janka hardness scale floor expo new york new jersey

Trees are some of the most beautiful creations on this earth. Many bloom in brilliant colors in the spring, including white and pink, and deciduous trees again grace us with beauty in the fall as they shed their leaves in a gorgeous array of purples, reds, oranges, and yellows. They provide us with shade when it’s hot out, oxygen, and an abundance of supplies and materials that we make from its wood, including hardwood flooring.

That being said, just like every tree has different characteristics, so too does its wood. And because there are so many trees, flooring experts have created a scale to help us know which hardwood to choose for our flooring needs. This scale is called the Janka hardness scale.

Floor Expo is the premier flooring expert in New York and New Jersey. We offer the best flooring options for your needs, including hardwood floors, carpet, carpet tile, vinyl, and laminate. Our 20,000 square foot showroom offers you the opportunity to see our floors as they would look in your home. We offer the highest-quality flooring at the best prices with the best customer experience. Below, we’ll explore the Janka hardness scale. Contact us today for your free flooring design consultation!


The Janka hardness scale is a measure of how wood holds up to wear, tear, dents, and scratches on its surface. Named after Gabriel Janka who developed it in 1906, the Janka hardness ratings are used to help customers determine what type of wood floor to install in their homes.


Wood is tested in its lumber form on the heartwood or on the trunk of the tree. Experts are looking for the direction of the wood grain (the longitudinal direction). It also tells the force needed to embed a .444 steel ball into it. Basically, the higher the number, the harder the wood. While the Janka hardness scale is a great indicator of the hardness of wood, it should only be used as a general guideline when picking out hardwood flooring. There are other variables at play that can affect the hardness of the wood as well, such as the location of where the tree was grown and harvested.

Red Oak, which has a Jank rating of 1290, is the hardwood flooring benchmark relative to other wood species.


Almost all hardwoods and softwoods are durable enough to be used as great hardwood flooring options, especially with a great hardwood finish applied, as well as a superb installation job — both of which Floor Expo can help you with if you partner with us for your next hardwood flooring purchase.

However, like every living thing, wood floors will show wear and tear with time, including dents and scratches. The key to keeping your hardwood floors in tip-top condition is the care you offer them. Brazilian Walnut is considered the hardest wood while Eastern White Pine is considered the softest.


Some rooms that see a lot of use will need a harder wood with a higher Janka score. For example, the entryway of a restaurant might consider Red Pine over American Walnut for this very reason. Do note that the harder the wood, the harder it is to cut through it, which means a higher installation cost if you choose a hard wood for your flooring needs. However, hardwood flooring prices are determined by availability, not by end use of the wood. For instance, due to its availability, oak is the most popular wood flooring choice although it’s in the middle of the Janka Hardness Scale. That is because it is widely available, its price is lower than other hardwoods, which can make the difference for some Americans when investing in hardwood flooring versus other types of flooring.


Floor Expo serves the people of New York and New Jersey with exceptional customer service and the best hardwood flooring in the industry. We partner with the top name brands in the business to bring you almost any type of hardwood of any type of hardness that you will need. When you make an appointment with our flooring design consultants, they can help you decide where on the Janka hardness scale you need to be and which hardwoods will suit you the best. When you are next looking for flooring, look no further than Floor Expo. Contact us today!