Which Floor Is Right For You: Janka Hardness Scale

Ever wonder just how hard a certain species of wood is? With the Janka Hardness Scale, you can see how resistant a certain species of wood is to denting and wear. It is the measure of the force required to push a small steel ball with an 11.28 millimeter diameter a certain distance into the wood. On the Janka Scale, higher numbers indicate harder wood, while lower numbers indicate softer wood.

In residential homes, a Janka rating around 1,000 or above is suitable, depending on the type of traffic your rooms encounter. For homes with children and pets, a 1,200 and above ranking is recommended. Options like Brazilian Cherry, Acacia, and Songwood are great options for living rooms, kitchens, entryways, and children’s rooms because they have higher rankings, which means harder floors. Species like Walnut, Hevea, and Fir are softer, but still durable choices. These types of floors are better suited for rooms that have low traffic, like dining rooms and formal living rooms.

Flooring species that are strand woven rank highest on the Janka Scale due to the high pressure manufacturing process. Species like Bamboo  are actually made of grass, not wood. Their strands are interwoven with hard resin and other excess flooring materials in a high pressure process that makes them one of the hardest wood floors on the market. Not only are they incredibly durable, but the use of extremely renewable materials makes them a great eco-friendly flooring option.

It’s also important to note that the same type of wood from different regions around the world can render different ratings on the Janka Scale. For example, Brazilian Cherry wood is much harder than an American Cherry due to the changes in climate and other environmental factors. It’s important to always check where the species comes from on the Janka Scale to determine if it is the right flooring for your home.

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