What is the Janka Scale?

The Janka Hardness Scale is a test to rate the relative “hardness” of a wood flooring. The Janka rating is given in pounds-force (lbf) by measuring how much force is needed to imbed a standard sized steel ball halfway into the wood. Flooring manufacturers use this rating to predict a flooring’s ability to withstand denting and wear.

How can I use the Janka scale to help me pick the right hardwood floor?

Choosing Hardwood flooring for your home is a big choice, here at Carpet & Tile Mart we know that and want to help you make the right choice. It's a a big investment for any family, and you want to be sure you made the right selection for your specific needs. If you have kids or pets you already know how hard they can be on flooring. In that case you’ll want to choose a wood flooring with a high Janka rating such as Brazilian Cherry with its 2350 rating. Or depending on the type of grain that appeals to you, you may opt for Sibu with a rating of 1600 or Oak with a rating of 1260. When you visit one of our our stores, let your sales person know where the flooring will be installed and what kind of wear and tear it will be subjected to. They will explain what the Janka Rating numbers mean and which hardwood flooring will best suit your situation. The "best choice" will often be determined by the right mix of look, hardness, and price. The finish and proper care and maintenance can also be a big factor in the longevity of your new floor, more on those in a future post!

The Janka scale should only be used as a guide for comparison purposes; there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a hardwood for your home. For instance, how the hardwood manufactured and finished makes a very big difference in it's durability rating. Engineered flooring is a good example of this. The wood layers along with the core of the board all work together to make a tough, durable product with a Janka rating higher than the original species of wood on its own. Scratch resistant finishes also increase the floor's durability. Shaw Floors claims that their ScufResist finish resists scuffs up to six times better than their competition.

Below is a list of some hardwoods for comparison:

Species Rating
Ebony 3220
Brazilian Cherry 2350
Mahogany 2200
Tigerwood 1850
Hickory 1820
Acacia 1750
Merabu 1712
Kempas 1710
Red Pine 1630
Sibu 1600
Hard Maple 1450
Bamboo 1380
Oak 1360
Birch 1260
Ash 1320
Black Walnut 1010
Cedar 900
Chestnut 540
White Pine 380

To compare, white pine sits at the bottom of the Janka scale, with a rating of 380. You might find this species in some very low-end furniture, but it is generally considered too soft to use for home furnishings and finishes. We at Carpet and Tile Mart don't sell anything with a Janka rating less than 1360.
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