Eco-friendly, easy to work with, and cost-efficient, alder wood is having a moment in the world of building materials.

Abundant and sustainable, alder is grown across the Pacific Northwest—with a range that spans from Southeast British Columbia all the way down to Northern California. This all-around adaptable hardwood has many advantages which have led to its spread in popularity among furniture and cabinetry makers worldwide. 

 “Alder has changed over the years,” explains Jed Miller of the Tacoma, Washington–based supplier Northwest Hardwoods. “Forty years ago, it was most mostly used throughout the Northwest as a substitute for other species. But now it is one of the most sought-after woods on the market. Because of its consistency, versatility, sustainability, it has grown to become a popular choice both in the U.S. and overseas.” Below, we list the reasons for its coming into the limelight. 

A Greener Choice

Embracing the natural environs of their family home—a 1970 Deck House nestled among 175-foot-tall tulip poplar trees—residents Darren Selement and Cathryn Rich updated the kitchen with a rich material palette of wood and stone. Cherner barstools are paired with custom, cherry-stained alder cabinets by Holiday Kitchens, Barocca soapstone countertops, and flooring from Globus Cork.

This kitchen was updated with a rich material palette of wood and stone. The cherry-stained cabinets were made from alder.

Photo: Steven Paul Whitsitt

Alder is both abundant and sustainable. “Alder can be used by a manufacturer without worry: its growth is well-managed,” says Miller. 

As opposed to certain exotic timbers from Brazil and Southeast Asia, alder is not endangered, making it a more eco-friendly choice. It is also grown in North America, so if you are building in the U.S. or Canada, the transportation to your job site has less of an impact. 

Alder is well-suited to large-scale projects, and supply is not an issue. “Northwest Hardwoods produces quality product in good volume. We are able to turn out large volumes of alder that are consistent and predictable,” Miller explains. “When you are trying to determine what wood to use, you need evaluate what is legal, sustainable, aesthetically appealing, and reliable from a supply side,” he adds. 

Northwest Hardwoods produces alder that is both FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) and PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified. Both green certifications mean that the wood is harvested from forests that are responsibly and sustainably managed, and comply with internationally recognized sustainability benchmarks.  

A Compliant Material

The ground-floor sauna, one of the home’s central gathering spots, is built from stained alder. The electric heater is from the Finnish company Iki.

This in-home sauna has been built from alder, which has been stained black for a sleek modern finish. 

Photo: Tim Van de Velde

Alder is carefully manufactured, dried, and inspected to ensure flat, straight, and stable lumber—making it ideal for moldings, millwork, as well as furniture and cabinets. “Alder is an attractive, close-grain species, with a nice uniform color, a fine texture, and uniform density,” says Miller. “You can put any stain on it or use it in its natural color. There are no unusual mineral streaks or sap or deposits. It machines well and is excellent for turning and polishing.” 

Alder has been used for both custom doors and wide plank flooring of this home in Genesee, Colorado. Select alder was chosen for its closed grain and its natural beauty—qualities which are highlighted by the factory pre-finish color which was chosen. Genesee-Select-Alder: Sun Mountain Custom Doors + Wide Plank Flooring.

Alder has been used for both custom doors and wide plank flooring of this home in Genesee, Colorado. Select alder was chosen for its closed grain and its natural beauty—qualities which are highlighted by the factory pre-finish color which was chosen.

Sun Mountain Custom Doors + Wide Plank Flooring

See the full story on Dwell.com: 4 Reasons Why Alder Is a Trending Wood

©






 

SUBSCRIBE:  DIY & Craft feed | Home & Garden feed Fashion & Style feed

 

Related Post: