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What is the Janka Rating and Why Does It Matter?

If you’re considering installing hardwood floors in your home, then you’re probably doing research to make sure you get the right flooring for you. During your research, it’s likely that you’ve heard of something called the ‘Janka rating’. While you may not know it, the Janka rating is actually one of the most important things you should consider when picking a hardwood.

The Janka rating of your hardwood floor speaks directly to its durability, letting you know exactly how useful a particular type of hardwood might be in your home. Here’s what you need to know about Janka ratings and how these ratings can help you pick the perfect hardwood flooring for your home.

How Does the Janka Rating Work?

Developed in the early twentieth century, the Janka scale is a measurement of how durable a particular type of hardwood is. A hardwood’s Janka rating directly correlates to its ability to resist dents, scuffs and scratches, as well as letting you know how flexible a given type of flooring will be.

Measuring a hardwoods Janka rating is done by taking a 2” x 2” x 6” piece of flooring and then pressing a steel ball into it. The amount of pressure—measured in pounds per square inch—it takes to press the steel ball halfway into the piece of wood will determine the wood’s final Janka rating. The higher the Janka rating, the more pressure was required to press the steel ball.

Why is it Important?

Now that you know how the Janka rating is calculated, and what it means, you might be wondering one thing: Why is it important? Simply put, Janka rating matters because it tells how much durability and versatility you’ll get out of a hardwood. As the Janka rating goes up, so does your floors resistance to wear and tear over time.

Certain hardwoods, such as Brazilian Cherry and Mesquite, have very high Janka ratings, while others, like Douglas Firs and Teak, rank low on the scale. The Janka scale has a top rating of 4000, although these woods generally aren’t used for flooring. Ideally, the flooring in your home should have a Janka rating of at least 1000.

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Choosing the Right Flooring by Janka Rating

When attempting to choose your flooring using the Janka rating, there are a couple of things that you should consider. While you want to make sure you choose a floor with a Janka rating that fits the durability needs of your home, there are actually some disadvantages the higher you go on the scale.

Woods with extremely high Janka ratings are often very inflexible, meaning they are subject to splitting in certain climates. Woods with lower ratings will be more flexible, and may feel better underfoot, but will be subject to scratches and scrapes. Try to find a wood that is high enough on the Janka scale to offer durability while being flexible enough to avoid cracking.

Install a High Janka Rating Floor in Your Home

By using the Janka rating, you should be able to find a flooring choice that offers you the durability level that you need. Install a high Janka rating floor in your home and get the utility that you and your family deserve.


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