Rating the Hardness of Wood

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Want to know which woods are harder than others? Below are listed the relative hardness for numerous wood species used in flooring.

These ratings were done using the Janka Hardness Test, which measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood.

The higher the number, the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring.

The construction and finish also play an important role in the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor.

Wood Species Hardness Rating
Douglas Fir 660
Southern Yellow Pine (short leaf) 690
Southern Yellow Pine (Long leaf) 870
Black Cherry 950
Teak 1000
Black Walnut 1010
Heart Pine 1225
Yellow Birch 1260
Red Oak (Northern) 1290
American Beech 1300
Ash 1320
White Oak 1360
Australian Cypress 1375
Hard Maple 1450
Wenge 1620
African Pedauk 1725
Hickory 1820
Pecan 1820
Purpleheart 1860
Jarrah 1910
Merbau 1925
Santos Mahogany 2200
Mesquite 2345
Brazilian Cherry 2350

Understanding the hardwood family should help you decide if this is a flooring answer for you and your home. What’s your favorite species of wood?