If you’ve been thinking about renovating your home and are shopping around for new kitchen cabinet doors, classic solid wood is most likely high up on your list. And why wouldn’t it be? While many design fads come and go, wooden cabinets have stood the test of time in terms of durability and design. Furthermore, they come in countless choices, are easily customizable, and are relatively low maintenance, which means there is something for everybody.
There are a few main factors to consider when choosing a type of wood for your cabinets: type (hardwood or softwood), grain, color, style and of course, availability.
Hardwoods include birch, oak, maple, cherry and hickory, which are all broad-leafed trees that typically lose their leaves on an annual basis. The name is something of a misnomer, because hardwoods are classified as such according to the way they reproduce, rather than the density of the wood. That being said, hardwood also happens to be typically quite dense and sturdy – more so than the average softwood tree. As such, the wood can split if you attempt to simply hammer in a nail using shear force. Drilling is the method of choice.
Softwoods typically come from evergreens, including pine, spruce and cedar. Unlike hardwoods, which are flowering types, softwoods are conifers – they produce cones. This type of wood is generally very smooth, with very little grain indentations. It also happens to be generally less dense and easier to cut than hardwood varieties, making it suitable for general purpose construction use. However, there are softwood varieties that are also quite hard, such as yew.
Grain refers to the different patterns, markings, texture and alignment found in natural wood. Grain is distinctive in the same way human beings have unique thumbprints. This is why even the best laminate cabinets cannot really mimic the look of wood – there is simply no reproducing the infinite unique variations of true wood grain.
Different terms are used to describe grain, including:
- Fine (inconspicuous markings)
- Straight (vertical or straight markings)
- Cross (parallel lines)
- Spiral (patterns shaped like tornadoes or funnels)
- Wavy patterns
- Curly (circular patterns)
- Arch (inverted “v” or “u” shaped patterns)
Different types of trees provide different colored wood, and even within the same species or within the same tree, you will notice slight variations in shades. Given how much variation exists out there, you shouldn’t have any problem finding just the right cabinets for your kitchen remodelling job. There are golden yellows, browns and reds, purple toned blacks, and just about everything in between. You could even select antique woods, which fits right in with the trendy modern-rustic style seen in many homes and businesses these days.
Popular wood types
There are many different kinds of hardwoods and softwoods out there for you to choose from when renovating your home. Some of the most popular include:
- Maple: This is a sturdy hardwood with a smooth, fine grain, uniform color and ranges from creamy white to light tan. It is not a good option for staining.
- Red Oak: Oak is a versatile, durable hardwood that is great for stains and finishes, ranging from light pink to light brown, with the occasional greenish tones.
- Cherry: Cherry is a hardwood that may go from reddish-brown to grey. It has plenty of rich patterns and variations, which make it quite visually appealing.
- Walnut: This hardwood is sturdy and beautiful, with striking grain patterns and coloring that ranges from dark brown to deep, purplish black. It is receptive to stains, though because it is dark, the effects will be quite subtle.
- Alder: Alder is considered a hardwood,however it is on the softer end of the scale, which makes it great for staining and finishing. It is also more susceptible to denting. Colors range from darker brown to pale red, with a straight, even-textured grain.
Beyond color and grain, kitchen cabinet doors come in different designs which may or may not be suitable for your home. Some popular kitchen cabinet design styles are:
- Shaker style cabinets
- Flat cabinets
- Inset cabinets
- Louvered style cabinets
Your budget will play a big role in determining which styles you can choose from, but some of the most popular styles are also budget friendly, so don’t fret!
While you might be madly in love with a particular wood or cabinet style that you found on Pinterest or on Instagram, you may not necessarily be able to find the same ones in your area. However, similar alternatives might be available, or custom cabinets might also be an option. Feel free to ask what we can do to make kitchen dreams a reality!