If you are looking into hardwood flooring you may have come across the Janka scale. A lot of people want to know if the wood they are getting meets certain hardness standards and what exactly the hardness scale means. The Janka scale is a way to measure a woods ability to resist scratching, dents and wear. The higher the number the more resistant to damage the wood is. The Janka scale is commonly used in the flooring industry to discuss durability of a type of wood as well as its ability to sanded, sawn, planed or nailed.
How Does the Janka Scale Measure Hardness?
The Janka scale was invented in 1906 by Austrian wood researcher Gabriel Janka. The test is an adaption of the brinell Hardness Test for metals. The test measures the pounds of force or lbf to drive an 11.28 mm diameter steel ball halfway into a board. The method was chosen because it leaves an indentation that equals 100 square millimeters in size. A side hardness test is done on the surface of the board and perpendicular to the grain. An end hardness test is a test done on the cut surface of a stump. Not every board will have the same Janka rating because the hardness of a piece of wood varies based on the direction of the wood grain. But most species will stay within a 10% range on every piece of wood.
Why is the Janka Hardness Rating Important?
Hardwood is a big purchase for most customers so it’s no surprise that many homeowners want the hardest wood they can find. People with kids and dogs are most interested in floor that can put up with some abuse. Some of the top picks of domestic wood with high Janka ratings include Hickory, Maple and Ash. Many of the imported woods also boost a high Janka rating.