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Understanding the Janka Scale for Hardwood Flooring

If youve been doing some research about hardwood flooring, youve probably seen the term Janka rating being bandied about quite a lot. Those who have never purchased this type of flooring before are often baffled when they run across that term, which often appears in flooring descriptions. In order to find the flooring thats right for you, it is imperative to have a basic understanding of what the Janka rating represents. Although it shouldnt be the only thing that you take into consideration, it is something that shouldnt be disregarded. Learn a little more about what the Janka rating is, how it is determined and what it all means for you below.

What is a Janka Rating?

A Janka rating is, in laymans terms, a measurement of the durability of various types of hardwood flooring. The higher the number is, the stronger and more durable the flooring will generally be. This number is determined through a series of hardness tests. During those tests, a steel ball that measures 0.444 inches in diameter is pressed into a sample of wood. The amount of force that is required to do this is measured in pounds per square inch, or psi, which is expressed as a number. The more force that it takes to press the steel ball into a piece of wood, the higher the Janka rating will be.

Why Does it Matter?

When buying hardwood flooring, its important to consider the area of the home in which it will be installed. Will there be a lot of foot traffic, or will people rarely pass through the room? Will kids and pets run through the room regularly? Are you the type of person who likes to rearrange furniture regularly? All of these things will have impacts on the flooring that you choose. By choosing flooring with a high Janka rating, you can rest assured that it wont become damaged and unattractive in a short period of time.

Durability Counts

Wood that has a very low Janka rating typically isnt used for flooring at all. People who work with wood like those who whittle it into different shapes often choose soft species that have low Janka ratings. Because flooring is typically subjected to a lot of pressure, it is almost always best to look for wood that has a fairly high Janka rating. You can find flooring with a huge range of different Janka ratings. Oak is popularly used for hardwood floors; white oak has a Janka rating of 1360, while red oak has a rating of 1290.

Buying Flooring for High-Traffic Areas

Although youre probably not planning on having people play basketball on your hardwood flooring, its Janka rating is still extremely important. In most households, plenty of foot traffic passes through on a regular basis. Over time, that traffic can wear down wood flooring. Although stronger wood typically costs more, the extra expense is generally worth it. Think of it this way: Stronger flooring will last a lot longer. Unless youre planning on updating your flooring within a few years, its best to stick with woods that have high Janka ratings.

Other Factors Matter, Too

With all of this being said, its important to note that a floors Janka rating cant be the sole determining factor that you use. Sure, its smart to select strong flooring; however, the appearance and finish of the flooring matters, too. On top of all of that, its crucial to take great care of your flooring no matter how high or low its Janka rating may be. Just because the flooring that you bought has a high Janka rating doesnt mean that it shouldnt be properly maintained. Strong floors can become damaged through misuse, so always put maintenance and care at the top of your priority list.

The Janka wood hardness scale ranges from 100 to more than 4000. Most people purchase wood flooring that falls somewhere between 800 and 1800 on the scale. The style that is right for you will depend on many things. Price, of course, is important. The physical appearance and finish of the flooring matters, too. You shouldnt become too distracted by hardwood flooring's Janka rating. If it otherwise works for you, even flooring that has a somewhat low rating could work out well in the long run. No matter what you do, though, make sure to take your time when investing in flooring for your home. By doing so, youre a lot more likely to end up with something that will keep you happy for a long time to come.

About Author darrell potter :

Darrell Potter writes out of Vancouver about a variety home decor tips, <a href="" target="_blank">hardwood flooring</a> and gives advice on how to <a href="" target="_blank">maintain your hardwood flooring</a>. Always looking for the highest quality materials at the lowest cost possible, he tends to end up shopping at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> more often than not.

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Article Added on Thursday, June 23, 2011
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