Hardest and Durable Wood to Use for Kitchen Cabinets

Hardest and Durable Wood to Use for Kitchen Cabinets | Image Credit: futurecdn.net
Hardest and Durable Wood to Use for Kitchen Cabinets | Image Credit: futurecdn.net

Have you ever wondered why certain cabinets, even of the same style, cost more than others? This is so because a wide variety of materials are used to make cabinets. Higher-end cabinets are usually composed of materials that are more long-lasting and robust than cheaper cabinets, which are made of less durable materials.

The kind of wood species and finish are the two most important factors to consider when selecting durable wood for your next cabinetry project.

It’s challenging to determine which cabinets are more durable than another when there are so many options available online. The type of wood used in a cabinet is one of the primary factors influencing its longevity. You may take a sample to a nearby lumber yard to find out what species of wood was used to make your cabinets if you’re unsure. To identify the species, you will usually need to examine the color, grain, and texture of the wood.

Related Article: How many times can wood flooring be sanded and refinished?

Wood species types

Imagine being surrounded by billions of trees—yes, billions—while you’re in the Amazon Rainforest! Thousands of wood species, both domestic and foreign, are now recognized. Wood is a necessary element in our daily existence. It is employed in the construction of shelter, papermaking, and fuel burning. As you can see, different wood types are used for different things. Specifically, furnishings in this instance. Professional carpenters utilize domestic wood species to construct our cabinets.

We provide 14 distinct species of domestic wood for selection. Among them are Alder, Walnut, Cherry, Maple, Pecan, Red Oak, White Oak, Hickory, and Rustic Knotty Alder.

Major Wood Species

Image Credit: cabinetnow.com

Every domestic wood species is distinct and may be made to order for any home renovation or refacing job. This page will show you many possibilities, such alder natural and alder select, for the same wood species. Despite their differing cuts, they are the same wood.

Select vs. Natural Wood

Select wood has few to no defects and less color variation than natural wood, which has more knots, color variations, and overall more natural appearance. The best wood to paint is usually selected wood.

Wood SpeciesGrain, Color, and Texture Description
Rustic Knotty AlderRusty knotty Alder is a smooth, golden wood with knots that are dark brown and scattered throughout the grain. The combination of the straight grain pattern and the rich brown knots gives the wood a rustic appearance.
Alder NaturalA softer hardwood tree that develops in a cone form is the alder. The color shifts from dark brown to light brown when exposed to air. Alder natural is appropriate for home use because of its uniform grain pattern and feel.
Alder SelectAlder Select is a wonderful option for painting because of its brown hue, linear grain pattern, and fine-grained look.
WalnutA heavier wood species with a rich, dark brown color is walnut. Walnut is a thicker hardwood with a finely grained pattern, whereas alder wood is softer. It has a polished appearance similar to veneer.
Cherry NaturalThe color of cherry natural wood varies with time and sun exposure, from a light pinkish brown to a bright red brown. Cherry Natural is a softer hardwood that has certain inherent qualities like pin knots and color variation, but overall a regular grain pattern. The texture is smoother with a softer hardwood.
Cherry SelectThe color of Cherry Select varies from a pale red brown to a light pinkish brown. Cherry Select has a uniform color and texture throughout the wood, whereas Cherry Natural has more organic features like pin knots and color variance.
Maple NaturalMost people select Maple wood for painting because of its extremely light, milky tint. This hardwood is called Maple Natural. Because of the light tone, the general consistent grain pattern and texture are not as noticeable.
Maple Paint GradeMaple hardwood intended for painting is known as maple paint grade. Its smooth texture is ideal for painting, and it has few to no knicks and knots in its grain pattern.
Maple SelectMaple Select features a smooth consistency, finely grained pattern, and the same light hue as maple natural, with less color fluctuations.
Pecan SelectThe hardwood Pecan Select has a golden color with reddish undertones. It is a thick wood with a more gritty feel and linear grain.
Red Oak NaturalRed Oak Natural is a dense hardwood with a gritty feel and a linear grain pattern. The color is pale brown to crimson brown in range.
Red Oak SelectWith the exception of a more consistent texture and grain pattern, Red Oak Select and Red Oak Natural are comparable.
White Oak SelectLike red oak, White Oak Select is derived from an oak tree. The grain pattern of white oak is straight, and its feel is gritty. The color is between tan and light brown. It’s a really thick hardwood.
HickoryA hickory tree produces hickory. It is a reddish-brown hardwood that is quite thick. Hickory has a gritty feel and a straight grain.

Cabinet Sturdiness

The sort of wood species you choose to buy will mostly determine how durable the cabinets are. Thus, how can one determine which species of wood is the most resilient? You identify the type of wood as either softwood or hardwood. The tree that the wood comes from can be used to identify this. Don’t worry, though; we’ve analyzed every domestic wood species and ranked them from most to least durable. First though, what distinguishes hardwood from softwood?

What Separates Hardwood From Softwood

Hardwood and softwood are the two categories of wood. According to Home Depot, the Janka Rating System, which establishes a wood’s density, is used by the wood industry to identify the most durable wood. A tree is considered hardwood if its seeds have a hard coating, whereas softwood trees have cones and needles. Softwood is indicated if the wood dents when your fingernail is pressed into it. Hardwood will not ding when your fingernail is pressed against it.

Softwood is more affordable since it is more readily available due to its faster rate of growth than hardwood trees. Despite this, hardwood is more resilient than softwood.

Image Credit: woodco.com

List of the Hardest and Durable Wood

The majority of wood is strong enough to be utilized for furniture, especially cabinets, however some wood species are more durable than others because of the difference in density between hardwood and softwood.

The total amount of wood in a unit volume is its density. According to MT Copeland, the water capacity of wood is found by dividing the ratio of freshly cut wood, which retains a significant amount of moisture, by wood that has been exposed to air for a period of time, allowing moisture to evaporate. This helps determine the density of the wood. The more strength that wood can endure, the higher its density. Strength and durability decrease with decreasing density.

1. Hickory

The hardest wood used in homes is hickory. Because of its strength and hardness, hickory is one of the strongest domestic wood species you can buy. Due to its status as a premium timber species, it is usually more costly. It can fight against cracks, scratches, and water damage. With a lengthy lifespan, this hardwood is an excellent purchase if you want your cabinets to last for many years.

2. Pecan

Because pecans are derived from hickory trees, they belong to the hickory family. Because of its endurance, it is also regarded as a high-end, costly wood. Pecan is a hardwood that’s frequently utilized for kitchen cabinets since it may be used for a variety of applications. Pecan wood is a great option for durable cabinets since it is resistant to dampness, dents, scratches, and rot.

3. White Oak

One of the strongest hardwoods available for cabinets is oak. White oak is a fantastic material choice for contemporary kitchens and cabinetry projects since the grain of the wood is sufficiently distinct to show through stains. White oak is one of the most resilient wood types for home use and has a long lifespan if you want to prevent wear and tear and moisture damage.

4. Red Oak

One of the most resilient wood types for almost anything, notably furniture, red oak belongs to the family of oak trees and species. Red oak is a sturdy timber that is impervious to harm. It is the best wood that you can get for cabinets.

5. Maple

One of the strongest domestic hardwoods is maple wood. It has excellent moisture resistance, is knick- and scratch-resistant, and can support a lot of weight. Because of its extremely high density, this oak is a long-lasting and sturdy choice for cabinets.

6. Walnut

Being one of the densest hardwood species, walnut wood is a sturdy choice for furniture, especially cabinets. Even though it lacks the hardness of oak, hickory, or maple, it is still a hardwood that resists normal dents and scratches and has an impermeable layer that is excellent for moisture resistance.

7. Cherry

Cherry wood is less dense than tougher hardwoods since it is regarded as a softer hardwood. Cherry cabinets are still strong, nonetheless, and as such are regarded as reliable cabinets. Cherry wood is more prone to dents and scratches since it is a softer hardwood, but its hues make scratches easier to hide.

8. Alder

Alder is regarded as the softest timber available. Despite being lightweight, its consistent texture and homogeneous wood grain make it a sturdy alternative for cabinets. It’s softer wood makes it more prone to dents and scratches, but surprisingly, it’s still a durable option for cabinet doors in particular.

Endures for Sturdy Durable Wood

Not only can a finish improve the look of your raw wood cabinets, but it may also help preserve the wood. While wood species is the most crucial consideration when selecting a durable wood for your cabinetry, the finish you select for your cabinets is also very significant. A finish, such as paint, stain, primer, or clear coat, seals and shields the wood against water damage, rotting, scuffs, and scratches. There are several approaches to applying a finish to your cabinets.

Techniques for Finishing Wood Cabinet Doors:

  • On an untreated wood door, clear coat
  • Wood door stain
  • Paint, primer, and clear coat

Expert carpenters may also provide you with unfinished wood doors that you can DIY and finish yourself. Alternatively, you buy completed doors. We have white pre-primed wood doors ready for painting, wood doors with a clear coat already applied, and completely completed doors with Sherwin Williams paint colors applied to the primer, paint, and clear coat.

Studying wood is fascinating. It is an organic, fibrous tissue that is taken from a live tree. Wood is a material that is susceptible to air, light, and sun exposure. Since the wood is not attached to a living tree, it is subject to alter if forestry cutting techniques are used to a tree’s trunk. According to Chiltons, all hardwood has a natural aging process during which the color of the wood slightly changes. Lighter woods age to a darker hue and darker woods age to a lighter tint when exposed to air and light.

Wood will naturally age, but because a finish creates a barrier between the wood and the air, it can help slow down the aging process. Investing in a high-quality finish is the best choice as it will eventually help stop the wood from rotting.

In addition to delaying the aging process, applying a finish helps shield against water damage, stains, scratches, and dings. Adding an additional layer of protection between your raw wood and outside factors might save you a lot of bother if your home is often used and moves about a lot. This will shield your raw wood from deterioration.

When looking for a finish for wood, polyurethane, varnish, and lacquer are all excellent options because of their moisture resistance.

If you like to showcase the natural wood grain while selecting the finish for your project, a stain combined with a clear coat is a fantastic choice. If you want your custom cabinet boxes and wood cabinet doors to have a certain color, a priming and paint finish finished with a clear coat is the best option.

Why Is Wood Durability Important?

You should make sure you receive the best value for your money and effort, therefore it’s crucial to complete your homework. Every cabinet job is unique to the person working on it. The quality is what distinguishes a decent cabinet, which is why we are here to provide you with the information you need to make your cabinets last for many years.

Wood’s density and durability are important because they may assist you choose the right wood species for your project depending on external considerations like the nearby population, climate, and cabinetry project. Durability is important whether you’re searching for wood that will last a long time or that will save you money.

Although it’s a crucial consideration, cabinet durability is sometimes disregarded when updating or looking for new cabinets. The density and longevity of the wood itself are determined by the distinct qualities that each species of wood possesses. Alder is the softest wood and might be useful for someone searching for a more affordable option, even though oak is one of the hardest hardwoods and would benefit a project looking for decades of use. Everything is up to own taste!

Select a hardwood like oak, hickory, or maple, add a finish, and you should have high-quality, long-lasting wood cabinets for many years to come!


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