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The Problem with Hardness

Should I purchase a wood floor that has a low Janka rating?

I don't answer wrong questions. A lot of people spend too much time focusing on the Janka hardness scale when purchasing a wood floor. There are a few glaring problems with this scale. First, it doesn't take into account the finish on the wood. Second, it may give you a false hope of quality. And lastly, it is easily manipulated and misrepresented by retailers.

Before we continue, "Buying American" should be your first priority for so many reasons. I'll expand on this in another page.

Finish First

Your feet will forever be separated from the actual wood by several layers of polyurethane finish. Because the finish is your first line of defense, it should be of utmost consideration when picking a hardwood floor.

False Hope

Here's a simple fact you need to consider: Imagine for a moment you have two floors in your house, one of the soft side of the janka hardness scale, and one on the opposite side. You accidentally drop a can of soup on both floors. Guess what? They both dent!


A few stores are the worst offenders: Box stores, liquidators, or clearance type outlets where employee turnover is high. If the staff is not educated, then they overly promote the quality of a wood floor because of a high janka rating. For example, exotic woods do not perform well in our climate, yet they do have a high Janka rating. Not a good formula for success.



Consider this:

Buying American ensures you will get a floor that is safe and healthy.

Be practical

You don't always need a super hard floor. Consider how abusive your house will be and discuss your concerns with your salesperson.