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Hardness Rating and Your Hardwood Floor

hardness rating

The hardness rating of a species of hardwood indicates how durable it is and is a useful metric when choosing a hardwood floor.

Once you have decided to go with solid hardwood for your new floor, many other decisions will have to be made. The species of hardwood, the grade, plank size, and type of finish are all choices that your hardwood floor installer can help you make. One of the factors influencing your decisions could be the durability of your floor and its ability to stand up against abuse and high traffic. This is where understanding the hardness rating of wood could come in handy, so today we’re going to explain what a hardness rating is.

Soft vs. Hard Hardwood

Different species of wood can tolerate different levels of daily usage. You may love the look of a Black Walnut or American Cherry wood, but these do not stand up well to heavy usage. However, some of the hardest hardwoods are not very flexible – these don’t hold up in dry climates because they do not have much give in them. These are the two extreme ends of the spectrum, of course, but it is something to keep in mind as you choose a hardwood material for your needs.

The Janka Hardness Rating

A hardness rating is measured using something called the Janka Hardness Test. This test measures the amount of force required to embed half of a .444-inch steel ball into a piece of the wood. A higher rating indicates a larger amount of force, and, therefore, a more durable flooring material. The median rating is around 1600. The wood in the middle of the Janka Hardness Chart has a very good mixture of flexibility and durability. Not surprisingly, the species in the middle of the spectrum are some of the most popular species used in hardwood floor installation, such as White and Red Oak.

The Janka Hardness Rating should only be used as a general guideline since results can vary depending on harvest location, construction of the plank, and the finish applied to the floor. However, as a general guideline, it can be quite useful in your quest to find the perfect hardwood floor species for your new flooring.

Hardwood Flooring with John K Eareckson & Co.

At John K. Eareckson & Co., we pride ourselves on providing the best quality and craftsmanship in the Baltimore-Washington area, from custom hardwood installation and repairs to refinishing. So if you’re in the market for new hardwood flooring, pick up the phone and give us a call today! If you have any questions about new hardwood floors, please contact John K. Eareckson & Co. by calling 410-788-4200 or visit today for a free quote regarding any of your hardwood flooring needs. You can also follow us on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter!


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