Hardwood Vs. Softwood Cabinets: Pros and Cons of Each

hardwood softwood cabinets pros cons

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basic differences between hardwood and softwood kitchen cabinets. Mostly speaking to the kinds of trees used to source the material, but also referring to several specific qualities of the wood itself, these are two important designations you should know about if you’re thinking of installing new cabinets. 

At HBI General Contractor, we’re happy to offer quality cabinet remodeling and selection services, bringing clients the vital information they need to know about their options so they can make the best choice. Today’s part two of our series will go over the pros and cons of each of these types for your kitchen cabinet needs, plus how to make your final selection.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Hardwood

There are several major benefits of using hardwood for your kitchen cabinets:

  • Durability: Because it has no resin, hardwood is highly resistant to scratches and other damage. It can chip, sure – but it’s a lot tougher than softwood, and this is one of the key reasons why hardwood cabinets are so popular.
  • Attractive appearance: All wood looks beautiful in the right setting, of course. But hardwood is especially known for its rich grains and warm tones that complement any décor style.
  • Ease of cleaning: As we noted before, the lack of resin in hardwood means that it’s easier to clean and won’t trap dust or dirt particles the way softwood can.
  • Low odor emissions: Hardwood is less likely to emit toxic fumes or other unpleasant odors when exposed to heat or other circumstances.

Of course, hardwood doesn’t come without its downsides. Price is the biggest consideration, of course; since it’s rarer and more difficult to source than softwood due to growing conditions, you can expect a higher cost for hardwood cabinetry. That’s not to say that it’s too expensive for most budgets, just that you’ll need to be prepared for the outlay required.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Softwood

On the flip side, softwood has several benefits as well:

  • More affordable: By a wide margin, softwood is cheaper than hardwood. The main reason for this is simply because it’s more plentiful and easier to source. 
  • Better availability: If you need your cabinets quickly, softwood is the way to go. It’s a lot easier to source and source quickly, meaning that if you call HBI General Contractor today, we’ll be able to get you set up with cabinetry faster than with hardwood.

At the same time, softwoods contain natural resins, which gives them a few disadvantages. They are more likely to warp than hardwood, for instance, and also may lead to more issues with asthma or other respiratory conditions. They’re also more likely to chip and scratch, meaning you’ll need to be careful with them – though they can still be sanded down and refinished if necessary.

How to Choose the Right Option for Your Kitchen

The best way to choose between hardwood and softwood cabinets is simply to weigh the pros and cons of each and determine which side is most important to you. If you want high-quality, durable cabinets that will look beautiful, then hardwood might be for you – but if price is more of a concern or you need your cabinets quickly, softwood could be the better option. 

Ultimately, though, there’s no right or wrong choice here. For more on selecting between hardwood and softwood for your kitchen cabinet needs, or to learn about any of our cabinet remodeling services, speak to the pros at HBI General Contractor today.