Understanding the Janka Hardness Test for Hardwood Flooring

Sometimes seeing all of the bells and whistles associated with hardwood flooring specifications can feel like breaking some kind of intricate code. To further confuse you, under hardwood specs you will find a number called the Janka Hardness Test Rating. This number will vary greatly and if you aren’t careful you may wind up with a floor that is, well, not so spectacular or well suited for your needs.

Today, join me as we discuss the Janka Hardness Rating Test.

What is it?

Let us start from the beginning. The term hardwood is a collective term, and it has been used to describe hundreds of varieties of wood species. Hardwoods come from trees that differ in color, moisture resistance, grain and hardness levels.

The Janka hardness scale rates the hardwood by measuring the level of hardness of the wood. More complex than you would think actually. It is more of a resilience test by means of applied force. Specifically this test will assign a specie of wood with a number, and this is predominately based on how well it stands up to the applied pressure of a steel ball, measuring 0.444 inches in diameter. In this process the ball is embedded into the woods surface.

Several variants are taken into consideration when performing this test, including the position of the grain and the direction of the boards. For example, when doing a side test score, the pound force will be applied perpendicularly to the grain, this is the number that you will be given as the official Janka Score.

Why do we need this hardwood test?

Believe it or not there is a point to all of this testing. Depending on the hardness level of the wood you will get several tidbits of information that are integral to the installation and functionality of the particular flooring that you have decided to install. Have children? Then get a higher scoring hardwood. Want an easy installation? Go with a softer wood that does not require you to pre drilled holes. These questions will be answered when given this number!

The Janka number will serve as a guide to finding the hardwood floor of your dreams.

Now with all of this information, one should not get completely caught up in the score if it does not work well for installation. Trust me you are much better off going with the hardwood with a more complex installation than a hardwood that you do not like at all. Use the Janka score to make more of an assessment, rather than a deal breaking figure.

I hope you now understand the point of getting your Janka Hardwood Score. In an industry clouded with a lot of specs and sales pitches there is one thing that you can always be certain of, and that is the Janka hardness test.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to submit them below and I’ll do my best to answer or respond as quickly as possible.

Until next time, Happy Home and Flooring!

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