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Oak vs. Maple Wood (for Furniture, Flooring, and Cabinets)

Both oak and maple wood are great choices for furniture, flooring, and cabinetry. Check out their differences along with pros and cons so you can select the right wood that will best suit your preferences.

Scandinavian dining room with oak wood furniture.

There are always plenty of options available when it comes to choosing the right timber for your home’s furniture, flooring, and cabinetry. The choice can often be a difficult one, but understanding a little more about the types of wood and their advantages and disadvantages will assist in making the choice a little easier.

Oak and Maple are great wood choices for use in furniture, flooring, and cabinetry. Maple is cheaper and harder; however, it is not as sturdy or durable as Oak. Oak is more expensive, but it is a far more durable wood that comes in many colors, making it a great choice for flooring.

Whether you decide to opt for Oak or Maple in your home will depend on the intended use of the wood and the overall aesthetic that you prefer in your home. Each type of wood boasts a completely different look as well as a different price tag, and so the wood you choose must fit in with your budget and overall aesthetic.

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

Oak Vs. Maple Wood (For Furniture, Flooring, And Cabinets)

Kitchen with maple cabinets and an island with built-in wine rack.

Oak and Maple are great for use in furniture, flooring, and cabinetry. While Oak is more durable – making it more suitable for use in flooring – and can be found in a vast range of colors.

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On the other hand, Maple is significantly cheaper than Oak and tends to be a harder wood. Despite being hard, however, it remains less durable and sturdy than Oak. Oak is significantly heavier and long-lasting than Maple, but it comes at a higher price.

While Oak is more expensive, it comes in a variety of colors and grain patterns. It has excellent stain qualities, along with a solid aesthetic and a good finish. The pores of Maple are extremely subtle when compared to the highly visible pores of Oak and its resultant grain.

Generally speaking, because of its inherent durability, especially when compared to Maple, Oak is a better option when it comes to flooring.

For cabinets, however, Maple is considered to be the better choice. Furniture can be made successfully using either Oak or Maple. However, Maple is not good for use in steam-bending or shaping. Because Maple can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth, it can be extremely good for kitchen furniture.

Oak Wood

Close-up of wood plank flooring made from oak.

Oak is a grainy hardwood that comes in red and white variations (along with several hundred different types). It’s exceptionally hard and resistant to warping, making it ideal for both furniture and flooring. Oak’s prominent grain (especially in red Oak) helps it hide wear and tear better.

As a result of the above, Oak is an excellent flooring choice. This sort of wood is also more durable, which means it is less likely to dent or scratch. As a result, when compared to Maple, Oakwood also requires less upkeep and general maintenance.

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Oak is suitable for a variety of outdoor uses, including ladders, decks, fencing, pergolas, porches, and garages, due to its durability and density. It’s denser than Maple, and the natural resins in it make it more resistant to fungi, insects, and moisture.

European Oak has a lively, flexible color that ranges from gold to medium brown. It also boasts a natural grain. In contrast to its European equivalent, American White Oak has a light to tan-brown hue and straight grain that distinguishes it drastically.

Oak is well-suited to a minimalist Scandinavian design aesthetic due to its naturally lighter coloring. This lighter coloring also extends the life of the wood by making it less vulnerable to fading from the sun.

Oak has a tiger-stripe grain that is aesthetically pleasing. This grain can be accentuated even more by staining, resulting in a two-tone appearance. This two-tone appearance, however, can be unattractive to some consumers.

When compared to red Oak, White Oak has a more delicate grain. If you want to prevent the two-tone effect that staining can occasionally cause, this is the best alternative.

Maple Wood

Top view of maple wood basketball court flooring.

Maple is a pale-colored hardwood that features an extremely tight and even grain. Due to its light color and very subtle grain, Maple fits in very well with most home décor. Maple’s light, natural finish makes it a great choice for contemporary spaces.

Maple takes to staining exceptionally well (albeit not as well as Oak does), and so it has the added benefit of being able to be stained to look like a more expensive wood such as Cherry wood.

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Maple is strong and hard while remaining significantly cheaper to purchase than Oak. This makes it an extremely cost-effective choice.

Because Maple is significantly less porous than Oak, it can be far more susceptible to dents and scratches. Despite being less porous than Oak, it still does not absorb stains as well as Oak does, and if a sealant is not used beforehand, the stain can come out extremely blotchy.

Because the Maple tree has no internal resistance to infestations of insects or mold, it has to be treated properly before it can be used in furniture. It does not resist decay very well, and it is also not suitable for steam-bending or shaping in other ways. This somewhat limits what can be created with this wood.

Overall, Maple is durable and strong as well as relatively cost-effective. Maple is far less prone to warping or twisting and remains a very hard wood. Unfortunately, this wood is less porous than Oak and tends to be more prone to dents and scratches, and does not absorb stains as easily as Oak is able to.

Conclusion

Oak and Maple are both excellent choices when it comes to the furniture, flooring, and cabinetry in your home. Depending on the budget you have available for wood, as well as the desired aesthetic you hope to achieve, you may prefer one over the other.

Generally speaking, Oak is the better timber to use when installing flooring. When it comes to wooden cabinetry, however, Maple is a better option. With furniture, either wood will serve its purpose brilliantly, and it simply depends on the look you are ultimately hoping to achieve.

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References:

Better Homes and Gardens: 8 Cabinet Materials You Should Know and How to Choose the Best Type for Your Kitchen

Real Simple: The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Wood for Furniture