If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, you're probably aware that there are several different types of wood species you can have cabinets made from.
What many people don’t realize is that the appearance of your kitchen area cabinets is contingent on the quality of your cabinets and the wood they’re made from.
Kitchen cabinets can be made from a variety of woods.
In an article by DC Drawers:
“the best wood for cabinetry is widely considered either red oak, poplar, maple, mahogany, or plywood. Which solid wood type is best for a specific project depends on budget, if the cabinetry will be painted, and personal preference.”
Here are two key takeaways here:
The specific traits you’re interested in will determine the “best” type of cabinetry for your needs.
Naturally, the next question most people would ask is, “what are the differentiating traits of the many kinds of wood used for kitchen cabinets?”
Glad you asked.
Different Wood Types Commonly Used For Cabinetry
Below is a quick overview of the various types of woods commonly used for cabinets, as well as a list of the wood traits. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of the kinds of wood for cabinetry that are available.
There’s no denying the fact that cherry wood is warm and rich in color. Cherry has a larger grain than some woods and the variation in the wood coloration really is what draws people to this wood for cabinetry. Typically, the lighter the stain the greater the variation. One thing to note about cherry wood is that natural pitting is common, this is one of the features that adds “character” to this kind of wood.
Knotty alder is commonly used for stained or painted cabinetry. The straight and even-textured wood grain helps this wood type.
Another notable trait of knotty alder is that it commonly has knots or holes, that can be up to 3/4-inch in diameter through the panel. For some people this adds character and a rustic feel to cabinet doors.
For those interested in cherry, but don't like the price, knotty alder cabinetry may be a great option to consider.
Very similar to maple, birch has a consistent and tight grain pattern. Birch is also a wood that takes a stain well and is a cost-effective option for those interested in staying within a budget.
It's important to note that birch does not take a high-polished finish. If this is something you're interested in, this wood species may not be ideal.
Hickory has an extremely high variation in color, making this a great option for people looking for a unique wood with a LOT of character. When choosing hickory, one should expect a large “striped” grain pattern with small knots and pits.
Maple is another commonly used wood for cabinetry and for good reason. Maple has a consistent grain, polishes, and stains nicely, and has a relatively consistent color when compared to other types of wood.
One unique quality of maple, however, is that it has “mineral streaks,” which are grey blemishes. For most people interested in maple cabinets, the mineral streaks only add to the interest and “personality” of the wood.
It’s important to note that care should be taken with both maple and birch when staining. Rushing the preparation process can result in “splotches.”
If you’re looking for variety in color and graining, consider walnut. Walnut patinas, or darkens up over time, very nicely. This trait makes walnut a top choice if you’re looking for a more matured cabinet look.
While pine is a softer wood and can dent easily, it’s a popular choice for people interested in cabinetry with a lighter look.
In Colorado, utilizing beetle-kill pine has become a popular option. To read more about what beetle kill pine is and how it's harvested, read the full article from Sustainable Lumber. Here's a summary of the article:
“the beetle carries a fungus that slowly turns the wood different colors. Commonly known as “blue stain” the colors that appear can range from blue, purple, brown, orange, yellow, red, and pink. If harvested within 5 years of the tree dying, fungal staining is purely cosmetic and has no effect on the structural integrity of the wood.”
Bamboo has a very consistent and tight grain. It should be noted that most standard cabinet companies do not carry bamboo and this would be considered a “special order” type of material.
Mahogany is known for its tight and consistent graining. While true mahogany isn’t really used in cabinetry today, many cabinet companies actually use a similar wood called Lyptus and call it, “mahogany.”
As you can see, there are a variety of wood types and, depending on your specific needs and application, a certain wood type may be better than another.
If you’re in the market for some new cabinets, we’d love to start a conversation. At TLC cabinetry, we have the team and experience to help match your specific needs to the right kind of cabinetry.
Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation, (720) 436-5317.