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Hardness of Pine Flooring

Whether you’re preparing a new place or renovating your old one, you must be tired of hearing all the talk about whether the hardness of your floors matter and which ones are the best when it comes to combining hardness and aesthetics.

Pine flooring isn’t the hardest out there, but it definitely looks classy and elegant with its various, unique patterns. But, does its hardness work well for you? We’ll explore in this article.

What Is Floor Hardness and What Does It Signify?

The hardness of a wood flooring is measured by the Janka Scale, which tests how much force needed to drive a 0.444-inch steel ball halfway into the wooden plank of the species in question.

Naturally, the more force needed, the harder the wood flooring is and the more that it resists wear and tear. 

Bear in mind that the hardness of a certain wood flooring entirely depends on the hardness of the species itself and can’t be influenced by manufacturers.

Where Does Pine Flooring Stand on the Janka Scale?

Pine is comparatively low on the Janka Scale as its rating is 480 pounds. It’s harder than Balsa, for example, which has a rating of 100 pounds, but it’s too fragile compared to Ipe wood, which has one of the highest ratings on the scale with 3,684 pounds.

But before jumping to conclusions about what the mere number represents, let’s stay that context is what matters the most. For example, Balsa wood is used for crafts and art because artists would need something they can easily penetrate with nails as well as a degree of flexibility to be able to manifest their idea into reality.

As for Ipe, it’s typically used for decks, flooring, and furniture, all of which require a high degree of strength in the face of accidents and mishaps. But that doesn’t mean that the hardest flooring is the ideal one, as they can be way out of budget without actual functionality.

If you’re getting flooring for your bedroom, for example, you won’t need something that can handle the drop of an anchor. Plus, you have to bear in mind that a lot of the harder woods are dark in color, which may be classy for a porch or a deck, but too gloomy for a bedroom or a corridor.

So, if you’re looking for something affordable without heavy-duty purposes, you can opt for Pine, Balsa, Hemlock (500 pounds), Fir (600 pounds), and maybe Cedar (900 pounds). Starting from American Cherry (950 pounds) and as you approach the 1,000 ratings and up, you’ll be getting more patterns on the wood and definitely more expensive flooring. 

With the exception of Yellow Birch, which has a 1,260-pound rating, and White Oak with a 1,320-pounds rating but whose patterns are not very edgy, you’ll be getting noticeable patterns on the following:

  • Black Walnut (1010 pounds)
  • Red Oak (1,290 pounds)
  • Beech (1,300 pounds)
  • Ash (1,320 pounds)
  • Hard Maple (1,450 pounds)
  • American Sapele (1,500 pounds)
  • Hickory (1,820 pounds)
  • Santos Mahogany (2,200 pounds)
  • Brazilian Cherry (2,820 pounds)

Is Pine Flooring’s Janka Scale Rating Bad?

A lot of people might think that a number that’s below the 950-pound mark is subpar on the Janka scale, and that benchmark is typically the lowest for hardwood flooring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that anything below that number can’t be used for flooring.

The Janka Scale’s purpose is not to classify different species of wood as good or bad for flooring but to give you a clearer idea regarding what you can use the wood for. Hence, the harder the flooring you get, the heavier the furniture that it can support. So, it’s all a matter of preferences and purpose with some consideration for the budget, of course.

However, bear in mind that along with Cedar, Fir, and Hemlock, Pine is considered softwood and not hardwood, so you should weigh your decision very well before settling on it for your next flooring.

Is the Janka Scale the Only Indication Used to Make a Decision?

When it comes to picking out your flooring, there are plenty of things apart from the Janka Scale to use for consideration, and these are as follows: 

Provenance

As a tree grows every year, its rings grow with it. Typically, they alternate between soft and hard rings; the former forms during the spring, when the tree grows quickly, while the latter forms during the summer when the tree takes its sweet time germinating.

Naturally, the seasons differ from one location to another, so where and when the tree was harvested can make a difference in just how hard the wood you’re getting is.

The Direction of the Grains

When undergoing the Janka Scale test, the normal grain direction is used, which is the flat grain. However, the hardness of the flooring can increase or decrease depending on the grain direction, which is why you might find the flooring of the same species with different hardness. Make sure to ask before you make the purchase.

Sometimes, opting for a species with a lower Janka rating can still give you harder flooring if its grain direction makes it stronger than the grain direction found on a species that’s rated higher. So, you should definitely do your research well before you decide.

Patterns

The more patterns or textures found on your flooring, the less wear and tear you’ll notice on it, like the effects of footsteps, moving furniture around, or accidental drops of random objects every now and then.

Hardwood floors with more patterns are usually harder than smooth ones, even if they’re of the same species. This is because the process of adding patterns or textures to the flooring involves removing the softwood grain that grows in the spring, which leaves you with the harder wood grain that grows in the summer.

Final Thoughts

The process of deciding on flooring is highly facilitated by the Janka Scale ratings, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t delve deeper into the other factors that affect the flooring’s hardness. Of course, you should make sure that you understand the purpose for which you’re getting it very well to make the optimum decision.