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Poplar Wood vs. Maple Wood (Furniture, Flooring, and Cabinets)

Kitchen with beige walls, an eating bar, and maple cabinets that match with the hardwood flooring.

In every project related to wood, it is essential to know which wood to use for the specific project.  The question of which wood to use is specifically related to the project that will be done.  We will be taking a closer look at poplar wood and maple wood and their application to furniture, flooring, and cabinets. 

Poplar wood is specifically notable for its use in furniture and cabinets, while its use in flooring is debatable due to the softness of the wood.  Maple wood is durable and is more often used for heavy-duty flooring; it is also suitable for furniture and cabinets.  

The difference between poplar and maple is most noticeable in their strength.  Maple wood is much stronger than Poplar wood.  Poplar wood is very bendy and tends to be easier to work with, but it does tend to dent more efficiently, while maple wood can withstand heavy loads and is more durable. 

Related: Maple vs. Poplar | Maple vs. Cherry Wood | Poplar vs. Pine Wood | Poplar vs. Walnut | Types of Poplar Wood | Maple vs. Beech Wood | Maple vs. Walnut Wood

Can Poplar Wood be Used for Furniture? 

Poplar table topped with tools and wood shavings.

Poplar wood is famous for its use in furniture thanks to the easiness it is to work with.  Because the wood is on the soft side, it is easy to carve the wood into shapes.  Poplar wood has a clean finish and readily takes to paint, making it the perfect wood for furniture. 

Another reason Poplar wood is so highly recommended for furniture is its affordability and availability.  The wood is primarily affordable because it is a wood that is readily available and does not have anything to do with the quality of the wood. 

The wood can be treated to be water-resistant, and thanks to its ability to take easily to any paint, it can also be easily treated.  Poplar wood also has a rough finish giving it a jagged and natural look, compared to other woods with a clean and grainy appearance. 

Can Maple Wood be Used for Furniture? 

Wooden swing with white polycarbonate roof made of maple wood on a green lawn.

Maple wood can be used for furniture, thanks to its durability and the hardness of the wood.  It is often considered furniture wood because it is strong enough to build furniture that can be passed down from generation to generation. 

Maple wood has a clean finish and soft graining, and when it is used in its natural state, it has a creamy color.   Thanks to this characteristic, it is very susceptible to staining and can be made to look like a different wood.  The wood can be stained darker and have the appearance of a warmer wood, making Maple wood a very versatile wood when it comes to style. 

Maple wood is often used for tables and desks because of its durability.  A dining-room table made from maple wood can last years. 

Can Poplar Wood be Used for Flooring?  

Poplar parquet flooring being installed in a room.

Poplar wood is not ideal for flooring, and it is not often used in this manner.  Poplar wood is considered softwood, and because of this, it is easily dented and does not have long durability when used as flooring. 

When Poplar wood is used as flooring, it will need much maintenance and will also need to be treated often.  Although the wood is more affordable, it will cost a lot to maintain in the long run. 

Can Maple Wood be Used for Flooring? 

Dining room with a a round, glass-top table and wicker armchairs over maple flooring.

Not only is Maple wood perfect for flooring, but it is the second most popular wood when it comes to flooring, being second only to Oakwood.  The wood is tough, making it perfect for the constant use it will endure from under-foot activity associated with floors. 

Maple wood has a consistent and smooth finish that gives it a consistent appearance.  The wood is easily stained and will adapt and complement any room because of this characteristic. 

The floors can be easily maintained with a regular sweep and wash, making this wood perfect for the flooring of bawling allies and restaurants.  Due to its soft graining, it can also be used in dance studios. 

Can Poplar Wood be Used for Cabinets? 

Walk-in closet with poplar cabinets painted in white.

Poplar wood is trendy for the making of cabinets due to 3 main characteristics: it is a hard softwood, takes quickly to paint, and is readily available and affordable. 

Although Poplar wood is considered softwood, it is often used as a hardwood due to its more robust durability compared to other softwoods.  It is not made for the endurance of heave weights, but it is perfect for kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, and even tool cabinets. 

The fact that poplar wood takes quickly to paint gives a unique characteristic for cabinets used in a more rustic or modern setting.  It can be painted the color that you choose while still maintaining the feel of wood.  It is also easily treated because it takes well to paint. 

The availability and affordability would make it a very trendy wood to be used in any household.  The wood can be easily replaced if parts of the furniture are hurt or dented. 

Can Maple Wood be Used for Cabinets? 

Kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and maple wood cabinetry.

Maple wood is a wise choice when building cabinets for the kitchen or bathroom.  The hardness of the wood makes it durable to the many times that the cabinets will be used.  Maple wood is not dented easily, which makes it perfect for the kitchen. 

While other woods will find it difficult to withstand the constant change in humidity and temperature in the kitchen and the bathroom, Maple wood has a hardness that can handle all these changes with ease. 

Maple wood can also be stained easily to make it adaptable to the room it is in, and it has a soft finish in its natural state.  Maple wood will stay in the same usability for over 30 years, and it does not need a lot of tending to thanks to its hardness. 

Conclusion

When choosing between Poplar wood and Maple wood for furniture, you have to consider the need as both have qualities that will make them usable.  Maple wood is more robust and will last longer, while Poplar wood is more affordable and available. 

For flooring, Maple wood is the best choice compared to most wood. 

For cabinet building, Maple wood will last longer and need less tending, but Poplar wood is easier to work with and easier to replace.  

References:

Liberon: MAPLE

Amish Outlet Store: Types of Wood: What is Maple Wood Good For?

Woodworking Trade: Is Poplar a Good Wood for Making Furniture?

Wood Floors Cleaner: Is Cherry Wood Good For Flooring?