Hardness of wood floor

Hardness of wood floor

Hardness of wood floor indicates a specie’s resistance to indentation. Damage to timber floors may occur due to continual movement of furniture, heavy foot traffic and in particular “stiletto-heel” type pressure. The selection of a hard timber species ensures improved resistance to indentation and abrasion. Soft timber species, if used in feature floors, can be expected to indent.

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Floor finishes will not significantly improve the hardness of timber flooring. In some species the hardness of younger growth material can also be much lower than mature timber of the same species, but this varies from species to species.

Softwood floors are more prone to indentation as are moderately dense hardwoods. The higher density hardwoods are less prone to indentation. If using timbers that are less hard, soft foot ware will prevent damage from foot traffic.

The Janka hardness rating is used to measure the hardness of a timber. The lower the hardness rating, the softer the timber. Most commercially available flooring species ranges from around 3 to 15.

Hardness figures are often published in data relating to flooring and either specific Janka hardness figures are provided or hardness is categorized based on the Janka values. The classification used in the Australian Hardwood and Cypress Manual is as follows:

Janka RatingHardness category
< 5.5  Soft 
5.5 to 7 Moderately hard
7 to 10 Hard
> 10 Very hard

The following Australian species fall into these categories:

Timber SpecieHardness
Blackwood  moderately hard
Messmate moderately hard
Tasmanian Oak moderately hard
Victorian Ash moderately hard
Yellow Stringybark hard
Blackbutt very hard
Brush Box hard
Grey Ironbark very hard
Manna Gum hard
Red Ironbark very hard
Rose Gum hard
Spotted Gum very hard
Sydney Blue Gum hard
Tallowwood hard
Jarrah hard
Karri hard
Marri hard
Cypress moderately hard
Bamboo moderately hard to very hard(Strand woven bamboo)


Above information from Consumer Guide Australian Timber Flooring Association