Wood Hardness & the Janka ScaleAren’t all hardwood floors “hard”? Some are harder and more durable than others. The most widely-used wood hardness scale is known as the Janka Scale, developed in 1906 by Gabriel Janka, an Austrian wood researcher. In 1927 it was standardized by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
The Janka hardness test is a measurement of the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in wood. It is the industry standard for gauging the ability of various species to tolerate denting and normal wear, as well as being a good indication of the effort required to either nail or saw the particular wood.
The scale runs from zero (the softest) to 4000 (the hardest). Woods with a low rating on the wood hardness scale are those that will dent and scratch most easily. For example, Balsa wood, which is extremely lightweight and used for crafts, is one of the lowest on the scale at 100. One of the hardest woods, scoring 3680, is Brazilian Walnut. A higher score indicates that more effort is required to nail or saw the wood. Because testing is performed on samples of wood, results can vary depending on the source of the wood and other factors. But the scale is helpful as a general industry guideline to determine the hardness of wood and which woods are appropriate for flooring and other heavy duty uses.
The Janka Scale doesn’t show that any type of flooring is better than another. It does give an indication of how wood flooring will hold up to foot traffic, dirt and grit, pets, furniture and other wear factors. Take into account your personal preference in terms of color and style, how the flooring fits your budget and your lifestyle. While Red Oak (1290) is a very popular flooring choice, this is partly based on it’s ready availability and affordable pricing. A softer Heart Pine or American Cherry floor may have the look and feel that you desire, and may just require more dedicated care to maintain its look.
Our knowledgeable professionals use the wood hardness scale to assist our customers in selecting their new wood flooring. This is just one of many factors to consider as you make your choice. With over 30 years of experience in residential and commercial wood flooring, Arizona Hardwood Supply has superior knowledge of our product lines and the latest developments in the industry. Please note that this is just a partial list containing some of the most popular choices in wood flooring as well as some of the more exotic species we carry.
For a detailed description of a particular species, click on its name below to view a wood flooring specification page on that type of wood. Please note that this is just a partial list containing some of the most popular choices in wood flooring as well as some of the more exotic species we carry.
If you have questions about the wood hardness scale or which types of flooring are best for your upcoming project, please click here to contact us or call (623) 742-9663 (WOOD). If you would like to talk to us in person stop by one of our convenient Valley locations to discuss your project.