Have you ever wondered what are the hardest types of wood? The Janka rating scale is the standard of measurement for determining the hardness of different wood species. Ratings are measured by the resistance of a wood sample to denting and general wear and tear. In determining wood hardness, the Janka Scale observes a variety of factors:
- Wood hardness can vary with different directions of the wood grain.
- Testing the surface of a board, perpendicular to the grain, measures “side hardness.”
- Testing the cut surface of a stump measures “end hardness.”
The Janka Hardness Test measures the side hardness measurement of the force required to ingrain a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter into the wood. The higher the number equals, the harder the wood; in the United States this measurement is in pounds-force.
Rating the Most Popular Species
Red oak, which has a Janka rating of 1290, is the most popular U.S. hardwood species and is an industry benchmark for correlating the relative hardness of different hardwood species. While there are plenty of hard domestic wood species, some of the hardest woods come from exotic trees in countries like Peru, Brazil, and Africa.
From highest to lowest, below are the Janka ratings for some of the most popular hardwood species (for a full list of all wood species and their Janka ratings, you can refer to this chart).
Brazilian Cherry/ Jatoba
Is a Higher or Lower Janka Rating Better?
The Janka Hardness Scale is an industry standard for measuring how durable various wood species are — and more and more consumers are looking to it to make their buying decisions.
While most hardwoods and softwoods will withstand normal wear and tear, all wood is susceptible to denting and other potential damage — regardless of how high or low their Janka ratings are. So don’t assume that a harder-rated species will fully withstand dents and imperfections in high traffic areas or in areas of your home that would be more susceptible to deterioration.
Still, hardwoods and softwoods that have a higher Janka rating will be more durable, and would be preferable for homes with large pets and high foot traffic. If you are interested in learning more about hardwood and the durability of specific wood species, give us a call or visit our showroom to speak to a flooring specialist.