Despite the rise of heavy-duty aluminum or steel kitchen cabinets, wood kitchen cabinets are still dominants. Wood has been used as the preferred material for designing both modern and traditional kitchen cabinets. Fortunately, there are different types of woods to choose from.
If you are in the market for a new kitchen cabinet, you should know what different wood materials are and their pros and cons. We will discuss 10 types of woods for quality kitchen cabinets and other things you should know regarding wood as your best material. Keep reading for details!
Do you Need Quality Kitchen Cabinets?
It can be overwhelming if you are shopping for a new set of kitchen cabinets to facelift your kitchen space. You will find several options that make it really challenging to decide on your best wood material for a quality cabinet. That calls for your knowledge of the different types of wood, including their advantages and disadvantages.
Various Cabinet Materials
The type of wood material you choose for your kitchen cabinets will determine the overall aesthetics of your space. These structures are usually the focal point in every kitchen and can make or ruin the aesthetics. Also, kitchen cabinets are long-term investments that should serve you for as long as possible.
When you are out for a new kitchen cabinet unit, you should consider durability, material, size, cost, and design against your budget. Only then do you decide on the type of wood used.
There are many types of wood materials, but we will only focus on the 10 most common ones. These include:
Continue reading to get a detailed review of each of the above types of wood material for kitchen cabinets.
10 Types of Wood Kitchen Cabinets
Oak Kitchen Cabinets
Oak wood is defined by the following properties:
Oakwood falls under the hardwood category and has many applications. You can consider it for both horizontal and vertical uses. In appearance, oak wood can fall within a wide range of color scales, from beige to cream. Fortunately, the colors can be enhanced through other treatment methods.
Oakwood is readily available, making its price relatively lower compared to other wood types. It is also easy to work with, taking in glue, screws, and nails pretty well.
Oakwood features linear grains and uniform color, making it the best choice for modern-style kitchen cabinets. However, you may also consider it for traditional kitchens if you choose an appropriate cabinet design.
Oak can take almost any type of finish and still show its elegance. It is mainly stained, but you can choose any other finish type according to your preference.
- Easy to clean
- Stains well
- Grain in oak cabinets is difficult to change
- Kitchen resale value will be low
- Not the best choice for an avant-garde kitchen
Cherry Kitchen Cabinets
Cherry is another hardwood you can consider for its attractive grains. It has the following features:
Cherry wood is relatively soft compared to other hardwoods that can be used for making kitchen cabinets. It’s famous for its rich grains characterized by small-sized pin knots and pitch marks that give it irresistible beauty. Most high-end furniture, including kitchen cabinets, is made with cherry.
Cherry is readily available but more expensive compared to other hardwoods such as alder and maple. That is because of its high aesthetic appeal.
As you have already known, cherries have a timeless appeal. That makes it suitable for use in all types of modern furniture found in libraries, executive offices, and high-end kitchens.
Cherry wood is a bit darker. Its typical finishes range from red to brown when stained. Cherry kitchen cabinets also have a distinctive yet unpredictable aging process that results in different looks. This type of wood results in a smooth darker finish, but you can also choose a lighter option.
- Aesthetically appealing
- A wide range of finishes
- Easy to sand, carve, and mold
- Easy to stain
- Not as resilient as other hardwoods
- Fades when exposed to direct sunlight
Hickory Kitchen Cabinets
Hickory is another type of wood you can consider for your kitchen cabinets. It offers many benefits of cherry but comes at a much lower price.
Hickory boasts its natural streaks that appear randomly throughout the wood, making it attractive and having a rich accent. It is also available in a range of colors, from dark brown to shades of white.
Hickory comes in different species that are found in abundance in many parts of the world. Due to its availability, hickory is relatively cheap compared to cherry but shares many positive attributes.
Like cherry, hickory is the best choice for high-end furniture because of its beauty and accent. The difference is that hickory is cheaper.
Hickory stains well and can take different shades of color, ranging from dark brown to white. However, staining and painting can significantly cause variations.
- Readily available
- High beauty and accents
- Stains well
- Darkens over time
Pine Kitchen Cabinets
Pinewoods are associated with cabins but are also an ideal choice for modern kitchens topped up with state-of-the-art hardware and contemporary countertops. They are perfect if you are looking for a retro kitchen or a cozy country kitchen.
One main characteristic of pine wood is the very many knots that give it a unique appearance. You will be able to recognize it without a second thought. However, the knots can be so cluttered that they don’t appeal to some people.
There is no shortage of pine. It can be readily found in many parts of the world, such as North America.
Pine is ideal for a rustic kitchen cabinet design because of the way it ages. If you need a cozy country kitchen, then you can pull out the best surprise with pine.
Pinewood tends to be lighter in color but can be stained with darker shades. The individual cabinet surfaces made of pine can significantly vary because of the knots and markings distributed throughout the material.
- Aesthetically appealing
- Ideal for a rustic look
- Resistant to shrinking and swelling
- Dent easily
- Susceptible to scratches
- Less durable
Maple Kitchen Cabinets
Maple is one of the popular choices for kitchen cabinets because of its creamy appearance and strength. It’s ideal for highly used kitchens.
Maple is characterized by smooth grain and a non-porous surface, making it versatile for different finishes. The wood also comes with bird eye dots, mineral streaking, and curling grains, all of which enhance its beauty.
Maple wood is popularly used in cabinet making because it’s readily available and easy to work with.
Maple is ideal for making traditional or modern kitchen cabinets. But that depends on the design chosen, finish, and hardware used.
Maple wood can take different stains and finishes, giving you multiple options to choose from. It is the preferred wood material if you need customization. The colors of maple kitchen cabinets also vary considerably. Maple wood can be stained, varnished, glazed, or left natural.
- Timeless appeal
- Fairly priced
- Environmentally sustainable
- Difficult to stain
- Turns yellow when exposed to direct sunlight
Walnut Kitchen Cabinets
Walnut is another hardwood used in kitchen cabinet making. It’s not as popular as other types because it is not easy to find.
Walnut is a hardwood with noticeable grains and a wide color palette, ranging from white to dark brown.
Walnut is one of the rarest woods of all other wood materials used for kitchen cabinet making. As a result, walnuts are expensive and considered premium.
Walnut is often used to create antique-style aesthetics and is best for creating complex carving designs.
You can have a light or dark finish for walnut kitchen cabinets. A light finish is preferred for a more pronounced beauty of natural grains, and darker finishes create a classic look.
- Easy to maintain
- Susceptible to wear and tear
Ash Kitchen Cabinets
Ashwood is a type of hardwood known for its strength and elasticity. It’s commonly used in crafting most items used at home and other applications.
The dominant colors of ash wood are yellow-white and pale green, but you can also find other shades such as light brown and red white. Ashwood has distinctive annual rings that create an interesting surface structure. Its grains are narrow and dark.
Like many other kitchen cabinet materials, Ashwood is readily available and grows in many parts of the world, and is most common in North America.
Ashwood is a good choice for many interior applications because it’s available in different styles and finishes. Whether you want a contemporary or traditional kitchen cabinet, you can have it with wood ash.
Ash kitchen cabinets are of different styles and finishes. Due to the very many options, homeowners can choose what they prefer for their dream kitchens. You can find black ash, brown ash, grey ash, natural ash, and many others.
- Attractive appearance
- Resistant to wear
- Strong and durable
- Easy to maintain
- Not weather resistant
- Brittle structure
- Difficult to work with
- Not waterproof
Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets
Bamboo is sustainable and provides the look of natural wood. They can be harvested without destabilizing nature, given how fast bamboo plants grow. Bamboo can be as hard as oak or maple hardwoods.
Bamboo is characterized by distinctive linear grains with nodes and knuckles of the stalks. The material is resistant to chipping, dinging, and cracking. It gives you a natural warm hue that gives your kitchen a lasting fresh look.
Bamboo is readily available and can be sustainably harvested for furniture and kitchen cabinet constructions.
Blonde and honey are the commonly available bamboo kitchen cabinet shades. If you need a modern or sleek kitchen, opt for a natural or water-based finish.
Bamboo can be waterborne, stained, or natural. Any of these finishes gives you the best looks you need for any contemporary kitchen.
- Aesthetically appealing
- Paints very well
- Easy to clean
- Susceptible to scratching
- Dent easily
Birch Kitchen Cabinets
Birchwood cabinets are known for their affordability compared to other popular hardwoods such as maple. Birch kitchen cabinets will have a uniform appearance and no distinctive graining feature.
Birch is a hardwood that grows in many parts of the world. It’s durable with high tensile strength. Typically, birch is light brown or golden, honey-colored. It’s characterized by an irregular texture with a blotchy surface.
Birch is readily available, leading to the lower cost of the wood.
If you want a rich look from your kitchen cabinet, choose red birch. You may not have lack staining birch cabinets, but painting will be just as good.
Birch kitchen cabinets are not easy to stain. However, you can go for distressed or painted finishes. But if you are after aesthetics, then you better choose natural birch kitchen cabinets.
- Quiet grace
- Low cost
- Susceptible to scratches
- Hard to stain
Mahogany Kitchen Cabinets
Mahogany woods have been used in cabinetry for centuries and are the most expensive materials for kitchen cabinets. It’s also the best wood for cabinets, but only a few people can afford it.
Mahogany has straight, fine, and compact grains. Its appearance is mainly reddish-brown, which darkens over time. It’s easy to work with and very durable.
Mahogany is not readily available but can be found on demand. Its high price is partly contributed by its unavailability.
You can find mahogany antique-style cabinets or modern-style cabinets. Since these materials have been used for centuries, they are the best for traditional and rustic kitchen cabinets. However, the design and finishes can be adjusted for a more contemporary look.
Mahogany has a natural glossy finish but can be sprayed with lacquer for a duller finish.
- Unique look
- Excellent water-resistant property
Wood Cabinet Features to Consider
We have described different wood materials you can choose for your kitchen cabinets in the previous section. To make an ultimate decision, you need to consider the following factors:
- Grain: consider different grain styles and go for the one that most appeals to you. There are different grain patterns that you should study keenly before deciding.
- Color: many solid wood kitchen cabinets don’t come in their natural color. Painting or staining has a significant effect on the appearance.
- Construction: design and style of your drawers will determine the price tag because of the different amounts of material required. You may need to decide between dowels, dovetails, or rabbets, depending on your budget.
- Cost: varies depending on the factors mentioned above. The material, size, and design will affect the pricing.
Wood Cabinet Cost Guidelines
The cost of kitchen cabinets depends mainly on the material used, and the type of wood also influences the cost. Some of the ready-to-install kitchen cabinets can be priced at about $100 per linear foot. However, the cost can escalate to well over $300 per linear foot for custom designs and rarest types of woods.
The more expensive the type of wood material is, the higher the price. So, you can do a trade-off between quality and pricing to get the best value for your money.
Types of Wood Alternatives
Solid wood kitchen cabinets are expensive and beyond the reach of many homeowners. If that is the case, you can choose from the alternatives available. They may not look as classy and elegant as solid wood but also give you equally attractive cabinets at a much lower cost.
There are many solid wood alternatives for kitchen cabinet construction, including the following:
Wood Alternative Features to Consider
- Availability: the wood-alternative chosen should be available. The availability influences the cost, and you should always consider that.
- Durability: going for the alternatives doesn’t mean you need cabinets with a short lifespan. You still need the best return on your investment regarding durability.
- Door style: this will influence your choice of solid wood alternatives because not all of them can be curved. You may be limited to a flat door front.
Wood Alternative Cost Guidelines
Wood alternatives are much cheaper. You can be asked for about $50 to $75 per linear foot, but that still depends on the style and design. The most expensive option is the high-pressure laminate because of its high durability. If you’re working on a tight budget, then you can consider thermofoil. These are the cheapest, going for about $35 to $45 per linear foot.
Manufactured wood products known as substrates are hidden behind laminate, vinyl film, or wood veneers. Here are the various types used:
It’s engineered wood that results from the mixing of resin and wood particles. Those are bonded under high pressure. This advanced manufacturing technology makes particleboard strong, durable, and reliable building material.
You should always opt for high-grade particleboards because they hold hinges, nails, and screws better. They are also resistant to buckling and warping.
This type of material is made by sandwiching thin layers of wood with grains at right angles. Changing the orientation of the grains distributes strength uniformly throughout the board. The ingredients are glued together under high pressure.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is made through a similar process as particleboard. That difference is that finer wood fibers are used. MDF is superior to particleboard regarding screw holding power, clean edges, and smoothness of the surface. The edges can also be styled and painted.
You are in charge of your kitchen. The type of material for your kitchen cabinet will depend on your decision, which may be influenced by other factors. We have discussed the commonly used wood material for kitchen cabinet construction, stating the pros and cons. With that information, you can now make a sound decision when shopping for a new set of wood kitchen cabinets.
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