what is Janka hardness rating

What is a Janka Hardness Rating? Is This Something I Should Have for My Floors?

If your plan is to select a hardwood, it will have a Janka hardness rating. The Janka hardness test is performed on all wood flooring species in order to measure resistance to denting and wear. Since the hardness of each plank varies by grain pattern, Janka ratings will provide a general guide to a species’ hardness. The Janka testing method was established for solid hardwoods by measuring the force required to embed an 11.28 millimeters (0.444 in) diameter steel ball halfway into a sample of each wood species. Based on the wood species’ resistance to denting, a rating is assigned. The higher the rating, the better the ability of a particular hardwood species to withstand denting and wear.  

Today, many dealers and customers still refer to this testing method for engineered hardwoods. In doing so, it should only be used to compare the general durability of the various species and helping you make the best flooring choice for your needs, and it should not be used to compare one manufactured product to another. When comparing one flooring brand over the next, compare apples to apples and consider other important factors for durability such as wood veneer thickness, the final coating or wear layer, (LIFECORE has 9 coats of UV hardened finish) and the core construction. 

JANKA ratings for LIFECORE Species

Hard Maple – 1450

US Hickory – 1820

European White Oak – 1300

Acacia (large leaf) – 1750

Birch (Betula) 1260 

Hardwood flooring installation and construction and installation grades.

Q – Hello.  I’m a little confused.  I hear the term “construction” and “grade,” “engineered” and “solid” applied to wood flooring and where it can be installed in the house. Can you explain?

A –It can be confusing when we hear the term “construction” and “grade” applied to hardwood installation, since they both mean something else in relation to hardwood. 

For the purposes of installation, the term “construction” simply means whether the wood is engineered or solid. In this same scenario, the term “grade” indicates the area in the home it can be installed in. On, above or below grade simply refers to the levels of the home: On – main level; above – upstairs; below – generally a basement or lower level.

Construction does matter when installing hardwood on a particular grade. For instance, engineered floors can be installed on any level in the home, but solid hardwood can only be installed on or above grade.  The reason for this is that damp conditions found below grade can produce a variety of defects in solid floors, such as cupping, (the swelling of the boards) or buckling (the development of gaps between the planks). 

The reason engineered hardwood flooring is more versatile is because of the way it’s constructed. Solid floors are just that – a solid piece of wood – engineered flooring contains a top layer of your chosen wood species on top of multi layers of “cross-grained” wood running perpendicular to each other for more stability, allowing it to perform in a range of environments. 

Because engineered hardwood flooring is real wood throughout, (check out NWFA Wood Floors definitions and benefits of wood flooring) it is also a more durable choice will bring more value to your home. 

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