Column: Hardwood flooring and the Janka scale
Replacing your old flooring with shiny, new hardwood is one way to attract buyers into your home. But if you thought that all wood flooring was created equal, you may want to dig a little deeper. Understanding the different types and species of hardwood floor is an essential part of selecting your flooring.
The most common types of wood used to make flooring include:
- Red Oak: The most popular flooring option in the U.S. because of its rich color and tough grain.
- White Oak: Has similar properties to its cousin, the red oak, but is slightly harder and more durable.
- Pine: Pine’s recognizable swirls, knots and yellowish brown color has made it a popular choice for flooring and siding. It also has a natural resistance to insects.
- Cherry: Because it’s a soft wood, cherry isn’t often the best choice for flooring. However, it makes an excellent decorative or accent wood.
- Exotic: Many homeowners are choosing to install flooring made from renewable resources, such as cork or bamboo.
When choosing a wood species, you’ll want to take into account the relative hardness of the wood. Harder wood grain means that the flooring will be more likely to withstand the wear done by heavy furniture and foot traffic. The Janka scale was developed to give homeowners and builders an idea about the relative hardness of a particular type of wood.. The test figures out how many PSI of force is needed to push a steel ball into a wood plank. Woods like Mahogny and Hickory have Janka scale ratings of 2200 and 1800, putting them on the high end of the scale.
Weigh your options carefully until you find the perfect flooring to fit your home.