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Which Wood Type Should You Choose for Your Renovation

Oct 28th 2020

Wondering what kind of wood for cabinet doors is right for your home improvement project? If you’re doing a renovation in any room with cabinets, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make will be choosing the wood for cabinet doors. There are so many different types of wood available, and deciding what kind of wood you’d like best for your cabinet doors can be intimidating. To make your final choice, you’ll want to consider a number of different factors regarding what you’re looking for in the final result. The Door Stop has all the information you need to help you make the right choice for your wood for cabinet doors.


One of the first things to think about when you’re planning your renovation and exploring wood species for cabinets is the durability of the different types of wood. Each wood species for cabinets offers a different level of durability, which will ultimately be further impacted by the finishes you choose for your cabinet doors.

To start, consider the room in which these cabinets will be used. The wood for cabinet doors in a kitchen, for example, will need to be a lot more durable than the wood for cabinet doors in a closet. For high use areas like the kitchen and bathroom, look for hardwoods that are more durable and can stand up to everyday use in rooms that often get hot and steamy. Hardwoods like maple, hickory, and oak are able to withstand nicks and scratches much better than softer woods, which will ensure that your cabinet doors look beautiful for a good long time. Even once they begin to show wear and tear with regular use over the years, hardwood cabinet doors can be sanded and refinished for a fresh new look. Alternatively, if you prefer a more rustic or distressed style, softer woods like Alder can give you that lived-in look and will continue to gain character over time. 

Wood Grain Texture and Color

Wood grain texture and wood color will matter most to you if you intend to use a clear finish on your wood for cabinet doors. Since each wood species for cabinets also has different grain patterns each with different shades of wood color within the grain, these can be enhanced or highlighted, depending on the final finish you choose. Every cabinet door you order from The Door Stop comes to you sanded and unfinished, so you can finish them however you choose. If you’re not absolutely certain that you’ll be painting your cabinet doors for your renovation, make sure you choose a wood grain texture and color that you like so that stains or clear finishes are an option for you.

Here’s an overview of the wood grain texture and color of some of the wood species for cabinets to consider.

  • Alder: A light tan to reddish brown color, with a moderately fine and uniform wood grain texture that is similar to cherry, but a much softer wood
  • Ash: A light amber color, similar to oak, with a straight wood grain texture that is ideal for a more contemporary look
  • Cherry: A red to reddish brown color, which darkens with time, with a moderately fine wood grain texture and periodic pitch marks and small pin knots
  • Hickory: A creamy, pale yellow color, with a naturally two-toned wood grain texture
  • Maple: A nearly white to cream color, with a fine smooth wood grain texture
  • Oak: A golden color with a pronounced, courser, flame-like wood grain texture
  • White Birch: A white to creamy yellow color, with an indistinct wood grain texture that takes stain beautifully

Keep in mind that you can get knotty versions of several wood species for cabinets, including knotty alder, knotty cherry, knotty hickory, and knotty oak. Each of the knotty wood grain textures incorporates knots and other markings that give this wood a rustic character. These different types of wood are often less expensive, but may not hold up quite as well over the long term when compared to unblemished wood cabinet doors.

It’s also helpful to pay close attention to how well each of the different types of wood take finishes, including stain, lacquer, and paint, so that you know which type of wood grain texture is ideal for the final look you want.

Cabinet Door Finishes

When it comes to types of wood finishes, you have a variety of  different options depending on the type of wood species for cabinets you’ve selected, as well as the durability yhttps://www.cabinetdoors.com/pages/Cabinet-Doors.htmlou need in your wood finish. Here are your wood finish options for each type of wood to achieve the look you want, as well as what The Door Stop recommends for the most successful and lasting types of wood finishes.

  • Painted Wood Finish: If you’re interested in painting your cabinet doors with wood finish colors that can be customized to fit the style and design of the room you’re renovating, you’ll want to be careful about the types of wood you consider. If you intend to paint the wood for cabinet doors, choose a hardwood with a closed grain like maple or specified paint grade doors. Painted kitchen cabinet door styles can make a big impact in any room, but be aware that painted cabinets show more nicks and scratches, so they may not be as durable as a stained or clear finished cabinet door.
  • Clear Wood Finish: If you have purchased high quality wood for making cabinet doors for your space and you love the shades of wood, you may want to consider using a clear wood finish. Oak is often an excellent candidate for a clear lacquer wood finish, and Alder is often finished with a clear coat wood finish as well to bring out the wood’s character. Maple, hickory, and cherry also take a clear wood finish nicely, and since they tend to be more costly, it certainly makes sense to show off the quality of the wood. If you want to emphasize the natural shades of wood for cabinet doors in your room, a clear wood finish is an excellent choice.
  • Stained Wood Finish: If you want to stain the wood for cabinet doors, make sure you’ve chosen a wood that takes stain well. Many types of wood have variations in density across any given board and, when stained, these variations in density can cause blotchy patches where the stain penetrates more deeply in softer parts of the wood. Alder, birch, hickory, and maple tend to become blotchy when stained, so a different wood finish is preferable for these types of wood for cabinet doors. Cherry stains beautifully, however, as do both ash and oak.

Choosing the Ideal Combination for Your Wood Cabinet Door Styles

Now you know a little more about each factor that goes into considering what wood to use when it’s time to renovate kitchen cabinet doors, bathroom cabinet doors, or any other cabinet doors in your house. Combining your must-haves for durability, wood grain texture, shades of wood, and wood finish will help you arrive at the right types of wood for you and your renovation. Now you just have to look through the different options and styles.

The great news is that there are so many different types of wood available at a variety of price points so you’re sure to find wood cabinet door styles you love at The Door Stop. We are current offering an excellent selection of wood species, including alder, knotty alder, ash, cherry, knotty cherry, hickory, knotty hickory, oak, knotty oak, maple, white birch, and paint grade to meet your cabinet door needs.

Our high quality wood cabinet doors are a great way to make a big difference in your renovation project. No matter which room you’re remodeling, new cabinet doors make a huge impact and can change the look of the entire space. Find out more about any cabinet door wood type you’re considering for your renovation or what wood to use for kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, and more, by contacting us today at 1-800-342-1010 or Sales@CabinetDoors.com. We’re proud of our high quality products and we guarantee our workmanship. We look forward to helping you update your cabinet doors.

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