Understanding the Janka Rating Scale

If you’re buying hardwood floors you should understand what you’re buying. One of the elements to any type of wood flooring is the hardness of the wood itself. The hardness will determine how the floor will stand up to pets, toys, moving furniture and your everyday life. All wood, whether it’s used for décor, flooring or furniture, has a Janka rating that tells you how hard a particular species of wood is. The harder it is, the more it will resist scratches and dents.

janka ratingWhat Are Janka Ratings?

Janka ratings range from zero to 4,000. Each species of wood is tested with a 0.444 inch steel ball and pressure. The amount of force (in pounds per square inch) needed to embed the steel ball into a 2” X 2” X 6” piece of wood halfway determines it’s hardness. Every species of wood has a variable of about 10% but it’s generally a good guideline. Keep in mind that no matter which species of wood you choose, no wood is impervious to scratches or dents. Wood that has a higher Janka rating will, with normal use, withstand scratches and dents better than softer wood.

What Are Some Popular “Good” Choices?

If a wood species can’t stand up to normal use that a floor gets, it wouldn’t be sold as hardwood flooring. Keep in mind that everyone has a different definition of good. For some, it’s affordable, for others good refers to grain pattern. Finally, to some, it means easily stained almost any color. Depending on what you are looking for, the right hardwood floors for you may mean something different than to someone else. Three of the most common hardwood floors:

  • Red Oak – This relatively hard wood has a Janka Hardness Rating of 1290. It is not only popular in homes because of its relative hardness, but also because of its affordability.
  • White Oak – Slightly harder than red oak at 1360, white oak is just as available, and, in many cases, more affordable than red oak.
  • Maple – Maple is the hardest of the three most common hardwood floors chosen today with a Janka Hardness Rating of 1450.

The hardest wood species on the scale are Brazilian Teak, Brazilian Walnut, and Brazilian Cherry. All three have a hardness rating more than 3500. They, along with many other hardwoods, are categorized as exotic hardwoods. Exotic hardwood species come with a much higher price tag.

Proper Installation and Finishing Make for Better Floors

You want your new hardwood floors laid by an experienced installer no matter which hardwood species you end up choosing. Flooring that’s laid and finished properly will look good longer. If you’re looking for a hardwood flooring company for your new hardwood flooring in Clearwater, Palm Harbor or Sarasota, call Seer Flooring at (727) 785-1930 for your free in-home consultation.