February 13, 2023

The Wood Hardness Scale: Why They’re Vital in Choosing Hardwood Flooring

Oaken board with wooden meter measuring line construction level and square ruler maintenance concept

This 2023, sustainable designs are one of the top interior styles in residential homes. With more people investing in long-lasting home additions, hardwood floors are worthwhile considerations. But to enjoy it for decades to come, choosing natural hardwood is critical. While hardwoods vary in toughness, some are softer and would not be the best option for your floor. Learn about the wood hardness scale and why understanding them is vital to your hardwood flooring selection.

The Importance of Wood Hardness in Floorings

Hardwood floorings can use different domestic and exotic hardwood species. But not everyone knows how many options are available on the market. Whether it’s engineered hardwood, solid, or parquet, each hardwood has flooring-appropriate boards, and each has its specifics.

Besides their appearance, color, graining, and type, many hardwood planks differ in natural hardness. Investing in hardwood floorings means knowing which ones can last and endure decades of wear and tear. Flooring durability and longevity aren’t the whole definitions of the hardness scale. But it’s one critical factor to consider.

The hardness of your planks can determine how your floors will age and act to change throughout their years of service. Due to this, understanding the wood hardness scale is essential for homeowners to reap the most out of their costly flooring investments.

The Janka Hardness Scale

The international wood flooring industry uses the Janka hardness scale to describe and define the hardness of each hardwood specie. It’s also the scale that they use as a standard when measuring and ranking a wood’s hardness.

When you’re purchasing planks for your hardwood flooring project, knowing where they land on the scale can help you narrow down choices. While it looks complicated, understanding how the Janka hardness scale is easy-to-find and convenient. Janka provides a number for each hardwood specie, and the higher the number, the harder it is.

The Janka hardness scale measures the solidity of the planks by measuring the side hardness of the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter. Besides hardness, it also scales the hardwood’s stress-proofing abilities and how they handle pressure, denting, and wear.

With the scale, homeowners can find and decide which specie is best to use for their hardwood flooring. It allows people to choose which one fits their home, working space, and lifestyle. In addition, Janka is also a great indicator of how you can saw, nail, install, sand, and maintain hardwood planks. 

The Janka Hardness Scales of Popular Hardwood Flooring Options

Homeowners need to remember that the Janka scale is a test that focuses on impact. The scale doesn’t test scratching, scuffing, or any wear and tear that your hardwood floors may experience. Many popular hardwood floorings have high Janka ratings, while some are in the middle range. Here are some of the best-selling hardwoods used in residential flooring.

  • White Oak – 1335
  • Red Oak – 1220
  • White Ash – 1320
  • Hard Maple – 1450
  • Hickory – 1820
  • Walnut – 1010

Many domestic hardwood species like white oak and maple rank high on the Janka hardness scale. While they can handle wear and tear for a long time, many exotic hardwoods are becoming more popular in the flooring industry.

Exotic hardwood floors have higher Janka scale ratings, proving that they’re a sturdier and more durable option for homeowners. Here are some of the exotic wood species many consider for their floorboards this year.

·         Rosewood – 2620

·         Jatoba – 2690

·         Purpleheart – 2520

·         Wenge – 1930

·         Zebrawood – 1830

Besides their hardness, exotic hardwood planks offer more unique patterns, colors, and graining. Some can even provide additional benefits like higher water resistance, like teak. Despite these perks, most imported floorboards are more expensive and require certifications to ensure they come from sustainable sources.

Why is the Janka Scale Vital but Not the Only Consideration?

The Janka hardness scale is a factor that homeowners should consider when shopping for hardwood flooring planks. Understanding the ratings can narrow down your choices, especially if you need sturdy floorboards that can withstand the daily impact of your lifestyle. While they’re vital in your decision-making, they’re not the only consideration.

When you're buying hardwood planks for your wood flooring, remember that the best floors have three elements. Combining all these aspects will help you acquire the floorboards for your home. The Janka scale is one of them, but they won't work at their best if you don’t consider the board’s composition and purpose. 

Looking for the Best Hardwood Flooring Contractor in Austin, TX

Not many remodelers and hardwood flooring buyers know about the Janka hardness scale. While they’re not part of any conventional considerations when buying hardwood planks, they’re vital factors. Understanding how the scale works and how the ratings of different hardwoods can affect how your hardwood floor performs over time. Talking about it with the best hardwood flooring contractor in Austin, TX, can do wonders for your flooring plans.

Visit and consult with experts from Kelly Hardwood Floors today!