Wood Floor FAQ

Wood floors: the unvarnished truth


To make sure people understand the wood floors that interest them, we’ve put together some helpful FAQs about flooring attributes:


What determines a wood floor’s hardness?

The Janka test (named for Gabriel Janka, 1864-1932) determines the hardness of a floor and how well it will stand up to wear. The test measures the force required to embed a 11.28-millimeter steel ball to the halfway point into a wood sample.

Remember, “hardwood” can still sustain damage. It’s not impervious to dents and scratches when you drag, say, a heavy appliance across it. Wood is still wood.

Also, if you have a hardwood veneer over a softer wood, it will be more prone to damage than a full hardwood floor. Treat it with care.

Examples of Janka Test Ratings

Will a hard finish prevent floor damage?

Harder finishes are available on many types of floors and offer a layer of protection. One mistaken impression people have, though, is that a hard finish functions as an invulnerable shield for the wood. In reality, the floor can still sustain damage to the wood, even if the finish itself holds up over the damaged area.

Hardwood Floor Images

What determines a floor’s sheen? Is a high-gloss floor tougher than others?

A floor’s shininess or sheen is the result of coatings over the wood. Matte has the least sheen
while gloss has the most. A highly glossy floor has a striking appearance but it’s a trade-off:
Scratches can show up more prominently on this kind of coating.

Can I get a hardwood floor that resists water?

Yes. Hardwood flooring is now available with a waterproof sealant and veneer that protects the
plank. Flooring America’s exclusive Aquadura H2O line has passed through rigorous testing to
ensure it stands up to water. One test involved submerging the flooring in water for a full 24
hours. The product showed no swelling or cupping afterward. In another test, the flooring
endured high levels of humidity inside a chamber that simulated tropical conditions. Aquadura
H2O is also tough and impact resistant – a great option for any household that’s super-tough on
its floors.

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