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How to Use the Janka Hardness Test to your Advantage

Are you in the market for new hardwood flooring? With all of the hardwood options available today one of your best weapons in your arsenal is the Janka Hardness Test. Many people have seen it online and in the brick and mortar stores, but do you know what it is all about? More than likely if this is your first time shopping for hardwood flooring you do not. So today’s blog article is all about the Janka hardness test!

 

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.


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