January 07, 2019 3 min read

Not all hardwood flooring is the same.


Each type of hardwood flooring contains its own unique DNA that distinguishes it from other types of hardwoods. The type of wood you choose determines your floor’s strength, durability, and appeal. So, before you purchase your next hardwood flooring, read our guide below to compare the different types of popular hardwoods for homeowners.

Janka Hardness Test

The Janka Hardness Test has become the standard that flooring professionals use to determine the relative hardness of wood. While the test does not imply that hardwood is impervious to water damage or resistant to dents and scratches, it will give you an indication of the wood’s overall mass and how well it can stand up to daily activity in your home.


The higher the Janka score, the harder the wood. Some examples include:


  • 3684 - Brazilian Walnut
  • 2350 - Brazilian Cherry
  • 1820 - Hickory
  • 1630 - Red Pine
  • 1570 - True Pine
  • 1450 - Sugar Maple
  • 1360 - White Oak
  • 1320 - White Ash
  • 1290 - Northern Red Oak
  • 1260 - Yellow Birch


The Janka scale is only a partial indicator of how long a piece of hardwood will last in any residential setting. For example, a surface may rank high on the Janka scale for hardness, but it lacks the stability of another. While it may resists scratches and dents, it may also expands and contracts more than another.  Therefore, you are likely to notice more cracks in the material if you expose certain hardwoods to humidity too often.


Sugar Maple also stands up well to normal wear. However, Maple will yellow slightly as it gets older. Maple also has the distinction of containing both hard and soft cell structures. So, before you settle on a maple hardwood floor, make sure that the wood has a high score on the Janka scale. Also note that if you stain maple it usually marbles or turns out blotchy compared to other woods.


While each hardwood has a distinct form and composition, what ultimately decides the surface texture is how fabricators prepare the wood for presentation. The most common types of hardwood texturing include:


  • Smooth

Fabricators delicately sand the wood to give it a lustrous, fine texture. The smooth texture allows the grain to stand out. While a smooth texture can create a clean, stunning finish, it is also more vulnerable to highly-visible scratches and dents.


  • Rift & Quartered

Rift & Quartered hardwoods such as Oak and Hickory are classified as ring-porous. This means the hardwood is porous due to its cellular structure. When fabricators cut the wood, it creates rifts and valleys that give the surface character and adds depth to the floor.


  • Hand Scraped

There are several ways to hand-scrape hardwood flooring. Therefore, woodworkers approach each piece with a bit of artistry, adding a personal touch to the process. Whether a fabricator uses a machine or scrapes the wood strictly by hand, they skim, gouge, and sand the surface of the board using a wide range of tools. This method creates rows of depressions across the surface of the board.


  • Wire Brushed

Wire brushed floors undergo a somewhat same process as hand scraped floors. A worker uses a wire brush to etch and open the grain. They remove the soft top portion of the wood grain to reveal the hardest section of the wood. The result is a scuffed effect that adds warm, natural texture. You may also notice stark contrasts in the wood shade.

Order Your Hardwood Flooring Planking Online

Are you looking for a durable hardwood product for your home? eHardwoods offers natural hardwoods, engineered wood flooring, solid prefinished wood flooring, vinyl plank flooring, and vinyl tile flooring through our eCommerce store.


To find our more about our products or order your flooring, check out our available prefinished hardwood flooring options.