Product Info   :   Hardwood Durability

How Durability is Measured

The Janka harness test measures the hardness of wood. The test results are not exact but do provide an excellent reference when comparing one species against another. The Janka chart is commonly used in the flooring industry to compare hardwood flooring types. The higher the Janka rating, the more dent and wear resistant a particular wood is. Additionally, the Janka test can determine how malleable the wood is in regard to nailing and sawing. Typically the hardwood species on the lower end of the chart (Pine, Cherry, and Walnut) tend to be easier to work with for installers.

Janka Explained

The Janka process of measuring the density of wood begins with embedding a steel ball (0.444 inches in size) until it reaches halfway into the woods surface. The force required to push the ball halfway into the wood is measured in pounds-force (lbf). Since the hardness of the wood varies with the direction of the grain, both side testing and end testing is performed on wood. The results are captured and put into a chart. This chart is referred to as the Janka Hardness Scale and has become the industry standard for determining whether a given wood is suitable for flooring material. Red Oak, which has a Janka rating of 1290, is the industry benchmark for comparing the relative hardness of different wood species. Generally, the higher a wood's rating on the chart, the more resistant it will be to most wear and tear. We have broken down the chart to separate exotic and domestic species.

High: Anything with a rating above 1800 can be classified as a really durable hardwood. You’ll find many exotic hardwoods in this class including Ipe, Brazilian Teak, Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany, and others. These hardwoods are good for every application from high traffic businesses to homes with kids, pets, and heavily used rooms.

Medium: Filling in the middle ground of the Janka Scale are hardwoods rated between 1200 and 1800. This class is perfect for normal residential applications. This level offers many popular domestic hardwoods like Hickory, Maple, Red and White Oak. There are a couple recognizable exotics in this class including Australian Cypress, Wenge, and Kempas.

Low: This classification is for any hardwoods with a rating less than 1200. This range is obviously best for low-traffic areas. The 3 most popular hardwoods in this class include Walnut, Cherry, and Pine.