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Understanding Hardness Ratings for Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is an incredibly popular choice for homeowners who want flooring that boasts a classic look alongside great durability. If you’ve been shopping for hardwood, you’ve likely thought about the species and style you want. While aesthetics are important, it’s essential to remember that there’s more to hardwood than meets the eye. Here at S&G Carpet and More, we want all of our clients to find the right flooring for their needs. That’s why we think it’s so important to understand the hardness ratings for wood flooring.

Understanding Wood Hardness Ratings

The hardness of every wood can be measured using the Janka hardwood test. Testers use force to press a small metal ball into a piece of wood until it is halfway embedded and leaves a mark. The Janka rating is calculated by looking at the amount of force used to make a ding. The higher the rating, the harder the wood.

Red oak, which has a hardness rating of 1290, is the standard against which all other species are measured. Red oak is both resilient and versatile, which makes it a leading choice for homeowners. Of course, other options are available too. With a rating of 3680, Brazilian walnut is one of the hardest woods on the market today. Softer species such as Douglas fir and yellow pine are also time-tested choices popular with many homeowners.

A Note About Hardwood Vs. Softwood

As you shop for new flooring, you may find that some species are referred to as hardwood while others are referred to as softwood. It’s logical to assume that hardwoods are harder than softwoods, but that’s not always the case. In fact, the difference between the two has more to do with a tree’s internal structure and origins than with the hardness of the wood. Many homeowners do opt for hardwood species, but don’t be afraid to ask about softwoods such as cedar or pine too.

Choosing the Right Hardwood for Your Home

Choosing the right hardwood flooring for your home is a matter of balancing durability and aesthetics with use needs. Knowing how much traffic your floors will see. Do you have pets or young kids? Do you lead a very active lifestyle? These heavy use demands mean that you’ll need to think carefully about hardness ratings.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to choose the wood with the highest rating possible. Perhaps you like a worn, lived-in looked and want your floors to age with your family. In that case, a softer species might be a good choice. It’s also important to note that some hardwoods with high ratings, such as Brazilian walnut and Brazilian cherry, are more challenging and expensive to install than other woods.

No matter your needs, working with flooring professionals is key to choosing the right hardwood for your home. If you have questions about Janka ratings or just want to look at your options, come talk with the knowledgeable flooring consultants at S&G Carpet and More.

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