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Commercial Flooring News

Wood Flooring Hardness Rating Chart

The hardness of wood flooring is measured by something call the Janka test. A .444 inch steel ball is driven into the wood in question to half of the ball’s diameter.

Kids and Dogs?

Before buying and installing your wood floor, it really is necessary to look at the Janka test. Wood floor does get scratched and dented through normal use. On top of that, if you have kids or pets, you will have increased concerns about dents and scratches.

For instance, Douglas Fir, has a Janka hardness rating of 660 and proves to be the softest wood on the list–terrible for hard use.

At the top of the scale is Brazilian cherry with a rating of 2350. One wood that’s off the charts is Brazilian Walnut, with a hardness rating of 3800.

Problems With Hard Wood vs. Soft Wood

While it may seem logical to pick the very hardest wood, keep these points in mind:
Soft wood can be hardened to some degree by the application of polyurethene finishes.
Hard wood is always much more expensive than the softer and medium-grade woods.
Hard wood is more difficult to saw, drill, and nail than other woods, requiring more time and labor and, again, more money.
Janka Hardness Rating Chart

Check out the hardness rating for wood flooring in the chart below. Higher numbers indicate harder wood; lower numbers indicate softer wood.

Douglas Fir 660
S. Yellow Pine, Shortleaf 690
S. Yellow Pine, Longleaf 890
Black Cherry 950
Teak 1000
Black Walnut 1010
Heartpine 1225
Yellow Birch 1260
Red Oak, Northern 1290
American Beech 1300
Bamboo* – Teragren Craftsman II 1307
Ash 1320
White Oak 1360
Australian Cypress 1375
Hard Maple 1450
Wenge 1620
African Pedauk 1725
Hickory 1820
Pecan 1820
Purpleheart 1860
Jarrah 1910
Merbau 1925
Santos Mahogany 2200
Mesquite 2345
Brazilian Cherry 2350
Brazilian Walnut 3800
Bamboo* – Cali Bamboo Fossilized 5000