Is Janka Hardness Still Relevant?
Posted by MariRuth Runyon on 31st Jan 2023
With all the different ways of gauging the durability of flooring, many people wonder if the janka hardness rating is still relevant. When shopping for flooring, customers tend to look at wear layers and finishes to get a better idea of their floorings quality. These traits are more common in flooring rather than janka hardness rating. Especially with the variety of products available, it is easier to glance at commonalities and make a decision rather than hoping to find a janka rating for all the flooring options you are considering. Janka ratings are mostly used for solid hardwood floors, while engineered hardwood focuses more on the wear layer. The numbers for wear layers seem more understandable to those just starting to look for flooring. You can tell what the measurements are (either in mm or mil), and it's implied that the higher the number, the thicker the wear layer. With Janka it can be a bit confusing. If you’re still not fully understanding what Janka hardness tests are, make sure to check out our post that gives you the breakdown of how to use the janka test to your advantage. For brands like Mullican, Shaw, and Someset it’s easy to find their solid hardwood janka rankings but oftentimes you will see other brands don’t have them listed. This doesn’t mean that they are any less durable or that the janka rating doesn’t matter, it just means that there are more convenient ways of gauging durability. The janka test is a useful benchmark to determine what species is best suited for you and your home, but it’s not everything. Finding your perfect flooring also depends on the space you’re placing it. You need to take into consideration how a certain species will react to the sun over an extended period of time and what type of finish you want. You shouldn’t choose your flooring based solely on janka ratings, make sure you know what is right for your space before making a decision. Oftentimes a higher janka score doesn’t mean it's the right quality floor for your everyday use. You must also keep in mind that wood is not completely foolproof or indestructible. Even the best, strongest species can dent or scratch. However, a “softer” or “harder” species isn’t necessarily “worse” or “better.” The purpose of the Janka scale is simply to help consumers see which species resists scratches and dents more than others. In short, yes the janka hardness level is still relevant, but your own judgement based on what you need out of your flooring is the ultimate deal breaker.