Wood and its natural characteristics will vary in color, texture and grain. We recommend viewing several cabinet door samples and displays to become familiar with the natural characteristics, and how the wood mellows and changes when exposed to sunlight.The most common cabinet wood species used in solid wood cabinet construction today are oak, maple, alder, cherry, or an HDF (high-density fiberboard) with a wood veneer.
Cherry hardwoods are admired for their rich, beautiful color, and uniform grain pattern, and bringing warmth to interiors. Cherry is one of our most popular wood species for kitchen cabinetry. The color will range from light to medium reddish brown with some areas of light creamy color. Cherry tends to fall at the higher end of the wood species price range for cabinets.
Maple is a popular option for its smooth texture and fine grain. It is a light-toned wood and varies in color from a creamy white to a light brown. Maple is very versatile and it's smooth texture makes it ideal for painted and stained finishes. With exposure to sunlight, Maple darkens a few shades. Maple falls in the middle of the wood species price range for cabinets.
Walnut is a smooth-grained wood with wavy grain patterns and a coarse texture that accepts finishes well. As walnut is exposed to sunlight, it lightens a few shades. Walnut has above average hardness and strength. It falls at the higher end of the wood species price range for cabinets.
Oak was the cabinet of choice in the 1970's through early 1990's and is starting to make a comeback with some of the glazing and distressing options available today. Oak has a natural color range from light creamy whites to light browns with pink or reddish hues. Oak is strong and durable, making it a good choice for families. Oak falls at the lower end of the wood species price range for cabinets.
White Oak is gaining popularity in both transitional and contemporary designs.
Alder wood is chosen for its rustic appearance. It has a uniform texture with natural characteristics of knots and mineral streaks and a smooth texture similar to cherry. With exposure to sunlight, it tends to lighten one shade. Knotty alder is in the middle for wood species price range for cabinets.
Hickory is known for its prominent grain and color variations ranging from light creams to dark browns. Hickory is a dense wood and is very strong, similar to oak, resisting wear very well. Hickory falls at the lower end of the wood species price range for cabinets.
Exotic veneers are available for transitional and contemporary designs to give high visual appeal. Bamboo is the only natural wood veneer, with the other options being engineered (Zebrawood, Walnut, Shale, and White Oak). Engineered veneers are environmentally friendly because sustainable wood species are utilized to achieve the "look" of the more exotic species.
HDF is produced by breaking down wood residuals into wood fibers which are then exposed to heat and pressure to form a fiberboard. HDF doesn't warp or crack in extreme temperatures or humidity. Made from very fine wood particles, HDF has less variability than wood and no noticeable grain which provides a smoother finish, especially when painted. HDF is much harder and denser than the more familiar MDF.