5 Best Construction Uses for Poplar Wood

The surface of poplar wood.

Poplar wood is a type of wood that is often classified both as hardwood and softwood — depending on where you look and who you ask. However, both categorizations can be considered to be correct. It is considered to be one of the hardest types of softwoods in some circles while being classified a hardwood at the softer end of the scale in others.

Regardless of the classification, you choose to recognize for poplar wood, it is a very popular wood for many projects in and out of the home. This article will discuss some of the most popular construction uses for poplar wood.


Poplar wood can be painted or stained to match the appearance of many other types of wood that are considered to be more exotic and often costs 2 or 3 times as much. For instance, many kitchen cabinets are made of poplar and then stained to look like pricey Cherry or Oak cabinets. The wood is hard enough that it makes a reasonably strong wood material for the cabinet while being soft enough to be able to accept a variety of stains that can change the natural appearance of the wood.

Poplar's combination of a low price and the ability to hide its true color makes it a popular choice for those wanting to create a great looking cabinet or vanity on a budget.

Painted Furniture

Because poplar is relatively soft and not as tough as other types of hardware hardwoods that are used in furniture, it is not usually the first choice for fine furniture. However, it is quite popular for painted furniture. The softness of poplar (when compared to other hardwoods such as Oak or Walnut) means that stained poplar services are easily scratched, damaged, or even dented.

However, by applying a good quality oil-based paint, you can actually increase the wood's resistance to dents and scratches. Therefore, for furniture pieces that can be painted, poplar is an excellent money-saving alternative to much pricier hardwoods.

Molding and Trim Uses

Although poplar is not usually the best choice for floor molding or baseboards, it is an excellent alternative for ceiling molding or trim that is not often handled. Its low cost and ability to accept a wide range of stains and paints makes it an excellent choice for out of reach molding or trim that is used on the interior of homes.

Yellow Poplar as Siding

When people refer to Poplar wood, there are generally referring to White Poplar. However, there is also another wood that shares the name: Yellow Poplar. However, Yellow Poplar is not actually a type of Poplar wood at all. On the contrary, Yellow Poplar is a part of the Magnolia tree family and is a true hardwood.

Like other types of more expensive hardwoods, Yellow Poplar can be used as siding on homes and holds up very well to the elements. It is usually more and less expensive than Oak or Cedar and holds up just as long.

Yellow Poplar as Deck Lumber

These days, more and more contractors are choosing treated Yellow Poplar as a less expensive alternative to other types of lumber for use in outdoor decks. Yellow poplar trees grow straight and true, which means that Yellow Poplar studs and posts are usually also very straight. This makes them an excellent choice for deck posts or rails that need to be as straight as possible.

These are the five best construction uses for poplar wood. Happy building!