How to Choose the Best Wood for Your Cabinets

Apr 22nd 2021

This video and accompanying blog covers the woods that are most often used for cabinet doors. When it comes to wood kitchen cabinets, cabinet doors require a wood that can stand up to regular use and high humidity. You want a door that can handle grubby hands slamming it shut in a hot kitchen full of steam. As such, the best wood for kitchen cabinets is typically hardwood, because it stands up well to daily use. 

Which Woods Are the Best Wood for Kitchen Cabinets?

The first four of the most popular woods used for wood kitchen cabinets include alder, oak, maple, and paint grade. is committed to using the best wood for kitchen cabinets so that we can produce a high quality product for our customers.

Let’s take a look at the four most popular wood species used for wood kitchen cabinets, and learn a bit more about why each wood species is among the best wood for kitchen cabinets.

The Best Wood for Painted Cabinets: Paint Grade

If you know for certain that you’ll be painting your wood kitchen cabinets, rather than staining or using a clear finish, the best wood for painted cabinets is probably our paint grade wood. Our paint grade wood kitchen cabinets are usually made from a poplar frame, with an MDF panel.

Poplar is widely available, growing throughout the eastern United States. This medium density wood is often chosen for paint grade furniture and cabinetry as it tends to be quite affordable, versatile, and extremely easy to work with. Because poplar takes paint, and other finishes, extraordinarily well, it’s among the best wood for painted cabinets available.

We use MDF in many of the panels in our paint grade wood kitchen cabinets because it paints incredibly well, creating a smooth finish with the poplar frame. If you need the best wood for painted cabinet doors, consider paint grade wood kitchen cabinets.

The Best Wood for Cabinets: Alder

Alder grows primarily in the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon, Washington State, and into British Columbia. Although alder is classified as a hardwood, it is a fairly soft hardwood with medium density, and is softer than oak and maple. Alder is often used more in the western states, but is becoming more popular and more available in the central and eastern states.

Alder’s grain is generally straight, with a moderately fine, uniform texture. This wood has excellent working properties, making it a good choice for wood kitchen cabinets, and as a result, it’s becoming very popular in the cabinet industry. It has excellent finishing properties, too, but care is needed when staining. Like maple, alder requires proper wood sealing to prevent a blotchy and uneven finish.

The Best Wood for Cabinets: Oak

The oaks are divided into red oaks and white oaks. Contrary to what you might think, the names don’t accurately indicate color as the white oaks tend to be grayer in color, while the red oaks vary from reddish brown to wheat in color.

White oak is commonly used in whisky barrels, wet environments, and cargo truck flooring, while red oaks are typically used in furniture and cabinets. Red oak is a hard and heavy wood, which works well and stains well, making it one of the best choices for wood kitchen cabinets.

The heartwood in red oak is a light to medium brown, commonly with a reddish cast. Sapwood is nearly white to light brown, depending mainly on the growth region. Red oak is subdivided into three growing regions; Southern, Appalachian, and Northern. Because of the climate, the southern oaks grow the fastest and the northern oaks the slowest. The slower growth and cooler climate makes the northern oaks superior as a furniture wood.

We use the best-of-the-best red oak which is sustainably grown in the private forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, and color-sorted to our specifications.

The Best Wood for Cabinets: Maple

Maple is a widely available wood, primarily found in the eastern United States. Because maple prefers to grow in colder weather, it’s typically found in the northern Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states.

Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of hard maple lumber is most commonly used rather than its heartwood. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color. Our select maple is color-sorted and only the white sapwood is used in our cabinet doors.

The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown and is seldom used in cabinets. The grain in maple is generally straight, with a fine, even texture. Maple finishes to an attractive light color with polyurethane alone; however, it can be tricky to stain correctly. Because maple is a tight, closed grain wood, it requires experience to stain without looking blotchy and uneven.

Hard maple is a hard and heavy wood, as the name indicates, and it has excellent strength. That makes it resistant to abrasions and wear and tear, so it is a particularly excellent choice for wood kitchen cabinets.

Choosing the Best Wood for Cabinets from

Ready to explore what’s available to you? The Door Stop has hundreds of cabinet door styles, where you can get high quality, custom-sized doors for your wood kitchen cabinets at a great price.

Because The Door Stop is the manufacturer, we can build doors to your specifications and send them right to you. That means you won’t have to bother with a retail middleman, and you won’t have to pay the retail markup either. Instead, you’ll get high quality cabinet doors, made from the best wood for cabinets, and they’ll be sized and finished precisely as you need them. You can even have hinge holes bored for you, and get Soft Close Blum Hinges with your order, so you’re ready to install your new cabinet doors as soon as possible.

Visit our website,, to view a variety of cabinet door styles available in many different wood species. You can explore the price of each style and wood species for custom-sized doors, too. Once you’ve chosen a style and wood species that works for your wood kitchen cabinets project, you can order online and have your order shipped directly to your front door in a few short weeks.

Contact and Enjoy New Wood Kitchen Cabinets Today

At, we believe in making every step of the process as easy as possible for you. We work hard to ensure you can get a custom look with a high quality product, without the hassle or high cost of working with a big box retailer. You get a great product at a great price, and it all comes right to your door.

We’ve been in the cabinet door business for more than 40 years and we’ve produced millions of doors for customers across the country, and in other countries, too. You can trust our experience and know-how to provide you with exactly what you need. Contact us at 1-800-342-1010 for more information or to get answers to any questions you might have. When it comes to cabinet doors, always delivers.

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