Janka Wood Scale

The Janka scale is used to measure the hardness of the wood. It rates the relative hardness, which helps in determining the quality of wood. It is also known as the “Janka Hardness Test” quite often. The higher the number on the Janka scale, the harder is the wood. In simple words, it helps to determine the hardness of a specific wood type over another.

The hardness of floors depends upon the room where it will be installed. A certain level of hardness is required for different areas in a house. That is where Janka Wood Scale helps us in making the best choices. The higher the number on the Janka Wood Scale, the more reliable, harder, durable, robust and scratch-resistant the wood is. Here it should be kept in mind that when the wood is harder, it is quite challenging to saw it. However, this property doesn’t have any impact on the cost of flooring. Generally, the price of flooring depends upon the availability of wood species and not on its level of hardness.

When was it invented?
The Janka Wood Scale was invented by Gabriel Janka back in 1906. Gabriel was a wood researcher who developed this scale, which was standardized later in 1927. The American Society approves the Janka Wood Scale for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

The Janka Wood Scale was developed for the sole purpose of displaying the results that come from the Janka hardness test. This test is performed on a 2 x 2 x 6 inches piece of wood as well as on a 0.444 inches steel ball to test the hardness of the wood. In simple words, it helps in figuring out how many pounds per square inch of force is required to move or push the steel ball at least halfway into the plank of wood.

Janka Wood Scale Test Variables
The results of the Janka Wood Scale test vary when it is performed on a wood specimen. It depends upon the grain of wood that is used for the test as well. For instance, when the grain is light or flat, it is usually considered as “Normal,” and likewise, it is shown on the Janka scale. On the other hand, when the wood grains are vertical, they are also tested, but they are not shown on the Janka scale. In the same way, wood is also tested on the ends as well as on the sides as it provides different hardness ratings. However, these ratings are not shown on the Janka hardness scale.

How does it look like?
The Janka Wood Scale begins at zero at which the wood is at its softest and makes it easy to scratch and dent. Although there are not any wood types that have the zero ratings, if any case, even if there is, it is not a good rating, a wood with zero ratings can never make a good floor. The maximum rating on the Janka wood scale is 4000. Wood, with this rating, makes it extremely hard, but it is not suitable for flooring as it is quite difficult to saw.

How to state the Janka Wood Scale?
The hardest point where the Janka Wood Scale begins to get confusing is when it comes to state the Janka rating. Stating the Janka rating differs according to location and country. For example, in the USA, the Janka rating is measured in pounds-force. On the other hand, in Sweden, it is measured in Kilogram-force, and in Australia, this rating is stated in Newton.

What is a “Good” Janka Rating?
Janka Wood Scale allows the buyers to determine how strong the wood or the floor is and how much stress, strain, wear, and tear it will be able to handle in the future. The scale also helps in determining whether the floor will require replacement over the years. However, it is vital to keep in mind that a “good” rating acts only as an indication as there are many factors that plays an important role in determining the durability, quality, and appearance of the floor other than hardness. It is also the amount to stress or usage as well as traffic that helps in determining the quality of the wood or floors. Moreover, maintenance and prevention are also two important factors that dictate the quality of wood. So, we can not judge the wood based on its Janka rating only.

What is a “Bad” Janka Rating?
When we talk about “bad” Janka Rating, the first thing that pops up in our mind is the Balsa wood. Balsa wood is usually used in crafts. On the Janka Wood Scale, this wood ranks at 100 that makes it the softest wood. This type of wood is not recommended for flooring. The ideal rating scale that makes a wood best for flooring is 1000. No rating on a Janka wood scale is considered “bad,” as each wood type has some specific purpose.

What is the best wood flooring choice?
When it comes to the best wood flooring choice, one of the best options is “Oakwood”. The reason is that this would hit the ideal rating on the Janka wood scale. It has a rating on 1260-1360, where white oak stands at 1260, and red oak stands at 1360. All other flooring types are either harder or softer than oak wood. That is why it is considered the best option for flooring.

Moreover, there is also an abundance of oak wood that is available out there, and due to its ideal rating, there is the mass production of this wood for flooring purposes. It is also one of the most affordable options for the general public and is also widely used. It also holds up the wear and tears quite easily, making it the best option for flooring.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood, which is considered the ideal quite often, isn’t as good as oak wood. The reason is that this wood consists of a softer layer of wood underneath, so it doesn’t qualify the test for Janka wood scale.

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