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(ARA) - Wood is all the same, right? Not so, say window and door experts, especially when it comes to how wood appears in your home.
Wood comes from trees that grow in a variety of species, such as fir, pine or alder. Each species has a range of characteristics, like grain, color and sap content, which contributes to its unique appearance. If you are planning a home remodel or building a new home, consider using an assortment of complementary wood species to create a unique sense of style, richness and warmth.
"Using a variety of wood species in a home is very similar to selecting colors for a wardrobe," says Shane Meisel, an expert with JELD-WEN, a leading manufacturer of reliable windows and doors. "Mixing it up, when done with just a little know-how, is generally much more interesting. For example, mahogany and maple go great together because their grain patterns match well. Alder and cherry make another attractive combination."
Meisel adds that kitchens, dens and great rooms are popular areas of the home to mix and match various wood species.
Many of today's windows and doors are made from four popular wood species: pine, Douglas fir, alder and mahogany. In addition, doors can also be made from cherry, oak, walnut, hemlock, hickory, clear alder, knotty alder, poplar and maple, just to name a few.
"It really comes down to the homeowners' tastes. For example, maple and pine both have lighter tones and may work well with a dark mahogany if you really want to contrast the colors between interior doors, kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors," Meisel says. "Species such as hemlock are more neutral and can be stained to match or contrast with almost any other species."
Here are a few basic tips for using a variety of wood species in your home from the window and door experts at JELD-WEN:
1. Make a game plan.
Determine the style and look that you want, and then find the wood species that helps achieve your goals. For example, wood can help determine a room's mood. Pine is a good choice to help lighten and brighten a room, while mahogany creates a darker, cozier feel. Species such as knotty alder have a more rustic look while wood with a less pronounced grain, like maple, is a good choice for a sleek, contemporary style. Hickory, with its intriguing grain pattern, has a natural light-medium brown color. Douglas fir features a more reddish tone, and hemlock has a neutral quality that stains easily to match other woods.
2. Do some homework.
Take some time to research the various types of woods and learn their characteristics. For example, softwood isn't necessarily soft; it just comes from evergreen trees that have cones (hardwood comes from trees with leaves). Performance characteristics such as durability, stainability, grain pattern and color change over time will vary depending on the type and the specific characteristics of the tree, including whether it is a softwood or hardwood. Some wood, such as cherry, tends to change color and darken over time. JELD-WEN has more detailed information on wood species on its Web site in the Resources section.
3. Break out the stain.
If you decide to go with a natural versus a painted look, find out how different species will react to stain. Softwoods have more resins than hardwoods and need more preparation before staining. Natural, clear or lighter stain colors work well for species such as pine, while mahogany is better suited for darker stains. Walnut and cherry, when stained with lighter tones, show a wide degree of interesting color variations. For windows and doors, be sure to check manufacturer's recommendations for using grain filler and wood conditioner.
4. Determine a budget.
Decide how much you can spend because different species carry different price tags. Expect to pay more for alder than pine and even more for mahogany.
5. Visit showrooms.
Seek expert advice when planning your changes. Visit your nearest window and door showroom to see various wood species options that will work best in your home.
For more information on wood windows and doors, visit
www.jeld-wen.com or call (800) 877-9482, ext. PRWD.
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Golden State Home Inspections LLC •3539 Bradshaw Road Ste B-168, Sacramento, CA 95827
Member of NACHI-National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
Ca. State Contractor License #913615
Phone: 800.441.0804 • Fax: 866.846.1085