Popular Hardwoods for High Traffic Areas

Rod Lorenz

Hardwood floors can take on the busiest rooms in your home. From high-traffic hallways to busy dining rooms, there is a hardwood floor for every room in your home.

Janka Hardness Scale

A great way to know if your hardwood is “hard enough” is the Janka Hardness Scale which rates the relative hardness of different wood species. In general, a higher score on the scale means it’s more rigid and more resistant to wear and tear. 

Although many factors contribute to how well a particular hardwood floor will hold up to heavy use, the Janka scale is a good place to start, as it tells you how durable a wood is against wear and tear.

Hardness can be balanced against other options

No matter how much traffic a floor is going to see, hardness is not the only consideration. You still want to ensure that you pick a hardwood floor that is beautiful, affordable and well suited to your traffic level. Here are three hardwoods that offer the best of all worlds.

  1. Oak

    Based on the Janka rating alone, Oak somewhat falls on a medium scale and can provide flooring longevity with the proper maintenance and care. However, the main reason why Oak tickles the fancy of many is that compared to other hardwood, Oak is affordable. So, for a fair price, you can buy guaranteed durability for your floors!

    The most in-demand variant and known as the basic standard for hardness in the industry (Northern Red Oak), with a Janka rating of 1290 lbs. White Oak, on the other hand, is slightly higher at about 1360 lbs. Red Oak_Select_Natural_CG500009_7-439213-edited

  2. Maple

    Maple is another crowd favorite in the hardwood floor market. Maple is highest on the Janka scale, with a hardness rating of 1450 lbs. of the three species we present today. Solid maple wood on its own can withstand a considerable amount of pressure produced by constant foot traffic while effortlessly looking timeless and sophisticated. That being said, maple isn't always the best choice for high traffic areas. Even though maple is harder than oak, dings and dents are more visible because there is no grain in maple to hide them.


  3. Hickory

    We keep a lot of hickory in stock because with both hardness and beauty, it is ideal for high traffic floor areas. One of the most durable and shock resistant woods for floors, Hickory comes in at an impressive 1820 on the Janka scale making it about 41% harder than traditional Red Oak. Hickory's grain and knots also tend to be much darker than the surrounding wood providing gorgeous contrast colors that look great with many different stains.

    Hickory_Rustic Skip Sawn_Stain_CG300308_1-489209-edited

Take Away

When choosing a high-traffic hardwood floor, Oak, Maple and Hickory are excellent choices. Just don't forget that species hardness rating alone shouldn't be your only consideration. Other features that can help your floor take on traffic include the type of finish and solid vs. engineered. 

Speak with one of our hardwood floor professionals and they will help make sure you get the perfect floor for your needs. Contact us at 920-984-3383, 800-354-9902.

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