If all hardwood is hard, does it matter what the rating is?  Yes!  This is what is used to measure the durability of the floor.  You may have some areas that have higher traffic than others, and you may even have extra durability needs.

The species of hardwood flooring is given a rating number from the Janka Scale. Janka is the industry-accepted rating system, and keep in mind that it's an impact test, not one that measures scratches.

Here’s all you need to know, however.  The rating system ranges from 400 to 3700.  The higher the number, the stronger the wood. While a good Janka rating falls somewhere around 1,000, it’s important to note that some with lower numbers can work equally well in some installations.

Comparing the hardness of most popular species

  • Wood flooring that is oak is particularly sought-after, and this has two versions:  red oak and white oak. Red oak’s rating is 1290; white oak is 1360. Since they both have fairly similar ratings, this would most likely be more a preference of style. (Note: Some in the flooring industry use the red oak rating as a standard.)
  • Hickory is super-tough, making it appropriate for high traffic floors: that number is 1820.
  • Cherry, at 950, would be more suitable for lower traffic floors.
  • Maple is ultra-strong at 1450.
  • Walnut is better for lower to medium traffic at 1390.

Exotics, such as Brazilian Walnut or Patagonian Rosewood have ultra-high ratings, close to 4,000, but sometimes an ultra-high number isn't great for flooring because it's so difficult to saw.

Of course, if you want wood, but have concerns about water, moisture, scratches, and scuffs, there's always a wood-look flooring, such as luxury vinyl.  This is completely waterproof and highly durable.

Talk to your hardwood flooring retailer to discuss all your concerns and questions.

Also, take into account thickness

Whether solid or engineered, the thicker the floor, the more durable it is, and the more often it can be sanded and refinished.  Solid ranges in thickness from 5/16 to ¾-inch; engineered from ⅝ to ¾-inch.

For more information about hardwood or any of our other products, visit Specialty Flooring SC st the Ridgeland, SC showroom, serving Ridgeland, Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, GA.  Ask about our free estimates.