Wood windowsills create a finished look to bare windows and add architectural interest. Whether you paint the wood or use a stain, wood windowsills add beauty and value to a home. Both soft and hard woods are suitable for use. Hardwoods species are often characterised as having an open, closed or irregular grain pattern. A wood's grain is the pattern resulting from the way that species grows that is visible in untreated or stained wood. Grain refers to "the directions, size, appearance and quality of wood fibres," according to the Hardwood Manufacturers Association.
Pine is a fast-growing tree species and is economical. It is a soft wood which is usually painted rather than stained because it does not have as interesting a grain pattern as many hardwoods.
Open Grained Hardwoods
Ash, hickory, red oak and white oak are all open grain hardwoods. Ash has a similar grain pattern to red oak but without the reddish colour. Usually the wood from closer to the bark (sapwood) is lighter than wood from deeper inside the tree (heartwood), according to the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. Ash has a grey-brown or light creamy colour. Ash does not take dark stain as well as red oak does. White oak has a pale yellow-brown colour with a less pronounced grain pattern than red oak. Hickory ranges from a light reddish brown to white and can have colour variations on a board. Hickory is often used for rustic applications, according to Homestead Interior Doors.
Closed Grain Hardwoods
Cherry and poplar are closed grain hardwoods. Cherry wood has a "satiny, smooth texture," and heartwood that "varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light," according to the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. Cherry and poplar both have a uniform, straight grain, creamy white sapwood and heartwood that will darken with exposure to light. However, the poplar heartwood is pale yellowish brown to olive green that turns brown.
Irregular Grained Hardwoods
Maple and mahogany are two types of wood used for windowsills that have irregular grain patterns. Although it is usually has a straight grain, maple can also occur with a curly or birdseye pattern, according to the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. Its sapwood is creamy white with slight reddish brown tinge while its heartwood ranges from light to dark reddish brown. Mahogany also varies from a straight to an irregular grain. Mahogany has a pale pink to red brown colour, which darkens to a rich mahogany reddish-brown when exposed to light.
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