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Natural Wood Expectations

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they are still beautiful.”

- Alice Walker

It’s hard to believe, but the materials for your dream space had a life long before you. And it is that history that makes them perfect for your home. Before they took residence in your home, they lived in nature. And, in many ways, nature lived in them. This is evident in the grain of the wood, the pinholes, the knots, the burls and the eclectic coloration left behind by mineral deposits. If you look closely, you can read the story of their former life. As with all organic material, there are also things to expect as the wood adjusts to a new life in your home.


Discover the selection of wood types available from KraftMaid and find out for yourself how wood and finish combine.

Browse Wood Types

Joint Lines


Wood is in a constant state of expansion and contraction. This normal movement may cause some hairline cracks at the joints in the finish surface on cabinet doors and face frames. This is a natural occurrence and does not weaken or diminish the strength of the joints.

End Grain


End grain surfaces are softer in composition than other areas of the wood. As such, they absorb more stain and often appear darker. This is a natural reaction and potential variances cannot be prevented.

Minderal Streaks


In nature, mineral deposits may form in the wood as the tree extracts nutrients from the soil. Common in many wood types, these mineral deposits cause blackish-blue streaks in the grain. When a finish is applied to mineral streaks, it may appear lighter or darker than other areas of your cabinetry.



The grain is the identifying feature of each wood type. This grain will “telegraph” or show through the stain. Open or coarse-grained wood (oak, hickory) will telegraph more than closed or fine-grained wood (maple, cherry).



Certain wood, such as cherry, will continue to mellow and darken over time. This brings warmth to lightly-stained cherry and increases depth below darker stains.


A wood product is typically affected by environmental conditions that may alter its appearance from what it looked like when it was new. Here are a few conditions to keep in mind:

  • As wood ages, the appearance of the finish may change or darken over time due to environmental factors such as interior lighting, sunlight and humidity.
  • Finishes react to prolonged exposure to tobacco smoke, resulting in discoloration, which is especially noticeable on white and lighter finishes.
  • Ovens and ranges emit heat and steam during operation. To protect the finish of adjacent cabinets, we strongly recommend the use of heat shields. On thermofoil cabinetry, heat shields are required.
  • Showroom cabinetry samples, depending on age, room lighting and environmental factors, may look different from the new cabinetry installed in your home. To ensure satisfaction with a finish color, it is best to view a new sample in your home environment.

All KraftMaid finishes are hand-crafted. As such, each door will be consistently unique. In addition, the natural characteristics of wood lend themselves to color variation, and this is also true when finish is applied. Veneer wood absorbs more stain than solid wood and will appear darker. Some door styles are built with a solid wood frame and a veneer center panel, which will show more color variation than doors with all solid wood components.





Legacy uses natural and wood by-products to create what we like to call " America's Best Cabinet Value." However, wood grain is a product of nature, and much like a fingerprint, no two grain patterns are ever exactly alike. This individualism is one of the most appealing factors of wood products. Soil and climate affect the growth characteristics of wood. The finest hardwoods have certain natural characteristics that cannot be hidden with a finishing process.

These characteristics occur due to the fact that wood is a natural product and is affected by weather, climate, insects, birds, soil makeup, and natural growth patterns. These characteristics are apparent and are not to be misinterpreted as defects. Wood is a product of nature- and as such will display natural characteristics and variances that are unique to each and every cut. These characteristics are an integral part of the charm and beauty of real 
wood - no two pieces are alike.


The natural occurrence of expansion and contraction, may also affect your doors, drawers and face frames. Expansion and contraction in doors, drawers and face frames can also open a joint line. The finish will still protect the surface and the structural integrity of the joint will not be affected.

When purchasing painted (opaque) finishes, keep in mind that the natural occurrence 
of expansion and contraction greatly affects the overall look of the wood products. 
Because of this, it is perfectly normal to experience some separation at joints in wood. 
Although we take every precaution to minimize this, it is completely natural.  
It is recommended that a humidity control system is inCorporated in a home to reduce 
the possibility of expansion and contraction in wood products.
Door panels are prone to minor expansion and contraction as seasonal temperature 
and humidity changes occur in a home.The contraction or shrinkage of the center door 
panel during low humidity periods may result in the appearance of an unfinished line 
along the edge of the center panel. It is recommended that a humidity control system 
is inCorporated in a home to reduce the possibility of expansion and contraction in 
wood products. Touch-up markers are made available to cover this edge line. Often 
times, touch-up may only be necessary within the first year.
The natural occurrence of expansion and contraction, may also affect your doors, 
drawers and face frames. In some case doors may warp for a period of time until the 
home has inCorporated it’s humidity control system. Special hinges are available to 
readjust some of the warpage out of the door, until the humidity control system has 
regulated the environment. Remember, proper initial care and maintenance will insure 
a lifetime of beauty and enjoyment of your new cabinets
End grains appear darker, as the stain is absorbed more due to the softness of the 
wood.  This is most commonly seen on the Mortise and Tenon jointed doors. This 
is a natural reaction when the stain is applied, This is not a deemed as a defect.
An olive or greenish-black or brown discoloration of undetermined cause in hardwoods, 
commonly caused by minerals which the tree extracts from the soil, or other injuries 
that occurred during the growth process. This is common in many types of wood 
Wood continue to age in your home.  Some wood products like Cherry will darken 
faster than others. For those who appreciate the unique features that wood products 
offer, This transformation will continue to bring rich lusters to the product as time 
moves forward.
Our stain finishes are semi-transparent to enhance the natural beauty and character 
of our products. While we offer an extensive range of stains and color tones, color 
may vary based on the underlying wood products.




Product and Finish Information

Because we use real wood in our products, there are certain characteristics and qualities that you may not be familiar with. As your satisfaction is our number one priority, we want to make sure you are fully aware of the important information below regarding our cabinetry and the applied finish:

Expansion and Contraction

The properties of natural wood are such that it can react to climatic or humidity changes found within most homes. As much as half of the weight of freshly cut wood is water. Choice Cabinet doors and face frames are manufactured from solid wood that has been carefully kiln-dried, retaining just enough moisture for proper construction and finishing. The center panels of some of the Choice Cabinet doors are wood and some are medium density fiberboard. As a product of nature, solid hardwoods continue to react to their surroundings long after manufacture. When wood cabinet doors are in a warm, moist environment (high relative humidity), the wood expands. In a dry, colder environment (low relative humidity), the wood will contract. This phenomenon can be controlled but never eliminated even with humidity regulation.

Door panels are prone to minor expansion and contraction as seasonal temperature and humidity changes occur in a home. The contraction or shrinkage of the center door panel during low humidity periods may result in the appearance of an unfinished line along the edge of the center panel. Choice Cabinet does not consider the appearance of an unfinished line as a defect and will not replace doors due to this situation. It is recommended that a humidity control system is incorporated in a home to reduce the possibility of expansion and contraction in wood products. Touch-up markers are made available to cover this edge line. Oftentimes, touch-up may only be necessary within the first year.

Choice Cabinet is not responsible for any of these conditions and variations.


Over a period of time wood species in all finishes will exhibit color changes when exposed to different types of light and environment. Such color changes are to be expected and are not defects. Due to the natural variation and aging process, minor differences may be observed in color match when replacing doors or adding cabinets at a later date. It is a characteristic of stained and painted wood finishes to age over time when exposed to smoke, sunlight or general household cleaning chemicals.

Graining differences, mineral streaks, and wood color variations are expected in wood cabinetry and are not classified as defects. A newly installed kitchen cabinets could have these minor color variations.

Choice Cabinet offers several types of painted finishes on cabinetry. Painted finishes are exceedingly different from the standard stained finish. Since normal movement is typical in wood products, certain climatic conditions can cause finish breaks, recesses, and joint and panel lines. Joint separation can be more visible on mitered doors. Consequently, in places and environments of extremely high or extremely low humidity, painted finishes are not recommended. Joint lines and variations are common attributes of painted finishes and will not be considered sufficient reasons for product replacement.

Some of our products have glaze finishes. Since glaze detailing is hand applied then hand wiped off, glaze may "hang up" or remain in any corners of the door or drawer profile. Because the glaze is a hand applied procedure, detailing can differ from piece to piece.

NOTE:Independent testing has shown that discoloration will develop on doors, drawers, and cabinet parts after continued exposure to tobacco smoke. This is remarkably apparent on white and lighter finishes. We do not warrant discoloration in our products due to exposure to smoke.

Joint Lines

Expansion and contraction in doors and face frames can cause visible lines at the joints. The finish will still protect the surface and the structural integrity of the joint will not be affected. An open joint line is not considered a defect.