Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pros and Cons of Pine, Hickory, and Alder Cabinets

The pros and cons of three lesser-known cabinet wood types.

Pine has a long, continuous grain that offers a rugged look. Its natural appearance lends itself particularly well to country-style kitchens.


  • Price. Pine is inexpensive compared to other wood types.
  • Takes paint well. Because of its smooth texture, pine looks beautiful when painted.
  • Natural appearance. Pine develops a nice, rustic patina from age and use.
  • Moisture resistant. Pine resists shrinking and swelling.


  • Dents easily. Because pine is a softwood, it is prone to scratches and dents.
  • Choose in person. Because the surface of pine cabinets can have many knots, it is recommended to choose pine cabinets in person.

Hickory, also known as “Pecan,” is a member of the walnut family. It is grown in the eastern U.S. and is the hardest, heaviest, and strongest American wood species. Hickory has a unique appearance with intense color variation from near white to dark brown often in the same board.


  • Strength and hardness. Hickory is tougher and stronger than maple and oak.
  • Unique appearance. Hickory's eye-catching appearance is sure to make any kitchen look attractive and customized.


  • Gentle care. Cleaning hickory cabinets requires gentle care. Hickory cannot be scoured with any kind of abrasive cleaner or cleaning utensil.
  • Price. Hickory is more expensive than other cabinet wood types.

Alder, sometimes called “poor man’s cherry,” has light red tones, a soft grain pattern, and offers an appearance similar to that of cherry.


  • Cost. Alder is less expensive than cherry and provides a similar aesthetic appearance.
  • Darkens less over time. Alder does not darken as much as cherry over time.


  • Softer than cherry. Alder is not as hard as cherry. If something a little more dent resistant is preferred, opt for cherry. If the possibility of denting is less of a concern, then alder is a great, cost-effective option.

Summing up.
While there are a variety of cabinet wood types to choose from, and each one has its own list of pros and cons, the main differences between cabinet wood types are price and aesthetic appearance. The primary question to ask yourself is,"what do you think looks best?" What will make you fall in love with your space and breathe a sigh of relief when you walk into your kitchen, bathroom, or other room in your home?

I hope this was helpful and aided your investigation into finding the right cabinets for your home! Stay tuned for next month's blog post where we'll talk about the differences in aesthetic appearance between cabinet wood types. We might even include tips on how to pair cabinets with granite counter tops!

Until next time!

If there's something you'd like to see us cover in a future blog post, please leave a comment with your request below!