FROM AESTHETICS TO HARDNESS AND DURABILITY, EACH SPECIES OF WOOD PROVIDES YOU WITH A UNIQUE STYLE. YOU CAN USUALLY TELL DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD APART BY LOOKING AT THE WOOD GRAIN, COLOR, AND THE VISIBILITY OF GROWTH RINGS.
The Janka scale* is a standardized measure of wood hardness. Each wood species has its own hardness. Thus, wood of the same species will have the same hardness, regardless of the manufacturer of the wood floor.*The Janka hardness test measures the force required to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood
This test is used to determine the degree of difficulty in sawing and nailing, meaning it also measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear.
Red Oak is the reference species for comparing wood hardness.
Janka hardness test: 1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
Redder than white oak, red oak flooring’s hues range from red to light brown with a darker grain color, which can help give your home a classic, cozy feel. It also stains very well and works great for bleached floors because it’s more porous than its white counterpart. red oak is a durable option for families with pets, young children or busy adults. Red oak flooring can be refinished very easily, adding years of life to your home’s floors. As with other types of hardwood floors, it’s also easy to maintain and hypoallergenic.
Janka hardness test: 1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
White oak, contrary to its name, is actually a darker wood than maple or red oak. It has a cleaner grain to it than red oak, which means it tends to fit in better with contemporary decor. It also has a very linear sap streak to it that can draw the eye along the length of the planks. This can visually lengthen or widen a room, depending on the direction the planks are laid. Because white oak is a closed-grain wood, it’s slightly more moisture-resistant than some other wood species. While no wood is truly waterproof, white oak holds up well in areas where some moisture can be expected, such as kitchens and half-bathrooms.
Janka hardness test: 1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
One of the first things that may have attracted you to hickory is the high aesthetic appeal. Hickory’s straight and wavy grains and knots also tend to be much darker than the surrounding wood, making for a very natural look even if you stain or wax the floor. Due to its density and strength, hickory flooring has a high resistance to shock and impact. It also holds stain better than many other types of wood, and waxing will increase hickory’s water resistance. It’s a non-VOC flooring, thus it’s use promotes the sustainability agenda of Millenium development goals.
Janka hardness test: 1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
The color difference between its sapwood and heartwood is very pronounced, which results in significant variations in color and grain between boards. Walnut shows minimal color variation when exposed to intense light. Unlike other species, walnut tends to lighten over time. Walnut is a wood with moderate hardness and density, so marks, scratches, and imperfections may appear more obvious on walnut; a matte finish will help make marks less noticeable. Investing on an engineered version of walnut will also add stability and durability to your beautiful floors.
Janka hardness test: 1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
Maple’s smooth, sand blonde tones and delicate grain pattern provide each plank a fairly uniform look, and a neutral base for both light and dark furniture. Maple floors therefore offer a clean backdrop, making it a great choice for large, open spaces that need consistency, being a particular favorite for contemporary homes. The fact that bowling alley and gym floors are typically built from maple species tells you all you need to know about how hard they are! Maple can easily stand up to dropped pans in the kitchen and rolling toys in the living room and kids’ bedrooms without serious damage. Maple hardwood is also naturally dust resistant which helps control airborne contaminants and allergens that could potentially harm your health.
Janka hardness test: 1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
Birch has densely packed tight grains which impart a unique look to the floorboards even when the floor is unfinished. Some floorboards exhibit the contrasting color of the sapwood and heartwood together which is unique and creates a striking contrast in the overall flooring which is a very desirable style among homeowners. The hardness of birch makes it suitable to work with and it can withstand medium to heavy foot traffic. Even though hardwood is almost never considered an eco-friendly choice, birch is a variant which can be justly called so. It is considered a pioneer species which can rapidly grow in open grounds, and it’s rapid growth rate makes it an ideal choice for preventing erosion as well.