How hard is your hardwood?

Reblogger
Home Builder with Floor Coverings International

Here in a great post by Debbie Gartner, Floor Coverings International in Westchester/Western Fairfield.  Debbie does an amazing job of explaining the Janka Scale of Hardness and how it relates to hardwood floors.

Original content by Debbie Gartner

The Janka hardness test measures the hardness of wood. It measures the force required to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood to half the ball's diameter.  It is a good measurement technique to determine the relative hardness across hardwoods.

Red oak is used as the standard and its hardness is 1,290 on the Janka scale.  White oak is just a bit harder at 1,360.  Bamboo is a bit harder at 1,380 (see my past blog on bamboo and why there a wide spread on actual bamboo hardness) and maple a bit harder than that at 1,450.

But, if you shift toward the exotic hardwoods from South America, the woods are on a different wavelength.  The popular Brazilian Cherry is 2,350 - almost twice as hard as red oak.  And, Brazilian walnut comes in at 3,684 - nearly triple the hardness of red oak.

Below is a listing of many hardwoods so you can see the range of hardness.  You'll also note that most of the pines (which were used a LONG time ago) are low. They are rather soft and aren't even considered hardwoods.  They can dent very easily.

Also note that there are some woods such as "cherry" and "walnut"  that vary greatly based on their country of origin.  Brazilian Cherry and Brazilian Walnut are very HARD; conversely American Cherry and American Walnut are very SOFT and will also dent very easily.  So, if you are considering cherry or walnut, be sure to investigate further.

Again, I'm having challenges attaching pictures, but if you click on the links you can see picts of those hardwoods.

Tree Species

Hardness

 

Brazilian Walnut/Lapacho/Ipe 

3,684 

 

Brazilian Teak/Cumaru/Brazilian Chestnut

3,540

 

Brazilian Cherry/Jatoba

2,350

Santos Mahogany/Cabrueva

2,200

Merbau

1,925

Brazilian Oak/Amendoim

1,912

Tigerwood

1,850

Hickory

1,820

Rosewood

1,780

Kempas

1,710

Wenge

1,630

Zebrawood

1,575

Timborana

1,570

Sapele

1,510

Hard Maple

1,450

Natural Bamboo

1,380

White Oak

1,360

Ash

1,320

Red Oak

1,290

Yellow Birch

1,260

Heart Pine

1,225

Peruvian Walnut

1,080

American Walnut/Black Walnut

1,010

American Cherry

   950

Cedar

   900

Southern Yellow Pine - Long leaf

   870

Southern Yellow Pine - Short leaf

   690

Douglas Fir

   660

Debbie Gartner, Floor Coverings International in Westchester/Western Fairfield

Feel free to download our free flooring guide.  Or, visit our flooring selector - almost 2,000 options for hardwood, carpet, tile and more.

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Comments (7)

Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

Thank you , Thank you.  I have been looking for this info

Aug 29, 2010 01:59 AM
Barbara Chatterton
The Stark Company Realtors, Madison WI - Madison, WI
Greater Madison Wisconsin Area Realtor

Thanks for this: I did not know about this scale (I should have!) but I have seen some very scratched up, dented American Cherry>  So sad!

Aug 29, 2010 01:59 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good information for those that are selecting flooring for their homes or offices. Thanks for sharing.

 Blooming for home buyers.

Aug 29, 2010 02:00 AM
Alan Bruzee
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Rockville, MD

That is a great reblog..thanks for the information.

Aug 29, 2010 02:01 AM
Mark Woodward
Floor Coverings International - Randolph, NJ
We bring the flooring store to your door

Barbara, that is soooo true.  American Cherry is a BEAUTIFUL wood, but not very hard.  It should never be used in a high traffic area.  For rooms with light traffic, it makes a beautiful floor.  For customers I meet that want an American Cherry floor in a high traffic area, I like to suggest a Brazilian Cherry.  It has a similar look but is much, much harder.

Aug 29, 2010 02:07 AM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Thanks for reblogging Mark.  Yes, Braz Cherry is much better option than American Cherry.  Also, if budget is limited, Kempas (esp those w/ Cherry stain) is a wonderful alternative.

Aug 29, 2010 02:17 AM
Ed Newman
Alamo Infrared, LLC - Midvale, UT

Thanks for posting this information, I will be sure to pass it on 

Aug 29, 2010 03:45 AM