Installing hardwood floors is undeniably an investment, so we here at Floor Coverings International of Hillsborough, Flemington, and Princeton, NJ understand that our customers want to be as well-informed as possible about their flooring options and information. One of the important characteristics of hardwood species is their Janka hardness rating. If you haven’t heart of the Janka hardness test, we don’t blame you. But it’s an important consideration to take into account when choosing new hardwood flooring. So before you choose the hardwoods you’ll install in your home, take the time to learn a bit about what the Janka hardness test is and how it relates to your hardwood floors.

What is the Janka Hardness Test

The Janka hardness test measures the hardness of a piece of wood. The hardness is measured by how many pounds of force it takes to embed a .444 inch steel ball by half its diameter into the plank of the wood in question. This number becomes the Janka rating for that wood species. The janka hardness rating determines whether a wood species is suitable for flooring or not.

Janka Ratings

Janka ratings for most woods range between 22 for Cuipo wood at the softest level (with balsa wood at the second softest with a janka rating of 100) and 5060 at the hardest for Australian Buloke. The industry benchmark is Northern Red Oak, the most common wood species used in hardwood flooring, which has a janka rating of 1290.

The Janka Ratings of Various Wood Species

Each wood species has its own janka rating. Some of the most common wood species used on flooring have the following Janka ratings:

American Black Cherry – 950

American Black Walnut – 1010

Yellow Birch – 1260

Red Oak – 1290

White Ash – 1320

White Oak 1360

Maple – 1450

Santos Mahogany – 2200

Brazilian Cherry – 2345

Brazilian Teak – 3540

Brazilian Walnut – 3680

Ebony – 3692

As you can see, most domestic tree species tend to be on the softer end, while the hardest woods tend to be exotic tropical species. Both have their positives and negatives, and it is important to remember that the Janka rating is not necessarily a measure of quality, but just of hardness. Very hard wood can be much more brittle and harder to work, for example.

To learn more about the Janka hardness test and hardwood flooring in general, give Floor Coverings International of Hillsborough a call today!