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Wood is the oldest and most popular material for cabinets.
Its natural beauty and wide range of colors, grains and styles
make it a perfect candidate for adding elegance to any room of
the home. It is also a strong material which allows it to
withstand heavy loads and the normal wear and tear of daily life
in the kitchen, bathroom, closet or wherever your cabinets may
be. Nearly all cabinet manufacturers have a line of wood
cabinets so as a consumer you have a large selection to choose
Wood Stains, Dyes, Finishes, and Glazes
Using stains and dyes are a great way to
customize the look of your wood cabinets. So what is the
difference between a stain and a dye? On a technical level, stains have much larger
particles that do not penetrate the wood whereas dyes have much
smaller particles that are able to fully penetrate the wood.
For this reason, when a dye is applied it will not mask the wood
grain as much as a stain will. The density of the wood
will determine how well a stain can adhere to the surface. Further, depending on how
long you leave the stain on the wood before wiping or brushing
it off, you can really alter the wood's natural color. The longer
the stain particles are allowed to adhere to the grain the
darker the stain will be.
Once you've applied your dye or stain to the
wood, the last step is applying a finish and, if desired, a
glaze. Applying a finish or sealer will lock in the color
you have generated from the stain or dye. If you choose to
use a glaze, you can even alter the actual color of the wood.
This is a good alternative to simply painting the cabinets since
the glaze still allows the wood grain to shine through.
Wood Species Visual Chart
When it comes to figuring out what style of wood cabinets is
going to work best for you, it is important to first identify the
species of woods that you have to choose from. Each
species will have a different color, grain pattern, and density.
You should ask yourself questions like: Am I looking for a darker more intimate setting? Or,
do I want to create the appearance of a larger space by using
lighter and more open looking colors? For your benefit, we
have put together the best wood species chart for you below that
separates your options into dark colors and light colors.
What is Wood Veneer?
While investigating your options for
cabinets, you are likely to come across the term wood veneer as
an alternative to a solid wood cabinet. With veneer,
strips of wood are glued to a core material such as plywood,
fiberboard or particle board. There are few key benefits
to this type of material. The first benefit is price.
Wood veneer cabinets typically come at a lower cost than solid
wood. Second is strength. Given the multiple layers
of wood that are securely glued together, oftentimes the end
result can be stronger and more durable. Lastly, the
veneer panels that are glued to to the core are usually cut from
the most interesting and beautiful pieces of wood. You
can't always make a solid wood cabinet out of a particular cut
if that cut is structurally not sound. With veneer,
however, you are only looking for a thin layer to glue to a
center core so that layer can be beautiful but not necessarily
the most structurally sound. Best of all, with wood veneer
you still get a wide array of wood species to choose from and
your cabinets will appear no different than solid wood cabinets.
No Cabinet is Perfect
There are a few important drawbacks to
understand about wood. Being a natural material, over time
it does show its age in a couple of ways. First, if it is
exposed to sunlight, its color will alter or fade over time.
Using certain finishes and sealers can help prevent this from
happening. Second, as wood is exposed to hot and cold, it
tends to expand and contract which can cause warping. This
is why older drawers and cabinets do not open and close as
easily as the new ones.
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