What is Poplar Wood Used For?

Published by Heritage Oak LLC on 1-31-2023

What is Poplar Wood Used For

Without unique characteristics to display or durability to protect it from dents and scratches, poplar is often used for utilitarian purposes. Poplar is more often used in cabinets, drawers, wooden toys, plywood, and even some furniture framing. Poplar can also be used in areas where durability isn’t an issue such as decorative moldings, trim work, stair balusters, ect.

Poplar Wood Grain

Poplar wood grain is beautifully straight grain while generally being knot-free. There isn’t much variation between the sapwood and hardwood besides a slight color change. Poplar wood coloration typically ranges from light brown to creamy yellow. There are some poplar wood with unique, colorful streaks of gray, dark purple, red, and green. However, these colors naturally fade due to exposure to light over time.  

Is Poplar a Hardwood?

When considering the species of trees, poplar is classified as deciduous - also known as hardwood. However in terms of durability, poplar is one of the softest hardwoods. Poplar’s Janka Rating is only at 540 lb, which makes it susceptible to acquiring dents and scratches easily unless it’s properly finished and maintained. Despite being moderately durable when compared to other species like walnut or red oak, poplar is still sought after. Poplar hardwood is prized for it’s ability to be shaped as desired and finished with ease.

Staining Poplar Wood

Due to its straight, uniform grain and whitish coloration, poplar can accept a wide range of stains and paint. This benefits homeowners as poplar hardwoods can easily be stained/painted to match existing interiors such as cabinets, drawers, or molding. In addition, poplar’s durability can increase a little with proper finishing and painting/staining! While poplar is easy to finish, it will need a bit of extra prep if you are planning to use stains. As there are inconsistencies within the wood, poplar needs a pre-stain wood conditioner to help the stain absorb without blotches. Instead, poplar hardwood is often painted rather than stained.

Is Poplar Good for Stair Treads?

Poplar is considered as moderately durable so generally it can handle normal wear and tear. So it’s important to keep in mind the amount of traffic your stairs will be subjected to. While keeping within a budget matters, if the material isn’t suitable for the project it will create more cost in repairs. The price of poplar is notably lower when compared to other hardwoods such as oak, hickory, or walnut, making it appealing to homeowners. On the other hand, the durability to withstand wear and tear is considerably lower as well.

Polar Stair Treads and More Poplar Hardwood Products from Heritage Oak

Choosing the perfect hardwood to match your needs can become difficult. Be sure to keep in mind your criteria such as matching existing decor, a specific budget, or other particular features. Nonetheless, be willing to strike a balance between your criteria and the functional needs of your space. If you have any questions, contact us at Heritage Oak! Let one of our professional craftsman help you determine the perfect hardwood for your home.