Janka Hardness Scale

The Janka scale rates the relative hardness of wood. We have listed some of the most popular choices in wood flooring and included some more exotic species for your reference and comparison. The higher the number the harder the wood. These ratings were determined using the Janka Hardness Test which measures the side hardness measure of the force required to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter into the wood. This is one of the best measures of the ability of wood species to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a species is to saw or nail.

This should only be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring. Depending on where the wood is harvested the results may vary. Plank construction and finish are also important factors when determining the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor. A wood's relative hardness is determined with the Janka Rating System, which measures the force required to drive a .444 inch steel ball into the wood until half the diameter of the ball is imbedded in the wood.

The Janka Hardness Scale rating has become the industry standard for determining whether a given wood is suitable for flooring material. Red Oak, which has a Janka rating of 1290, is the industry benchmark for comparing the relative hardness of different wood species.

The majority of hardwoods and many softwoods are durable enough to withstand normal flooring use - especially with proper installation and finishing. However, no matter the Janka rating, all wood will dent or mar with a hard enough impact .

JANKA Rating by Wood Species

WOOD SPECIES (Hardest to Softest) JANKA RATING
Brazilian Walnut /Ipe 3684
Ebony 3220
Brazilian Cherry /Jatoba 2350
Mesquite 2345
Santos Mahogany 2200
Cameron 1940
Merbau 1925
Purpleheart 1860
Tigerwood 1850
Hickory and Pecan 1820
Rosewood 1780
African Padauk 1725
Locust 1700
Wenge 1630
Red Pine 1630
Zebrawood 1575
True Pine 1570
Sweet Birch 1470
Hard / Sugar Maple 1450
Kentucky Coffee Tree 1390
Natural Bamboo 1380
Australian Cypress 1375
White Oak 1360
White Ash 1320
American Beech 1300
Northern Red Oak 1290
Caribbean Heart Pine 1280
Yellow Birch 1260
Yellow Heart Pine 1225
Carbonized Bamboo 1180
Cocobolo 1136
American Walnut 1010
Teak 1000
American Cherry 950
Soft and Ambrosia Maple 950
Paper Birch 910
Cedar 900
Southern Yellow Pine (Longleaf) 870
American Red Elm 860
Lacewood 840
Cumaru 790
Sycamore 770
S.Yellow Pine (Loblolly & Shortleaf) 690
Douglas Fir 660
Sassafras 630
Larch 590
Cypress, Southern 570
Chestnut 540
Poplar 540
Hemlock 500
White Pine 420
Basswood 410
Eastern White Pine 380