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Birch vs. Cherry Wood (For Furniture, Flooring, and Cabinets)

Here's a detailed comparison between birch and cherry to help you choose the right wood for your furniture, flooring, and cabinets. Each wood gives off a unique style of its own. Find out which one suits your taste.

Spacious kitchen filled with birch wood cabinets and a matching large table.

Home renovations can always be a decision nightmare; the choices that are available today are endless. Wood furnishings have always been a must in my home; it has always been a choice between Birch and Cherry wood for me. So I set out to weigh the two kinds of wood up against each other; which one is the better for my home, Birch vs. Cherry wood?

Birch wood is an affordable medium hardwood with a light golden to light brown color, suitable for furniture, hardwood flooring, and cabinets.  Cherry wood is a premium-priced soft hardwood with a pale pink to reddish-brown color ideal for furniture, flooring, and cabinets.

When choosing between Birch and Cherry wood, there is no clear winner; both kinds of wood have their strength and weakness. But which one is easiest to work with and, which one is more aesthetically pleasing, so let’s find out more!

Related: Birch vs. Beech | Poplar vs. Beech | Birch vs. Cedar | Oak vs. Birch | Cherry vs. Oak | Cherry vs. Pine | Cherry vs. Cedar | Types of Cherry Wood

Birch vs. Cherry Wood Aesthetics

Cherry wood with red rich color and darker grains.

When it comes to aesthetics, Cherry wood stands out with its beautiful red rich color, and the darker heart grains bring character to any room. Cherry can be easily stained and polished to a perfect shine.

Birch is golden to light brown wood with a fine darker grain that closely resembles Maple wood. Birch can be stained to almost any wood color but is not suitable for a glossy shine as it can have a rough texture.

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What are the Uses of Birch Wood and Cherry Wood

Birch wood is a golden-colored straight-grained hardwood that is locally grown and readily available. Birch comes in two forms, solid or plywood, suitable as a veneer for cheaper wood.

Cherry wood is a pink to reddish-brown, very fine strait grain hardwood. It is softer than Birch and is slightly easier to manage. The wood is locally grown, and availability is good.

Birch and Cherry Wood Furniture

Close-up of a chair made out of birch wood.

Birch is a good choice for furniture manufacturing as it has an attractive pattern and is robust and elastic. It is easy to work with and can be smoothed, stained, and painted.

Well-maintained Cherry wood furniture will last generations and will continue to darken with age, giving it a rich and warm appeal. The wood is sought after by carpenters to show off their hand carving skills to create unique furniture.

Birch and Cherry Wood Flooring

Bright living room with dark wood furnishings over the cherry wood flooring.

Birch flooring can withstand a medium amount of foot traffic. Birch wood creates a unique floor look with its fine long grains and darker heartwood patterns. You can easily install the flooring as it can be glued, nailed, or screwed down on the floor. No special maintenance requirements for the flooring are needed.

Cherry wood floors are beautiful but do require some maintenance. They are not safe from water or humidity, and scratches are more readily noticeable. The floor will darken with sunlight, and areas covered by furnishing will darken less, leaving lighter patches due to the uneven sun exposure.

With Cherry wood being a darker color than Birch, it does show dust and dirt more readily. Cherry wood flooring is not a high foot traffic flooring option. Installation is easy, and the wood can be screwed or glued down.

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Birch and Cherry Wood Cabinets

U-shaped kitchen with dark countertops, black appliances, and birch wood cabinets.

Birch cabinets are very sturdy and robust. Installation is easy as the wood holds screws and nails well. They hold up very well to wear and tear and are reasonably scratch resistant. Birch cabinets can be stained or painted easily and can even resemble Cherry or Maple wood.

Cherry wood cabinets will darken with age and sunlight and bring a warm, homey feel to the area. They can be easily stained and finished in a variety of methods. The maintenance is reasonably high as the cabinets will need to be wiped off to prevent any dirt build-up from occurring as this could damage the wood.

How to Clean the Wood?

Regular dusting will always be required with any wood, especially Cherry, as the darker wood shows dust and debris much more than Birch. When it comes to the basic cleaning of your Birch or Cherry wood, a suitable wood cleaner diluted with water is always recommended for good results. When cleaning the furniture, floors, or cabinets,  you should follow these methods:

Furniture

Woman hands wiping the cherry wood table.

You can dust Birch wood furniture with a lint-free cloth. You can use a wood cleaning solution for the more stubborn dirt.

Cherry will need dusting regularly to avoid dirt build-up. Wiping down the furniture with a soft moistened cloth will clean the grime, wipe dry immediately. Do not use strong chemicals as this could leave marks.

Flooring

Woman mopping the birch wood flooring in the living room.

Feel free to vacuum or sweep on Birch wood floors with a medium soft broom, wash with a wet mop with a wood cleaning solution, or polish. Birchwood flooring is water-resistant.

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With Cherry, avoid vacuuming if possible as this might scratch the wood, instead use a soft bristle broom or dry mop. You can use a lightly moistened mop with a wood cleaning solution and dry immediately to prevent water from soaking into the floor.

Cabinets

Woman wiping the cherry wood cabinets with a microfiber cloth.

Cherry and Birch cabinets will require dusting regularly to avoid heavy dirt build-up. Clean with a spray bottle and soft cloth with a wood cleaning solution and wipe dry afterward. Do not use any hard scourer or sponges to clean the cabinets.

What is the Price of the Woods?

A couple looking at wood planks in a store.

The average price in 2021 for a Cherry wood is $8.99 – $12.00, vs. Birch wood, averaging $6.29 – $8.00.  Prices can vary quite dramatically depending on coloring, grain, and the overall look.

Birch and Cherry Wood Comparison

Below is a basic wood comparison guide:

 BirchCherry
Wood TypeMedium hardwoodSoft Hardwood
GrainStraight fine grainVery fine straight grain
ColorGolden yellow to light brownPink to reddish-brown
Hardness (Janka rating)1260660
Workability3/104/10
ProDurable & strongColor darkens with age
ConHeavyScratches easily
Pricing (4×4 sample) 11/2021$6.29 -$8.00$8.99 – $12.00
Maintenance3/105/10
AvailabilityVery goodgood
Average Weight3.58 lbs.\ft²3.0 lbs.\ft²

Conclusion

The choice between Birch and Cherry is a tough one. Both of the woods have a beauty that will appeal to anyone that loves wood.  Birch is a light color wood that is durable, strong, and is suitable for most applications.

With its unique reddish-brown color, Cherry is great to work with but needs more love and care.

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My choice for flooring in my home would be Birch wood for its durability, ease of installation, and cleaning.   For furnishing and cabinets, I would choose the beauty of Cherry wood with its darkening characteristics to create unique pieces for my home.

References:

Designing Buildings Wiki: The Properties of Cherry Wood

DutchCrafters Amish Furniture: Cherry Wood Furniture