When you’re deciding on what type of wood to use for your cabinets, you’ll need to take a few factors into consideration. Of course you want the colour of the cabinets to work with the design you have in mind for your kitchen (or bathroom, or wherever you plan on installing the cabinets), but you also want the material to be durable so that your cabinets last. We’ve used a variety of wood types over the years, and each one has its own strengths and drawbacks. Take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most common wood types below to help inform your decision.
One of the most popular choices for wood cabinets, maple offers a creamy white appearance that sometimes comes with a reddish tinge. It’s a strong hardwood that can handle some rough treatment and still stand up well over time.
The grain has less variation than other woods, so if you’re looking for an abundance of waves and swirls, you might have to look elsewhere. Keep in mind that staining on maple can end up looking blotchy if the isn’t properly sealed first, or if you opt for darker stains which maple tends to absorb unevenly.
There’s no shortage of pine in North America, but it isn’t used as frequently in cabinets as you might think. That’s mainly because pine is a relatively soft wood, which can easily succumb to dents, scratches, and gouges.
Homeowners who do choose to use pine in their cabinets usually do so because of the aesthetic value of the wood, which offers a cream-like colour that varies from more white to more yellow. Pine also creates a rustic look, especially as it ages. And while it may be soft, pine is quite resistant to shrinking and swelling, so it can offer longevity so long as you’re a little extra careful around it.
Many homeowners opt for cherry wood because of its rich colour palate that ranges from deep red to reddish brown. Over time the colours can darken, which may be a pro or a con, depending on your eye for design.
All that aesthetic character doesn’t come cheap, however. The price tag attached to cherry wood may deter some homeowners from using it as their cabinet wood of choice.
This hardwood is often quite grainy, which creates a rough and rustic look, even on highly-finished pieces. Oak varies widely in colour, but commonly presents strips of white, brown, red, and pink. It’s a very durable wood that will endure over time, however staining can overly darken and exaggerate the grain, which will give it a two-toned appearance.
Ranging from brown to yellow, walnut is another strong wood that can be a canvas for intricate carving designs. It offers a more ornate look, and is often used to create an antique-style aesthetic. Like cherry, it’s one of the more expensive woods, and some homeowners may be put off by its colour variations, which can run the gamut from light to dark even in a single board.
Depending on the aesthetic you’re going for, and expected wear and tear you’re going to put on your new cabinets, you can choose a wood that strikes the right balance of style and durability so you’ll be able to enjoy your cabinets for years to come.