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What Is the Most Durable Type of Hardwood Flooring? Janka Hardness Scale Guide

Janka Scale

Everyone wants the floors of their home to look great, and they should look great; flooring is an integral part of any house. The easiest way to keep your floor in tip-top shape is to have a material that is able to withstand the regular activities in your home. Whether you have children, pets, or regularly entertain, you need a durable floor that stands up to whatever gets thrown at it (or dropped on it).

Hardwood Durability

Hardwood flooring is a highly durable option, known for its longevity and easy maintenance. However, there are certain things to consider if you want your hardwood floor to be as durable as possible.

First, you need to pick the right type of wood for your home. Some wood types are softer than others and more likely to dent and scratch. For example, if your home receives heavy foot traffic or you have children, a softer wood such as pine probably is not the best choice for you. However, no matter what type of wood you choose, it is important to remember that the finish of your flooring is the first line of defense against wear and tear. Make sure your hardwood flooring has a proper finish.

But really, the most important thing you can do to maintain the durability of your hardwood floor is take care of it. Do your best to avoid bringing in debris, letting pets run wild, and wearing heels or heavy shoes in the house. It is a good idea to use area rugs wherever possible and cover areas that receive heavy sunlight to prevent fading.

What to Look for in Hardwood Flooring

When choosing hardwood flooring, there is a lot to consider before making your final decision. You must decide on the grade and type of the wood, the finish, the size of the plank, and the installer. There is also the process of picking between softer woods and harder ones, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Softer woods, such as cherry and oak, are often chosen for their pleasing aesthetic, but are more likely to dent and take other damage. Harder woods, such as Brazilian walnut, are less likely to take dents and other surface damage but offer low flexibility, leaving those in drier climates with a higher chance of split boards. To determine the hardness of wood flooring, we turn to the Janka Hardness Scale.

Janka Hardness Scale

The Janka hardness scale rates a wood's relative hardness, with higher numbers indicating harder wood. Janka ratings are determined by calculating the amount of force it takes to drive a .444" steel ball to half its diameter in the wood. Not only does this provide an idea of how the wood stands up to denting and other damage, it indicates the difficulty of sawing and nailing the boards.

It must be noted that the Janka hardness scale is meant to be used as a general guide to wood hardness. Results are affected by the construction of the plank, the finish, and even the harvest location. Remember that no wood is impervious to damage; even the hardest of wood flooring has the capacity to dent.

How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?

Providing an exact cost for hardwood flooring is difficult, as there are several factors that contribute to the total price. Additional materials, finishing, installation, and waste all play a role in determining the final cost. Here is a general pricing guideline to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay for your hardwood flooring:

  • On average, hardwood flooring has a cost between $3 and $10 per square foot, with common wood types costing less and exotic woods costing more.
  • Installation has an average cost between $3 and $7 per square foot.
  • Finishing the flooring on-site has an average cost between $2 and $5 per square foot for stain and sealer application.
  • It is recommended that you budget and additional 10 percent to cover any additional expenses and to order between 5 and 10 percent more material than you need to cover waste production.