Everyone shopping for a hardwood floor wants one that can hold up to scuffs, scratches, dents and everyday wear and tear — while still looking beautiful. Species is just one factor in hardwood durability, and you can see how it measures up with the wood hardness scale.
How does the wood hardness scale work?
The hardwood hardness scale, also called the Janka wood hardness scale, is a universal rating system that assigns each hardwood species a hardness rating based on its resistance to indentation under a controlled force, as determined in laboratory testing. This hardness rating helps flooring manufacturers determine which species would make good floors, and helps buyers compare the hardness of different products.
How can I find out the hardness of an Armstrong Flooring product?
You can easily gauge durability when you're comparing Armstrong Flooring hardwood products by looking for the hardness scale symbol in the "Details" section of each product page. It will show you how that particular product compares to Red Oak, which is used as an industry benchmark for its resiliency and availability.
What is the most durable hardwood flooring?
The wood hardness scale tells you how hard a particular species of wood is, but is not necessarily reflective of how durable that species is in flooring form. Other factors affecting durability include the thickness of the wood, the protective finish applied, and, for engineered wood flooring, the construction of the core layers.
Just talking species hardness though, Brazilian Walnut is at the top with a rating of 3680, almost three times the hardness of Red Oak. At the lower end of the wood hardness scale, you'll find very soft species like Yellow Pine (690) and Douglas Fir (660).
Soft Species May Dent or Wear Easily
Hardwoods softer than Red Oak may be more susceptible to scratches, dents and dings. This is something to consider if you have young children, large pets or a very active household. Of course, you may like a floor that takes on a rugged look and feels more “lived in” over time! And if a flooring style is designed to look more distressed, with scraping or brushing effects, it can be a lot more forgiving to wear and tear.
Harder Species Can be Challenging to Work With
Then there are hardwoods at the top of the Janka scale, so dense that installation may require more time and special tools. Exotic hardwoods tend to be exceptionally hard. For example, Brazilian Cherry (2350) is about 80% harder than Red Oak.
Red Oak Hardwood is the Perfect Mid-Range Species
Strong, resilient Red Oak with a rating of 1290, is the benchmark against which all other wood species are compared. Red Oak was chosen as the median standard because it’s one of the most readily available hardwoods. And Red Oak makes a great floor: It’s not so hard that it’s difficult to saw and nail, nor so soft that it’s easily dented. It’s just right!
When you view the wood hardness scale on Armstrong Flooring product pages, you'll see that the product you're viewing is shown on the chart against Red Oak, so you can tell if it's softer or harder than the median standard.
Ideal for Active Homes: Oak, Maple and Hickory