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Finish Materials

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

From wood species and grain patterns to paint vs. stain grade, there are many factors to consider concerning finish materials. Here are some of the key finish materials you'll need to choose when building a custom home.

Wood Species

The type of wood you choose will play a big role in the look and feel of your home. Some popular wood species for interior finishes include oak, maple, cherry, and walnut. Each wood species has its own unique color, texture, and grain pattern. For example, oak has a prominent grain pattern, while maple has a more subtle grain.

When choosing a wood species, consider the overall aesthetic you're going for. If you want a warm, traditional look, cherry or walnut may be a good choice. If you prefer a more modern, minimalist look, maple or oak may be a better fit.

Knots in the Wood

Knots are a natural part of wood and can add character and interest to your finishes. However, some people prefer a more uniform look without knots. If you prefer a more rustic or natural look, you may want to choose wood with knots. If you prefer a more polished look, you may want to choose wood without knots.

Grain of Wood

The grain pattern of the wood is another important factor to consider when choosing finishes. Some wood species, such as oak and hickory, have a strong, prominent grain pattern, while others, such as maple and birch, have a more subtle grain pattern.

If you want a more rustic or natural look, a wood with a strong grain pattern may be a good choice. If you prefer a more polished, uniform look, a wood with a more subtle grain pattern may be a better fit.

Stain Grade vs. Paint Grade

Another important factor to consider is whether the wood will be stain grade or paint grade. Stain grade wood is meant to be visible, and the natural beauty of the wood is showcased. Paint grade wood, on the other hand, is typically used for areas that will be painted, such as trim or cabinets.

If you want a natural, warm look, you may want to choose stain grade wood. If you prefer a more uniform look that can be painted to match your décor, paint grade wood may be a better fit.

Soft Wood

Softwoods are a category of wood that come from coniferous trees such as pine, spruce, and fir. They are called softwoods not because they are less dense than hardwoods, but because their cellular structure is different, making them easier to cut and shape. Softwoods are commonly used in the construction of custom homes, particularly in the finish materials. They are often used for trim, molding, and paneling due to their affordability and ease of use. Softwoods can also be stained and painted to achieve a desired finish, making them a versatile option for custom home builders. While softwoods may not be as durable or resistant to wear and tear as hardwoods, they are an excellent choice for achieving a beautiful and cost-effective finish in custom homes.

Hard Wood*

Hardwoods are a type of wood that comes from deciduous trees, such as oak, maple, and walnut, and are known for their durability and strength. These trees grow slowly and their wood is denser than that of softwood, which makes it an ideal material for high-quality furniture, cabinetry, and flooring. Hardwoods are also used for trim work, such as baseboards, crown molding, and wainscoting, in custom homes. Their natural beauty and ability to withstand wear and tear make them a popular choice for finishing materials. With their wide variety of colors and patterns, hardwoods can add warmth and character to any space, while also increasing the value of the home.

Engineered Wood*

Engineered hardwood flooring is a type of flooring that is made up of several layers of wood veneer that are glued together in a cross-grain construction. The top layer is made of a high-quality hardwood veneer, which is the visible surface of the flooring. The layers beneath are typically made of plywood or high-density fiberboard, providing strength and stability to the flooring. This construction allows engineered hardwood flooring to have the look and feel of solid hardwood flooring.

*One important note to make about both engineered and hardwood is that it is typical (some manufacturers require) that a humidifier is installed to prevent the glue from separating between the wood. Due to Utah's extreme dry climate, it can cause the wood to dry out and splinter. On the flipside, too much moisture can cause wood to swell. It's ideal to keep humidity between 35%-55%.


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