When we talk about the Janka Scale, we often use oak as a reference point. That’s because oak is one of the most common wood flooring types in the US. And with its Janka rating around 1300 (White Oak rates at 1360 while Red Oak rates at 1290), it’s basically the middle ground when it comes to hardness.
That doesn’t mean it’s weak, though. Oak is the industry standard because it’s durable enough for anything! So when we talk about the most durable wood flooring, this is one of the best bets.
Hickory is the most durable wood species grown domestically with a Janka rating around 1820. So while there might be some disadvantages of hickory flooring, strength is not among them.
Hickory is a beautiful and unique wood species that sports various colors and a ton of grain character. It’s one of the best hardwood floors for buyers who want a durable surface and a lot of personality in their wood. Seriously—some of the most beautiful wood floor patterns use hickory to make them pop.
And generally, the pros and cons of hickory flooring come down to the fact that some people love its unique personality, while others don’t care for it.
Maple flooring is commonly used for basketball courts because of its shock-absorbing properties. But it’s also quite strong with a Janka rating of 1450.
People love maple flooring for its creamy colors, light grains, and gorgeous finish—one reason it’s so popular in contemporary designs.
Teak is an extremely durable wood flooring choice with a Janka rating of 2330. But if you look into teak flooring pros and cons, you’ll find that hardness isn’t the wood’s only selling point.
Imbued with tons of natural oils and resins, teak is extremely glossy and beautiful even without the use of finish. Additionally, these natural oils make teak a naturally water-resistant wood choice (one reason it’s often used on boats).
That said, teak may be a little too pricey to use as something like mudroom flooring. For that, we’d go with hardwood floor alternatives like vinyl plank. There are some disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring, but it’s almost always waterproof.
Ash flooring combines an excellent Janka rating of 1320 with a light, stylish grain that looks great in modern designs. Unfortunately, ash trees are currently threatened by a blight caused by the emerald ash borer beetle, so it may not be the most environmentally friendly flooring choice on this list.
6. Brazilian Cherry:
On the other side of the coin, we have jatoba (sometimes known as Brazilian cherry)—which is, thankfully, resistant to termites and other pests. And it’s strong. Really strong. Jatoba has a Janka rating of 2350.
This makes Brazilian Cherry a great choice for buyers looking for a strong, beautiful, and relatively sustainable wood flooring choice. Plus,its beautiful reddish-brown grain is always a winner.
If you’re looking for the most durable wood flooring there is, walnut is going to be right near the top of the list. It’s not the hardest wood in the world, but as far as woods commonly used for flooring are concerned, it’s #1 with a whopping 3680 Janka rating.
Walnut boasts a deep color and a gorgeous grain. But remember: like a lot of exotic woods, Brazilian walnut has seen issues with illegal harvesting—so make sure to only buy Brazilian walnut from an FSC-certified retailer.