While most people find the allure in harder woods, softwood flooring is still a durable and beautiful option for any home. But the question always remains: why would you install a less durable flooring?

The Janka Hardness Scale is one of the most utilized tools in the hardwood flooring industry. The scale, which determines the wood’s durability, measures the force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into a particular species of wood. The higher the rating on the Janka Scale, the harder the wood.

Truth be told, much of a floor’s durability depends on its finish, not necessarily the species of wood. Enough coats of a finish on any floor will help withstand it from scratches and dents.

This means soft wood floors are a strong contender for your home.

Just because their Janka rating is low doesn’t mean they can’t withstand normal foot traffic. Common types of soft woods are Hevea, Walnut, Birch, and Pine. Not only are these woods beautiful, they’re more inclined to take on an aged, traditional character due to their species type.

One thing to remember with softer woods is that they may not be the best fit for really high traffic areas, like an entryway or a kitchen. While a strong finish protects the surface of your floor, a floor’s finish wears away over time if you do not maintain it. When a finish wears away, it makes your softer woods more susceptible to the wear and tear of daily life. If you choose a softer wood floor, the key to maintaining its look and sheen is to keep up with its finish every few years.