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What is a Janka Rating?

Janka Rating – What Does it Mean and Should I Be Concerned

   If you are buying hardwood floors for the first time, you have probably heard the term “Janka Rating” and wondered what it meant and if you should be concerned. First let’s start with a history of what a Janka Test is what a Janka Rating is and how it is measured.

   The Janka Test was developed in a Forest Products Laboratory for the United States Department of Agriculture to scientifically measure the hardness for US hardwood species. This test is performed by taking a .444 inch steel ball and pressing it into a 2" wide by 2" thick by 6" long block of wood until the ball reaches the depth of half of its diameter. The test is done on twice on each side of the wood block and once on each end. Then the average of the side test values is used to calculate the value to be used as the Janka Rating for the species. This means if the test required and average of 2,700 pounds of pressure to get the ball to the half way point, then the Janka Rating for that species would be rated at 2,700. The higher the number the harder the wood species.

   Now that you have an understanding of a Janka rating, it is time to understand if the Janka Rating should be of concern when shopping for hardwood flooring. The honest answer is, possibly. The reason we say possibly is because the level of hardness is not the only aspect which should be considered when shopping for a hardwood floor. Quality of manufacturing is very important in the long term usability of the floor, particularly the quality and type of finish. The hardness of the wood species is a good indication how easily or not the floor will dent and the hardness you need depends on the activeness of your home. If your single or a couple living in your home, with no children or pets your concerns about Janka Ratings are minimal. However, if your household is a bit more active and you have active pets or children in your home, Janka Ratings should be a definite concern.

   The species which is considered as industry standard for comparing the hardness of all other hardwood species is Northern Red Oak. This hardwood species has been used for flooring in the US for well over 100 years. Coming in at 1,290 on the Janka Scale Red Oak's hardness sits at about of the middle of the scale, which is another reason why its been the species to used to compare against. There are many species of woods which are softer than Northern Red Oak, but many of these are not used for the finished flooring surface. This is because they are too soft to be able to wear well in an average home. However, some of these wood species are widely used in the manufacturing of the cores for engineered floors because of their greater moisture stability.

   If you have a very active home and are looking for a extremely dense hardwood floor, you should definitely take a look at our Strand Woven floors. The density for all of these floors come with a rating above 3,000 pounds on the Janka Scale. This is over double the hardness of Northern Red Oak. Coupled with a high quality urethane aluminum oxide wear layer, makes these floors a great choice for people with active households.

   Although choosing a wood species with a high Janka Rating does give a good indication the flooring you choose will hold up to the wear and tear of your home's lifestyle, the most important thing to keeping a floor looking new for year is care and maintenance. How you care for a floor is the key element to keeping any floor looking new.

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