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Mahogany Kitchen Cabinets

Because the kitchen is the hub of the house and, in the case of remodeling, adds the most value to a home, it’s important to understand the basics of cabinetry and various wood species available. This article answers your questions about mahogany and why it’s a superb choice for your remodel project.

The inside scoop on mahogany

Mahogany belongs in the family Meliaceae, which contains about 550 species found in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The highest in demand and price comes from Cuba and West India – this mahogany is so rare that some people pay as much as $28 per board foot (compared with cherry running $3 per board foot.) The species is becoming increasingly rare. Mahogany grows over 150 feet with trunks more than 6 feet in diameter. When freshly cut the wood varies from yellow, red, or salmon colored. With age mahogany turns to a deep rich red to reddish brown. It has a fine to medium texture with a deep, swirling grain. Abnormalities in the grain can produce highly attractive designs. Mahogany polishes to a high luster and is regarded by many as the world’s premier wood for fine cabinetry.

Why use mahogany for your kitchen cabinets?

Durability - The first consideration is durability; your cabinets are subject to a lot of abuse. Mahogany is a relatively hardwearing wood.

Richness & Artistic Style - There’s no doubt about it, mahogany kitchen cabinets will set the tone for your kitchen and make you the envy of your friends.

Comparison to other wood species

Hickory, oak, cherry, and pine are the most commonly used material for kitchen cabinets. Cost wise, cherry usually runs about 10% more than oak. Hickory, oak and pine run very close in price. Uncommon cabinet woods like mahogany, alder, fir, redwood, or teak are priced higher than common oak or pine.

Side note

There are some woods with mahogany in their name that aren’t members of the mahogany family. Philippine mahogany is actually part of the Dipterocarpaceae family. Beware when you see names such as lauan or meranti – it’s inexpensive and is normally used in plywood.

Mahogany is heralded as the world’s premier wood for fine cabinetry, so it’s clearly a higher-end choice when it comes to kitchen cabinet options. However, many homeowners consider mahogany well worth the extra cost once they see the results. Here are the facts to help you decide if this is the cabinetry material that’s right for you.

Costs

Considered an uncommon wood for cabinetry, mahogany is pricier than other wood options, such as oak or pine. The mahogany highest in demand comes from Cuba and West India. Some people pay as much as $28 per board foot for this type (compared with cherry at $3 per board foot). The total cost to install mahogany cabinetry depends on the quality of the wood, size of the job and cost of labor. If you need specific price estimates, contact a professional installer in your area.

Pros

Hardwearing wood that won’t show an extensive amount of damage.

Abnormalities in the grain can produce highly attractive designs.

Mahogany polishes to a high luster and is regarded by many as the world’s premier wood for fine cabinetry.

Cons

Most types of mahogany darken over time, so replacing one or two cabinet doors may not be an option.

Mahogany is much pricier than other wood cabinetry options.

Durability

Mahogany is considered a very durable wood choice that can withstand the wear and tear of high-traffic kitchens.

Maintenance

Like most other wood cabinetry, mahogany cabinets are generally easy to care for as long as they are kept free from excessive moisture. Here are a few steps to keep yours looking great:

  1. Wipe cabinets clean with a soft, lint-free cloth and mixture of vinegar and warm water.
  2. Absorb extra moisture with a dry cloth.
  3. Never use abrasive cleaners (they can cause discoloration), and always clean water, oil or food spills immediately.

Common Questions and Answers

What are the different types of mahogany wood?

There are four types: Cuban mahogany, Honduras mahogany, African mahogany and New Zealand Mahogany.

What color floor stain would go well with dark mahogany cabinets?

Consider keeping the floors light to provide some contrast. An oak stain against red mahogany, for instance, could be the perfect mixture of red and yellow tones.

History

Mahogany was the material of choice for the American colonies when it came to building their furniture in the 1700s. It has since evolved into a popular cabinet material.

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