Maple Cabinets Vs Oak – Which One To Go For & Why?

Many people get confused between maple cabinets vs oak and rightfully so. Even though the differences between these two are limited, they are significant enough to influence the decision.

Oak is comparatively more durable than maple for kitchen cabinets. Oak is more expensive than maple too. These two options are also very different when it comes to appearance.

Let me dive into further details to help you go with the right choice.

Maple Cabinets Vs Oak

Maple Cabinets Vs Oak: Comparison Table

Subject Of DifferenceMaple CabinetsOak Cabinets
Suitable TypeHard mapleWhite and red oak
DurabilityComparatively less durableComparatively more durable
StainingHard to stainComparatively easier to stain
PriceComparatively cheaperComparatively more expensive

Maple Cabinets Vs Oak: 5 Differences

As I have mentioned before, the differences aren’t many. However, they’re enough to choose one between the options. So, without any further ado, let’s look at how they differ from each other.

1. Type

Understanding the types of both maple and oak is important before using them for making kitchen cabinets. There are two types of maple, soft maple, and hard maple. Note that only hard maple can be used for cabinets.

As for oak, this one also has two types called white oak and red oak. Both of them are hardwood and used for kitchen cabinets. However, red oak is more popular for a variety of reasons.

2. Style And Appearance

The most important difference that influences the choice between maple and oak is their style and appearance. One is not necessarily better than the other. It’s more about what the user prefers.

Maple is for people who want to modernize their kitchen. It comes with less character compared to oak and is comparatively lighter in color. The grain is pretty consistent so you won’t get a lot of visual patterns with maple.

These characteristics, along with maple’s ability to hide dust well make it a viable choice for contemporary homeowners. Now, let’s talk about oak.

Oak will offer you a variety of colors and patterns with its unique grain. Red oak and white oak will offer more color variation compared to maple. This gives oak an edge over maple. Then again, it is suitable for traditional interior.

Oak will offer your kitchen a certain look that may not suit modern kitchens. It can also be a disadvantage if you’re trying to resell the cabinets. Not everyone wants their kitchen to have a traditional outlook.

Note that hardwood is natural so you can’t expect the grains to be consistent in every piece. That’s actually one of the most beautiful things about hardwood cabinets.

3. Durability

Both options are durable without any argument. However, if you’re splitting hairs here, oak is certainly more durable and sturdy compared to maple. Again, in a comparison between white oak and red oak, white oak will win without a doubt when it comes to durability.

One thing to mention here is that durability is not always the attribute that users look for. A less durable option is not necessarily a weaker option than the other one. For instance, red oak is less durable than white oak. Yet, red oak is more widely used for kitchen cabinets than white oak.

In addition, both options are susceptible to crack. So, you’re not going to get anything extraordinary with either one.

4. Finishing

One of the biggest drawbacks of maple is that it’s very difficult to stain. That’s why it offers fewer color variations compared to oak. Oak, on the other hand, comes with a porous surface, which makes it very easy to stain.

Oak also comes with a more rough texture compared to maple. It also contributes to convenient staining options.

So, when you’re staining maple and oak, there will be a significant difference between the two. Oak will offer you a matte finish due to its rough surface. In comparison, maple offers more of a glossy finish when stained.

The scenery reverses in the case of painting. If you prefer painted surfaces with your kitchen cabinet, there can’t be a better option than maple. The uniform surface, along with straightforward grain make maple perfect for painting.

Oak will not be as even as maple. However, the surface you get with oak is also unique in its own way. If you prefer that, you can definitely consider painted oak.

5. Cost

As I have mentioned before, the price of oak is comparatively higher than maple. However, the price difference is not significant enough to become a factor. The cost of these options is also changeable, depending on multiple factors.

If you compare the prices of oak and maple, you will see that they keep fluctuating over time. For instance, maple was more expensive a few years back compared to oak. Now, the case is reversed.

The price of any type of hardwood depends on the area you live in, the manufacturer, and the availability of the wood. It also depends on what you want in your kitchen cabinets. The more complex your requirements are, the more expensive the cabinets will be.

Maple Cabinets Vs Oak: Similarities

There are a lot of similarities between these two options. For instance, both are inexpensive compared to other hardwood options. In addition, they are available almost everywhere.

Both maple and oak are very susceptible to cracks and dents. So, you will have to be careful when using them. If you’re going for a painted option, you will have to be extra careful not to scratch the surface.

Cleaning the kitchen cabinets will be a breeze, regardless of which option you go for. You won’t have to go through any extra hassle when you’re cleaning hardwood kitchen cabinets. Overall, both can be excellent options when you’re considering hardwood for kitchen cabinets.

Maple Cabinets Vs Oak: Which One Is Better?

There are a lot of differences and a lot of similarities between maple and oak. These features do not make one better than the other. So, it comes down to your preference.

If you are into modern and contemporary designs, maple is the best option for you. In comparison, oak will be suitable for traditional interior lovers.

When comparing the finishing options the choice will also be different. If you want your kitchen cabinets to be stained, oak will be a better choice than maple. In comparison, if you’re going for a painted surface, maple will be better.

Maple also offers a glossy finish when painted. On the contrary, oak is more matte due to its rough surface. This can also help you make the decision. If you want a glossy surface, choose painted maple. If not, go for oak.

Final Words

The argument between maple cabinets vs oak isn’t new. But the thing is, you will have to choose one depending on what you like. A kitchen cabinet is something that you will be using for many years to come. So, it’s always good to think it through before installing it. Many people consider the resale value, not their preference. This is not a recommended thing to do because the resale value drastically changes over time. So, you can’t get a guarantee that oak will sell for more compared to maple.

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