When you’re shopping for hardwood floors, you may notice a number describing a Janka rating. If you’re wondering what this number means and what the Janka rating scale is, we have you covered!
How it Works
The Janka rating scale was created to rank the various degrees of hardness throughout the different species of hardwoods. Similar to a laminate AC rating, the hardwood floor hardness determines the durability of the species. The Janka number is found by pushing a steel ball into a 2″ x 2″ x 6″ wood plank. The number of pounds per square inch (PSI) needed to push the steel ball into the wood is the Janka rating number.
To ensure consistent results, wood grains are taken into consideration when testing. Since vertical grains handle differently, they are tested but not often used in the Janka rating system.
Janking Ratings by Numbers
Janka ratings are from 0 to 4,000.The lower the rating, the easier the species is susceptible to scratches and dents. The higher the rating, the more resistant the floor will be to dents and scratches.
Due to different metrics used between countries, not all Janka ratings are measured the same. With the amount of variations, some Janka ratings are stated as just “good” or “bad”.
“Good” vs. “Bad” Janka Ratings
“Good” ratings show that with the proper care and damage prevention, the hardwood floor can look good and last for years to come.
You usually will not see a hardwood floor with a “bad” rating. Those ratings are typically reserved for woods used for products other than flooring, such as Balsa wood used for crafts.
Is it a factor when purchasing?
So should you base your flooring decision with a high priority towards the Janka rating? Yes and no depending on your situation. Most hardwood floors require proper care and maintenance to have a long life. Although a floor may have a low Janka rating, if it is properly maintained, it could outlast a higher ranked wood. If you have a home with children or pets, you may want to consider a harder wood due to the wear and tear it may receive. All hardwoods, no matter the ranking, are susceptible to dents and scratching.
Oak flooring is one of the most popular hardwood floors, yet it is also one of the softer floors. The ratings vary depending on what style of oak you get. It is so popular because it is such an affordable type of wood – not because of its Janka rating. You may also find oak floors with special finishes to help protect it from wear and tear.
Due to the construction of engineered hardwood, it does not have a Janka rating. Only solid hardwood floors can be tested.
Below you’ll find the hardness ratings for common species of wood. Specific Janka ratings will differ per the manufacturer.