Natural Maple cabinets - aging, fading and!

chris2009January 2, 2009

Great board - the info I have found here has been helpful in planning my kitchen redo. I am about to take advantage of a sale on either American Woodmark or Shanendoah cabinets, and need some advice.

My wife and I noticed at a HD display, that our first cabinet finish choice, natural maple, looked EXTREMELY faded in comparison to its original color. When we opened the cabinet doors, we could see how much light had faded and deepened the tone and color of the exposed wood in comparison to the portion of the cabinet not exposed to light behind the doors.

We began to worry how distracting this would be over time, and also noticed how a set of Maple Glazed cabinets in the same display didn't seem faded (Mocha I believe).

Questions: has anyone else with Natural Maple had the same thing happen to their American Woodmark / Shanendoah cabinets? Does it make you regret that color and finish choice? Would buying one of the "glazed" finishes, Coffee, Mocha, etc, cause the maple to fade more slowly over time?

thanks in advance, and Happy New Year

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I have natural maple in Millspride... the cheapo HD brand. They've replaced it with Distinctions I believe. Mine are about 7 years old and extremely yellow. I would not do natural maple again.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 10:15AM
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Many woods we have in our home (oak, maple and cherry furniture), etc fade or darken over time- depending on the finish, species, etc. We love what time and sunlight and oxygen does to cherry and to oak, but to the maple not so much- don't know why.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 10:35AM
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The natural maple cabinets in my previous home became more golden over time, but I expected it and liked it. A layer of glaze probably would slow the change but I wouldn't count on it if you really don't like the yellow tone.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 11:23AM
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do you think the tone of the glaze would matter, ie, darker glazes to cause the wood to fade more slowly?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 2:43PM
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"do you think the tone of the glaze would matter, ie, darker glazes to cause the wood to fade more slowly?"

My first thought was that darker glazes hide the effects of the fading better, causing the faded and un-faded parts to look more similar to each other. Or at least that is my very non-expert guess.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 6:26PM
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Hi Chris2009 -- In my last kitchen re-do (1999) I put in natural maple cabinets (Cabico) and natural birch cabinets (IKEA Adel Birch)and at first they looked great, very pale and simple and contemporary, which is what I wanted. Our house gets a tremendous amount of sunlight, and now all the cabinets are a pukey yellow. I'm itching to remodel again (to switch from LP gas to induction, not just because of the cabinets), and I won't choose natural maple or birch again, ever. Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:32PM
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Thanks have confirmed my suspicions. I should have realized that maple cabinets would react the same as my maple hardwood floors, which have, of course, changed color drastically since installed seven years ago.

We need something bright, as the room has low ceilings and is a little dark. At the moment we are now looking at a two-tone concept: cream cabinets on top and maple-spice on the bottom.

Just out of curiosity...if anyone has tried the two-tone concept, which color combinations did you choose and did it work out?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 11:20PM
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The maple cabinets in my new kitchen are (were) quite hideous after 11 years, our kitchen is south facing & the cabinets were a sickly yellow colour. I painted them as I'm not going to bother changing them out.
As for your second question, my last kitchen was two toned, cream on top, green bases.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 2:14AM
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thanks - the cream / green combo is first on our list, but we can't quite afford the manufacturer (KraftMaid), so unless we want to try and match brands, it looks like cream uppers and maple/spice bottoms will have to do. Love the pics.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 2:59AM
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Hmm. I gotta chime in... the maple wood is not culprit in the yellowing debacle - its the finish. You can see this especially on hard wood floors that have used an oil-based poly. If you use water-based poly you don't get the yellowing - although it's more brittle so less durable. If you resanded your floors and finished them with water based, they'd be like new. If you want the clear finish to stay on your cabinets you'd have to make sure you had the proper finish.

That said, your cream/spice combo will be stunning!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 8:21AM
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I agree about the finish thing - and with American Woodmark, who can be sure what is used to seal the wood. Thanks for the vote of confidence on our new color choice, it's a last-minute change in direction that has us a wee bit nervous. It's good to see so many two-tone designs surfacing.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 10:37AM
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bethv - I have new maple cabinets. How can I tell if I have the proper finish?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 2:48PM
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FYI - we have 6 yr old Kraftmaid natural cabinets (custom) inherited from the PO. Bought new appliances & had to order a new, deeper cab for over the stove/microwave. After > 2 mths, the cabinet came and it was BLONDE not "yellow" as the older cabinets. Thankfully, the store ordered the wrong dimensions so we were able to send it back, but now we are microwave that is still in the box mths later! No fan over the stove! Unfortunately, the fan for the stove is under the microwave or I'd just buy a vent hood or something.

Can't find a mix 'n match (maple + darker cabinets) that uses maple. I found an article on the WWW where one can set the cabinet out in the sun to age it and check it hourly until it is the shade to match our other. Has anyone else tried this?

Also found different advice from sanding and refinishing to tainting shellac and can honestly say am not remotely interested in those, i.e., we're at the tail end of major renovations (inside & out)& just do not have the will to start another project. New - matching - kitchen cabinets were not part of the budget.

Any words of wisdom are appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 3:56PM
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