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What Is A Janka Test?

The Janka Test measures the force required to embed a 11.28 millimeter (0.444 inch) steel ball into wood to half its diameter. This method was chosen so that the result would leave an indention 100 square millimeters in size. It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a species is to saw or nail.  What does the janka test have to do with your purchase?  We've know how to use the janka hardness test to your advantage.  Basically, determining the type of lifestyle where the flooring is to be installed is a good place to start.  Do you have kids?  Toys can be really rough on a hardwood floor.  Is being installed in a business?  Is it going to be installed in the kitchen where pots and pans will be dropped.  The type of finish has nothing to do with how well a hardwood holds up against indentation.  You could have the toughest finish, like ceramic, on a pine floor, and still damage the floor just by dropping your keys on it. Scratch resistance is different than Dent resistance.  Its important to inquire about both the finish and the hardness.  In comes the janka test.  A good starting point is an oak product.  Its not the hardest species, but holds up well when pots and pans are dropped.  The harder the species, the more expensive it can be.  Hickory is the hardest wood species that is domestically grown and produced in America.  It typically cost 20% more than red or white oak.  Its a balancing act, comparing price to quality, but Georgia Carpet has distributed hardwood flooring to thousands of happy customers.  We want to help you get the best discount hardwood floor species in your home our business.  At Georgia Carpet, we carry many name brands of durable, hard coated hardwood floors like ManningtonBruce HardwoodsShaw and Homerwood.


 Wood Flooring SpeciesJanka Hardness
 Ipe / Brazilian Walnut / Lapacho 3684
 Cumaru / Brazilian Teak 3540
 Ebony 3220
 Brazilian Redwood / Paraju 3190
 Angelim Pedra 3040
 Bloodwood 2900
 Red Mahogany, Turpentine 2697
 Spotted Gum 2473
 Brazilian Cherry / Jatoba 2350
 Mesquite 2345
 Santos Mahogany, Bocote, Cabreuva 2200
 Pradoo 2170
 Brushbox 2135
 Karri 2030
 Sydney Blue Gum 2023
 Bubinga 1980
 Cameron 1940
 Tallowwood 1933
 Merbau 1925
 Amendoim 1912
 Jarrah 1910
 Purpleheart 1860
 Goncalo Alves / Tigerwood 1850
 Hickory / Pecan, Satinwood 1820
 Afzelia / Doussie 1810
 Bangkirai 1798
 Rosewood 1780
 African Padauk 1725
 Blackwood 1720
 Merbau 1712
 Kempas 1710
 Locust 1700
 Highland Beech 1686
 Wenge, Red Pine 1630
 Tualang 1624
 Zebrawood 1575
 True Pine, Timborana 1570
 Peroba 1557
 Kambala 1540
 Sapele / Sapelli 1510
 Curupixa 1490
 Sweet Birch 1470
 Hard Maple / Sugar Maple 1450
 Coffee Bean 1390
 Natural Bamboo (represents one species) 1380
 Australian Cypress 1375
 White Oak 1360
 Tasmanian Oak 1350
 Ribbon Gum 1349
 Ash (White) 1320
 American Beech 1300
 Red Oak (Northern) 1290
 Caribbean Heart Pine 1280
 Yellow Birch 1260
 Movingui 1230
 Heart Pine 1225
 Carbonized Bamboo (represents one species) 1180
 Cocobolo 1136
 Brazilian Eucalyptus / Rose Gum 1125
 Makore 1100
 Boreal 1023
 Black Walnut 1010
 Teak 1000
 Sakura 995
 Black Cherry, Imbuia 950
 Boire 940
 Paper Birch 910
 Cedar 900
 Southern Yellow Pine (Longleaf) 870
 Lacewood, Leopardwood 840
 Parana 780
 Sycamore 770
 Shedua 710
 Southern Yellow Pine (Loblolly and Shortleaf) 690
 Douglas Fir 660
 Larch 590
 Chestnut 540
 Hemlock 500
 White Pine 420
 Basswood 410
 Eastern White Pine 380

The Basics

Hardwood has remained the on of the world’s most popular floor coverings for centuries and one of the most challenging parts about deciding on what hardwood to go with is not the look of the wood, but the hardness. The term hardwood is a collective term used to describe a variety of wood species. They come from trees differing in color, moisture resistance, grain and hardness.

The Janka scale actually rates the trees by measuring hardness. This is more complex than what it may seem. The test is designed to measure the resilience of the tree species by applied force. More specifically a number is assigned to the specie of wood based on how well it performs when half of a 0.444 inch steel ball is embedded into the wood’s surface.

There are variants, and depending on the position of the grain and board direction during the test, will be the deciding factor of the “side” or “end” hardness of the wood. When doing a side test score the pound force is applied perpendicularly to the grain, and this is the number that will be given to you as the Janka score. Higher number means harder wood.

Why do we test a wood’s hardness?

The whole point of the test is to measure the species resistance to denting, which is one of the most important factors when choosing the right hardwood surface for your floors. With high traffic, pets, and children being children, you can’t go wrong with being prepared for life’s little mistakes. Even the weight of furniture can dent a floor if it does not score high on the scale after sitting there for awhile.

When it comes to installing the hardwood flooring, this can be a great indicator of the level of installation that will be required. Typically the harder the wood, the more time and energy it will take to install, as softer woods can typically be nailed easily while harder woods will require pre-drilled holes. 

Great to know, but it isn’t everything.

Many people tend to depend too much on numbers when it comes to the Janka score. It should be known that this score is not 100% accurate. It is more for a “ball park” value than a set in stone hardness rating. Although the hardness of your future floors are important, factors like finish and construction will directly affect the durability of your floor.

 Janka Hardness Scale

Janka Hardwood Hardness Test

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