Hardwood Floor Durability

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In this Blog we will discuss the different types of hardwood flooring available, compare and contrast the durability differences between them and help maximize the life of whatever flooring you choose. One way to go about choosing a Hardwood Floor is by checking the Janka rating. This being a hardness estimate given to wood. In hardwood flooring, the score is used to determine the durability of hardwood species that it might be suitable for a home. No matter what species you’re interested in, chances are, it has already undergone the Janka hardness test. For flooring, one of the most important criteria in choosing the right wood is its resistance to denting as a result of pressure from, say, a stiletto heel, the tip of a small chair leg, a pet’s toenail, etc. The Janka hardness test, to some degree, replicates such.

So, there are many different types of hardwood flooring, and they have different levels of general durability. There are the strongest against the everyday wear and tear of foot traffic, and others that may scuff more easily but be more resistant against stains. How do you know what kind is best for your situation?

Durable Wood Flooring Options and the Janka Scale

Oak – The Industry Standard
When we talk about the Janka Scale, we often use oak as a reference point. That’s because oak is one of the most common wood flooring types in the US, and with its Janka rating around 1300 (White Oak rates at 1360 while Red Oak rates at 1290) it’s basically the middle ground when it comes to hardness.
Oak is the industry standard because it’s durable enough for anything! So, when we talk about the most durable wood flooring, this is one of the best bets.

Hickory – The Hardest American Wood Species
Hickory is the most durable wood species grown domestically with a Janka rating around 1820. Hickory is a beautiful and unique wood species that sports various colors and a ton of grain character. It’s one of the best hardwood floors for buyers who want a durable surface and a lot of personality in their wood. Some of the most beautiful wood floor patterns use Hickory to make them unique.

Santos Mahogany – A Durable and Exotic Wood
One of the most common exotic hardwood species for flooring, Santos Mahogany is a super durable wood flooring option. Santos Mahogany comes in around 2200 on the Janka scale and features a deep red color with a tight grain.

Maple – Contemporary and Shock-Absorbent
Maple is also quite strong with a Janka rating of 1450.
Maple flooring is quite shock absorbing and commonly used for basketball courts. People love maple flooring for its buttery colors, light grains, and gorgeous finish. This is popular in contemporary designs.

Ebony – Very Rare, But Very Durable
Ebony flooring rate a super-high 3220 on the Janka scale. Ebony wood is very dark in color which makes it quite unique. Rarer to obtain but, using ethically sourced Ebony is one of the most durable wood flooring options around.

Teak – Water-Resistant
Teak is an extremely durable wood flooring choice with a Janka rating of 2330. But if you look into Teak flooring pros and cons, you’ll find that hardness isn’t the wood’s only selling point.
Imbued with natural oils and resins, Teak is extremely glossy and beautiful even without the use of finish. Additionally, these natural oils make teak a naturally water-resistant wood choice and is often used on boats.

Brazilian Teak– Cumaru – A Definite Durable Wood Flooring Choice
Cumaru, or Brazilian teak, holds a high Janka rating of 3540. That alone would have earned it a spot on our list of the most durable wood flooring choices.

Cumaru isn’t just remarkably strong and stunning, it is also relatively reasonable for an exotic wood.

Ash – Stylish and Hard
Ash flooring has an excellent Janka rating of 1320 with a light, stylish grain that looks great in modern designs. Unfortunately, Ash trees are currently threatened by a blight caused by the emerald ash borer beetle, so it may not be the most environmentally responsible flooring choice on this list.

Brazilian Cherry – Jatoba – Durable and Resistant to Pests
We have Jatoba (sometimes known as Brazilian Cherry) which is thankfully, resistant to termites and other pests and it’s strong – really strong. Jatoba has a Janka rating of 2350.
Jatoba is a great choice for buyers looking for a strong, beautiful, and relatively sustainable wood flooring choice. Jatoba’s beautiful reddish-brown grain is always inviting.

Tigerwood – Goncalo Alves – Unique and Striking
Goncalo Alves, also known as Tigerwood—rates a 2250 on the Janka scale. So why is it called Tigerwood? Because of the marvelous grain appearing in stripes of alternating colors. Wonderfully beautiful.

Bamboo – Hard and One-of-a-Kind
Strand-woven Bamboo flooring can score well over 3000 on the Janka scale. That’s earnestly hard. Bamboo’s many options make it a totally one-of-a-kind pick. You can even buy engineered Bamboo flooring!

Hemp – New and Durable
Hemp isn’t technically a type of wood flooring, but it looks just like one and it ranks over 3500 on the Janka scale. Hemp flooring is one of the new types of flooring around. This is an eco-friendly flooring option.

Ipe – Brazilian Walnut) – One of The Most Durable Wood Flooring
If you’re looking for the most durable wood flooring there is, Ipe – Brazilian Walnut is going to be right at the top of the list. As far as woods universally used for flooring, it rates #1 with a 3680 Janka rating. Ipe – Brazilian Walnut claims a deep color and a soft grain.

Erich Müller
Erich Müller
ALL CITY HARDWOOD FLOORS, INC. My name is Erich Muller and I am the gracious owner of All City Floors Inc. I am a native "Angelino" that not only takes pride in his work but loves to see the gratification in the eyes of our customers, with over 20 years of experience and Hundreds of Satisfied Customers!