What is the Janka scale? We tell you all about this indispensable tool

If you’re looking to install new wood flooring in your home, there are a lot of parameters to consider. For example, what type of use will you put it to? How much impact resistance do you need? The Janka scale will also be a tool to consider.

What is the Janka Scale?

The Janka scale is a test that determines the hardness of the wood and its resistance to denting. In concrete terms, a tiny steel ball is inserted into the wood to half its diameter. Then, the pressure in pounds needed to make it penetrate is calculated. If the wood is very hard, the weight in pounds will be higher, and inversely.

This effective method was developed over 100 years ago by an Austrian dendrologist (tree specialist), Gabriel Janka. Nowadays, the purpose of this tool is to efficiently classify all wood species. To know the classification of a species that interests you to know if it is optimal for the chosen room, ask a Déco Surfaces consultant.

Essence du bois évaluation

Is wood strength a priority?

The first thing to know is that a harder species will certainly be more difficult to work. Ipe, mahogany and jatoba (courbaril), for example, are among the most resistant woods, but also the densest and most difficult to install. The hardness of the wood is therefore not always a priority, only an indicator that will guide you in your purchase, depending on the use you wish to make of it. If you’re buying wood for crafts, for example, you’ll want to go with a softer species, like pine.

However, for flooring, it will always be better to choose a wood that is stronger and more durable, without necessarily being too complex to cut and install. Choose wood from native hardwoods, such as oak, maple, ash or beech. To prevent these species from warping when exposed to humidity, make sure to varnish your floor.

Plancher de bois à l’érable dans le salon

A flexibility according to each room

In other words, the Janka scale is used to evaluate the different species so that you can determine whether or not they are suitable for the intended use. Remember that a hard-wearing floor (high on the Janka scale) is worth installing in a high-traffic area of your home, such as a hallway, and that more delicate species (low on the Janka scale), such as birch or cherry, can be left for small rooms where traffic is less likely and knocks are less likely, such as master bedrooms or guest rooms.

In summary, the species you choose for your floors will depend on your personal taste, the room, your budget and your lifestyle. To make an informed choice, ask for advice from a Deco Surfaces expert store.