Hardness Characteristics of Wood Flooring – Janka Ball Test

See attachment at bottom.

Wood is not tested to a “minimum” required hardness specification. Natural wood products have no minimum hardness specifications since hardness is characteristic of the species and cannot be controlled. The only known test is the Janka Ball test (ASTM D1037-96A) and the results are only used to compare the PSI rating of one species against another. This test reveals that American Cherry has a PSI rating of 950. As points of reference Pine has a rating of 676 PSI; 40% softer than Cherry, and Red Oak is 1290 PSI; 33% harder.

The Janka Ball test measures the amount of pressure needed to impress a .444 steel ball one half its diameter into a 1″ sample of the wood material.

There are also no known finish “hardness” tests for wood finishes since finishes are unable to make wood harder or more dent resistant. Tests of a finished or unfinished sample reveal no difference using Janka Ball test.

The attached is Relative Hardness of Selected Wood Species chart. Credit for the non-branded information on the chart goes to: National Wood Flooring Association; NWFA.org and U.S Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

The attached chart shows the Wood Species Hardness PSI for the following species:
Pine, Larch (European), Surian, African Cedar/Bosse, Cherry, Asian Beech/Rubberwood/Hevea, Sakura (Chinese/Indian Birch), Black Walnut, Teak, Asian Pine, Asian Mindi/Melia, Nyatoh, Birch, Ash, Red Oak, Beech, White Oak, Maple, Sapelli, Curupixa, Kambala/Iroko, Red Balau, Kempas, Bilinga, Moabi, Pecan, Balau/Ocean Bangkirai, Merbau, Bangkirai, Afzelia, Padauk D’Afrique/African Padauk, Pradoo/Padauk/Burma Padauk, Jatoba/Brazillian Cherry, Bubinga, Cabreuva/Santos Mahogany, Lapacho/Ipe.

Updated on October 26, 2023

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