like Walnut or Rift Cut White Oak) also have a larger price difference between select grade and standard grade.

Why does the door style impact the price?

Door styles can range from very simple to very detailed and complex. On the simple side of the spectrum, we have a veneer slab door and a plywood panel shaker-style door .

On the left is a Teak veneer slab door with edge banding. On the right is a Knotty Pine shaker-style door with a plywood panel.

On the complex side of the spectrum, we have a mitered raised panel door and a plywood panel applied molding door:

On the left is a Maple mitered door with a solid wood raised center panel. On the right is a Maple shaker style door with an applied molding added to the inside profile.

As the complexity of a door style increases, it takes more time to produce the components for each door. 

5-piece wood doors have (surprise, surprise) five pieces: two stiles, two rails, and a center panel. Below, you can see a picture showing the five components of a door:

Infographic showing unassembled and assembled wood cabinet doors.

However, you can choose to have either a plywood center panel or a solid wood center panel.

The mitered raised panel door style has a solid wood center panel. This center panel has several strips of wood glued together into a slab. The slab is then profiled into the panel shape before we assemble the door.

The shaker-style door has a plywood panel which is cut out of a 4’ by 8’ sheet of plywood material that we order from our supplier.

For comparison, one solid wood center panel takes about 7 minutes to make while one plywood panel takes about 30 seconds to cut.

Complex door styles already require additional time and material. When you upgrade a complex door style to a select grade material, the price increases to help allow for the increased material sorting time.

Why does the wood species impact the price?

Availability and demand for a wood type can increase the price difference between select grade and standard grade cabinet doors. 

Rift Cut White Oak is an example of this. This product has increased in demand while becoming less available, causing the price to skyrocket over the past few years.

For these reasons, it is more difficult to get Rift Cut White Oak material that works for select grade orders. Select grade Rift Cut White Oak orders can be anywhere from 30%-80% more expensive than standard grade Rift Cut White Oak orders.

You should order select grade cabinet doors if…

You should order select grade cabinet doors if you or your customer expects consistent color and grain pattern. If the overall appearance of your (or your customer’s) cabinet doors must be very consistent, it is better to be safe and choose select grade cabinet doors.

As well, you would do well to choose select grade cabinet doors for any orders with a light stain, clear lacquer, or whitewash finish. These finishes don’t hide color or grain variation and can make some natural wood characteristics stand out.

Select grade cabinet doors: high quality, high price

To recap, ordering select grade cabinet doors means both quality and price increase.

In the past, you didn’t know what material grades were available. You may have had issues with unhappy customers or low-profit orders because you chose the wrong material grades.

After reading this article, you know when and why you should order select grade material and approximately how much of a price increase to expect.

What next? Learn why select grade cabinet doors are so expensive

Don't miss out! Get notified about new blog posts and web content.