Choosing Cabinet Wood Types
Compare and Contrast Different Wood Types for Cabinets
Quality cabinets can last a lifetime, with proper care, so choose carefully. Cabinets determine the feel of a room, whether a light, cool toned kitchen with natural maple cabinets or a master bathroom with deep, rich glazed cherry cabinets.
The cabinets become the base for choices for every other item in the room: flooring, countertops, paint color, even plumbing and lighting fixtures. From type of wood to color, texture, design and construction, cabinets are a major part of every home decision.
Species and Color
Often the first decision to be made surrounds the type of wood from which the cabinets will be constructed.
Paint Grade is the least expensive type of wood used in cabinet making. As the name implies, these cabinets are mainly painted rather than stained, due to visual imperfections in the wood. These are generally used in secondary bathrooms or entry level homes.
Oak is generally the first choice of hardwood for cabinets. There are over 200 different species, and oak is very strong and takes stain well. Oak can be straight grained, but is often irregular or cross grained. It is a dense and long lasting wood, and looks great in a wide variety of stain colors and cabinet styles. Most oak cabinets are made of red oak, but white oak is occasionally available.
Maple is a step up from oak in cost. It is one of the lighter woods, and there are only about 5 species used commercially. Maple is usually straight grained and has a fine grain, and holds stain very well. Since it is so light in color, maple is often used when a very bright room is desired. Maple is an upgrade for most builders.
Maple can also be painted, but keep in mind that painted cabinetry is usually a little more costly than stained cabinetry.
Cherry is next on the cost scale. It is a very dark wood, so be careful when choosing stain colors. This wood has a deep, rich appearance (think cherry furniture.) In fact, cherry is often chosen for built-in cabinets and bookcases in a study or office, but many kitchens and baths are also trending towards cherry cabinetry.
Hickory or Birch are popular luxury cabinet choices. Hickory is very grainy and has a lot of color variation. It can have a rustic feel, and has a natural finish. Birch has a very fine swirly grain and is very even in tone, but tends to look better with either dark or natural stains.
Walnut, ash, mahogany, and ebony are among the priciest wood choices for cabinets. Most mahogany comes from rain forests on the west coast of Africa. African or Indian ebony are most common in the ebony category, which is a generic name for any kind of wood with a very dark heartwood. Walnut can be North or South American or European.
Choosing Cabinets for your New Custom Home
At Stanton Homes, we make the entire custom home process easy. Our on-staff design consultant expert Andrea Enns will help you determine the best wood choice for your lifestyle, taste, and budget. Ask your new home design questions here!
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