Cabinets are a big part of the process when designing new spaces for your home, including the kitchen, bathroom or laundry. It’s easy to think only about aesthetics when you are deciding on the cabinets you’d like, but unique qualities and characteristics of each species of wood such as: patterns, texture, hardness and price, should also be considered. There are many to choose from, so to help you decide, here is a list of 7 popular choices and a bit about them.
1. Alder is a softer wood and is less dent-resistant than other wood species. It can mimic cherry if you like the look but not the price. It accepts staining beautifully but just like cherry, the color will mellow over time. If you want a rustic feel, knotty alder is a good choice too. The obvious reason for the name, knotty alder, is because of the greater number of knots and knot holes.
2. Birch is one of the more plentiful wood species, and is one of the most cost effective woods for cabinets. There is an uneven texture to birch, so if you want that glossy smooth finish, you might not want to go with this specific specie. It is a light colored wood and can be easily stained to look similar to maple.
3. Cherry is rich with color and has a very smooth texture. It’s known for its warm tones and colors and can vary from light reddish brown to nearly black. The patterns and textures can consist of gum spots, pin knots, and sapwood. It accepts staining uniformly but when exposed to light it will darken in color overtime.
4. Hickory is the heaviest and strongest American hardwood. The color can range dramatically from a slight white, dark brown, or even a reddish color; note that grey mineral streaks can often occur. You are able to see the unpredictable grain patterns, burls, and knots in the wood. Rustic Hickory has more variation in color and more dramatic knots in the patterns and texture.
5. Maple has a subtle grain pattern, which gives it a consistent look and feel. The color is more consistent and uniform unless you choose knotty maple; some black mineral streaks may appear in any maple. It will last for years making it a great option if you have younger children.
6. Oak (Red) is a very durable hardwood and is excellent for completing a traditional looking kitchen. The color of oak can vary but will mellow overtime if it’s exposed to light. Compared to maple, oak has an open-grained pattern with carrying texture and appearance. It accepts staining well just like cherry, which can enhance the color and pattern.
7. Walnut is a beautiful wood species that is dense and durable. Although it lightens over time, the color is a natural that can range from light to dark brown but can also have a purple tint. The grain pattern usually run straight, but occasionally a wavy grain will appear. Walnut, although a bit more in price, can be used for other projects for your home, such as a headboard, stairs, or tables to complete a design or look.
Each wood species has its character however; some woods can easily mimic others without exceeding your budget, such as maple, alder, oak, and birch.