Non-porous materials are those that do not allow water or air to pass through them. When discussing wood, most softwoods such as pine, cedar, and redwood are considered non-porous.
Non-porous woods have fewer vessels within their wood fibers, with smaller cells and a wider, open grain pattern. While they can have a beautiful unfinished appearance, non-porous softwoods do not easily accept stain and are generally coated with paint or clear polyurethane for protection. Without proper care, they can be prone to cracking and splitting.
Despite their weaknesses, non-porous woods are typically cut and sanded using the same techniques as porous woods. They are often used for smaller projects like tables and floors, but larger projects are typically avoided by furniture and cabinet makers.