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Types of Wood for Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets: Best Wood for Outdoor Use

When choosing the wood for your outdoor kitchen cabinets, some species are better suited for outdoor use than others. Apart from the woods durability, rot, and pest resistance, is the question of its aesthetic quality and long-term maintenance. Furthermore, outdoor kitchens and furniture often incorporate other materials like stainless steel and concrete. 

Learn everything you need to know about the best types of wood for outdoor kitchen cabinets, furniture, and decking. Find out about the benefits and drawbacks of each type of wood. And, gain insight into how your custom outdoor cabinetry and furniture is hand-crafted from the wood of your choice.

Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets: How to Choose Custom Outdoor Furniture

When it comes to choosing the type of wood for your outdoor kitchen cabinets, the options abound, and they can seem overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be, and with a little knowledge, you can make an informed decision about the material you choose. So what are factors to consider when choosing the material for your custom outdoor kitchen cabinetry, storage, and furniture?

Outdoor kitchens incorporate a variety of materials, but the most common material for outdoor cabinets is wood. Outdoor wood cabinetry adds a warm and natural feel to your space, and, with the right type of wood, can last for hundreds of years. But, with the wrong type of wood, your cabinets won’t last for five years – let alone hundreds of years. 

Best Wood for Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

When looking at the different types of wood species, the most important thing is to delineate hardwood from softwood. In general, softwoods come from deciduous trees that have needles, like pine and cedar, while hardwoods come from conifer trees. When choosing a type of wood for outdoors, do not use softwoods.

Softwood, such as pressure-treated pine, cedar, and redwood, are susceptible to termites, rot, and require annual water sealing treatments when used outdoors. You can skip the maintenance and depreciation of your outdoor kitchen cabinets by choosing a species suited for outdoor projects, such as…  

Ipe – Best for Long-lasting Outdoor Kitchens

If you want your outdoor kitchen to outlast you and your children – and maybe their children, too – Ipe is the best outdoor kitchen cabinet wood for durability and longevity. Ipe is a tropical hardwood from Brazil with unique properties that make it ideal for outdoor use. And, the dark rust-red to the blackish-brown color of Ipe wood adds a refined, yet rustic characteristic. 

Ipe is a high-quality material and is usually more costly than other wood species. This is due to several factors, including limited availability of ipe as compared to more widely available native hardwood species, like oak or chestnut. It also comes from the fact that ipe is extremely dense, making it very difficult to cut. Incidentally, this feature also affords ipe one of the highest longevity of any hardwood species. 

Another reason, for the higher price of ipe wood, is the low-density in which the species grows, and the high square-footage it requires. Ipe requires more space, time, and resources than other hardwood species, but it delivers superior quality characteristics, as well. Once the ipe tree matures, the wood is naturally insect, rot, and water-resistant for decades.  

Cumeru (Brazilian Teak) – Best for Outdoor Kitchens in Wet Climates

Another extremely durable hardwood is cumeru, also called Brazilian teak wood. Cumeru is an excellent choice for outdoor kitchen cabinets, with many similar benefits and drawbacks as that of ipe wood. The unique qualities of cumeru, which make it so popular for outdoor projects, also make it more difficult to work with. 

Cumeru wood has silica content, which contributes to what makes this species of hardwood so strong but also wears down on cutting tools to blunt the blades. Furthermore, cumeru presents obstacles when it comes to gluing pieces together, as cumeru has a naturally high oil content. This oil content, however, is what gives cumeru it’s naturally water and rot-resistant properties.

Catalpa – Best North American Hardwood for Outdoor Cabinets

Unlike cumeru and ipe wood, catalpa is native to North America, which usually makes the price more reasonable. The availability of catalpa, however, is limited because most catalpa trees do not grow large enough to make timber boards. But, even so, it is available in limited quantities. 

Catalpa is naturally resistant to rot and moisture, making it a great choice for outdoor cabinets. And, unlike its tropical hardwood counterparts, catalpa wood is easier to cut and glue. The color of catalpa wood ranges from a light-grayish-yellow to a deep golden-brown. 

Catalpa, ipe, and cumeru are some of the best hardwoods for outdoor projects, but there are many other hardwood varieties to choose from. Want to see more options? Talk to a cabinetry specialist today to start customizing your outdoor kitchen cabinets.