The Janka Hardness Scale
The Janka scale rates the relative hardness of wood. We have listed some of the most popular choices in wood flooring and included some more exotic species for your reference and comparison.
The higher the number, the harder the wood. These ratings were determined using the Janka Hardness Test which measures the side hardness measure of the force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into the wood. This is one of the best measures of the ability of wood species to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a species is to saw or nail.
This should only be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring. Depending on where the wood is harvested the results may vary. Plank construction and finish are also important factors when determining the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor.
JANKA RATING – WOOD SPECIES (Hardest to Softest)
3684 Brazilian Walnut /Ipe 2345 Mesquite 1820 Hickory and Pecan 1450 Hard / Sugar Maple 1360 White Oak 1320 White Ash 1300 American Beech 1290 Northern Red Oak 1260 Yellow Birch 1225 Yellow Heart Pine 1010 American Walnut 1000 Teak 950 American Cherry 900 Cedar 870 Southern Yellow Pine (Longleaf) 860 American Red Elm 770 Sycamore 690 S.Yellow Pine (Loblolly & Shortleaf) 660 Douglas Fir 540 Chestnut 540 Poplar 380 Eastern White Pine