I have a new construction house here in the Northwest (kinda entry level
house) - the builder let me choose birch or oak for cabinets (kitchen and
bath vanities). Price is the the same.
Oak grain seems to me course and rough while birch is fine and smooth but
both look fine for me. Color will be lighter with either wood (natural oak
or natural birch), for that matters.
Can anyone give some suggestion to choose? Which is better, in terms of
durability and later easier resale? (more poeple like the one or the other?)
Most of the cabinet will probably be made of plywood and/or particle
board. Only the face frames and door frames are actually wood - IF
you're lucky. It probably makes little difference concerning
durability as to which wood type is chosen - it's a personal
preference thing. I prefer oak, maple and cherry. Birch looks a
little bland after a while.
Congrats on the house!
It's a wash IMO for durability... for resale, oak cabinets 'sound' better in
a listing than birch cabinets because most people perceive oak as being high
Oak tends to be more traditional looking with pronounced grain while birch
can offer a contemporary look or traditional look just by changing the
For my taste, I'd go with birch but that may be because I am tired of
looking at my oak cabinets with the cheesy (plywood looking) veneer end
: I have a new construction house here in the Northwest (kinda entry level
: house) - the builder let me choose birch or oak for cabinets (kitchen and
: bath vanities). Price is the the same.
: Oak grain seems to me course and rough while birch is fine and smooth but
: both look fine for me. Color will be lighter with either wood (natural oak
: or natural birch), for that matters.
: Can anyone give some suggestion to choose? Which is better, in terms of
: durability and later easier resale? (more poeple like the one or the
: Thank you.
SWMBO hated those crappy looking vinyl end panels on the sides of our
otherwise solid oak kitchen cabinets, so when I refinished them last
year, besides upgrading all the hardware, I wrapped our island and all
the base-cabinet visible end panels with solid oak raised panel frames.
On the top cabinets, we felt raised panels didn't look quite right, so
I resawed some solid oak panels I glued up to produce a 1/4 "
bookmatched thin panel which I applied to the ends. I know that I could
have used plywood, but we were trying to get away from that look.
They look great and gave the 17 yr old cabinets a fresh new look with
minimum investment compared to new ones.
I simply "resawed" some 1x8 oak baords, then ran a thin bead of glue
down each (jointed) edge & clamped them up, trying to be careful with
the possible bowing. When dried, I ran them through the planer with
"bad side up". This got me close to what I needed with my cheap 12"
Delta planer (I needed to trm them a bit to fit through the planer, but
as I recall, the uppers only needed about 11+ inches of panel). Sanded
the good side smooth with 220 & a ROS.
I saw David Marks gluing up some thin boards like this and it
"inspired" me to try it.
To attach them:
I first fitted them to each end cabinet - each was different, so I use
a LA block plane & scribed to get a tight fit. The stiles of the
cabinets extended probably 3/8", so my objective was that the panels
should have a little 1/8" reveal when attached and not be "proud" of
the end stile. Then, I brad nailed the very top (to be covered by the
new 3/4" cabinet moulding) and ran several beads of silicone caulk on
the back. I held each in contact with the old veneer PB with Jorgensen
cabinet clamps set on each shelf level (use a 2x4 caul to apply
pressure evenly) & let set for 4-6 hours.
It worked out really well and looks many times better than the old
Almost forgot - I finished, stained & poly-ed (?) each panel before
This is a common dilema when building. Same thing with floor
coverings, etc... What I would like to know is...who's house is it?
Who's going to be living there? Who's paying for it? Why do people
choose to go this route when building a home? This whole subject
really bothers me. I guess that's why I don't offer contractor
kickbacks or discounts in my business.
Resale always has to have some consideration, unless someone will live
there until they die and don't care about the estate selling the home.
For the most part, I didn't consider resale when my house was built,
except I added two unfinished bedrooms. It would be extremely difficult
to sell a $275,000 house with one bedroom. (Maybe not in California, but
in this market.)
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