Which wood is best for your kitchen cabinets?

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The kitchen is typically a high-traffic area in most homes. Therefore, it's important to make sure that this room is at its finest. Most homeowners realize that their kitchen cabinets are a major focal point in this area. Knowing which styles and wood species work best for your kitchen can make a big difference in the fluidity of your interior design style. Before you plan a kitchen remodel, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different types of wood for kitchen cabinets. 

"Cabinets are a major focal point in your kitchen."

Cherry
This type of wood is revered for its elegant appearance and can be customized to match almost any theme. Chery wood has a reddish tinge naturally and starts out a little darker than most other woods.  Cherry is known to have depth of finish, luxurious smooth graining and beautiful natural characteristics such as knots and fissures.  One man/woman's natural characteristics is another's imperfections, so be sure you like the natural character of Cherry first, otherwise you may want to choose a more consistent wood like Oak or Maple.  Cherry is most popular in darker stains as it tends to absorb these stains more evenly and the darker stains hide most of the natural character/imperfections.  Though considered a hardwood, Cherry is softer than Oak, Maple or Hickory so be careful not to scratch or dent it.

Oak
Oak cabinets tend to have more interesting grain patterns than their counterparts. The graining is pronounced and raised so that it is not as smooth to the touch as most other woods. Yet, while oak is one of the strongest woods available, it can sometimes contain minerals that lead to color streaking.  

Maple
This versatile wood can be stained in almost any color, although sometimes appear blotchy when stained dark.  The lighter coloration of Maple in it's natural state allow lighter stain application than Oak and Cherry.  Maple is a very durable hardwood with grain patterns that are smooth and more consistent than most of its counterparts.  Maple is also an ideal product to paint due to its hardness, smooth surface and tight grain pattern. 

This kitchen remodel is an example of how maple makes beautiful cabinets.
This kitchen remodel is an example of how maple makes beautiful cabinets.

Alder 
This type of wood isn't used as often as other species. It tends to be softer, and therefore, less durable. However, the highly porous quality allows it to retain staining much better than other wood. Rustic alder is great for homeowners who want to create a rustic style in their kitchens. Alder is sometimes referred to in the industry as the "poor man's Cherry" due to the similar graining and lower cost.

Hickory
Because hickory is composed of a mixture of heartwood and sapwood, it creates a beautiful alternation between light and dark wood streaks. Hickory's extreme variation in tones as well as knots and fissures makes it ideal for the more  rustic of kitchens like ones you would install in a log cabin.

Birch
Known as a sturdy wood, birch is a great choice for kitchen cabinets. This wood has a smooth surface and typically has a lighter coloring. Birch would be an excellent option for homeowners who want to brighten up their kitchen area. Birch is often mistaken for maple as they appear very similar.

Home remodels are an exciting opportunity for homeowners to customize certain parts of their houses. This is especially true for heavily trafficked areas like the kitchen. With family members and guests frequently in and out of this room, it's important for it to look its best. During a kitchen remodel, you will need to decide which wood to use for your cabinets. Knowing the differences between wood species can help homeowners make the right decision for their kitchen cabinets. 


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