Well, hello and welcome to part two of our series we talk about the best hardwoods for flooring in the entire world. In the previous article we talked about the most expensive wood species out there that deserve their high price because of their rarity, unique beauty and hardness. Today we continue our search for the best wood floor options and even above and beyond!

The hardest hardwoods

The system that determined the hardness of hardwood is called Janka hardness test. The Janka hardness test rating is expressed in pounds of force that allows for relatively uniform comparison of the hardness of various wood species. In general, the hardness of the wood species can be a good and not that good thing too. The hardness of your wooden floor is what makes it long-lasting, hard-wearing and resistant to high level of everyday use. On the other hand, because of the hardness of the hardwood, a wooden floor can be really difficult to be made and installed too. Out of all domestic hardwoods, Hickory wins the first place with rating of 1820, while second place is taken by Red Oak with rating of 1220-1290. On another hand, these are definitely not the hardest wood species out there. Among the hardest ones we find the good old Ebony and African Blackwood from part one of the series and they rate respectively 3080 and 3670, which make them… well, impressively hard, really.

However, the hardest known hardwood is Quebracho with the incredible rating of 4570 according the Janka hardness test. Its Spanish name is literary translated as “axe breaker” and we are not surprised that Quebracho is simply not a common choice for hardwood flooring, since it is almost impossible to manufacture and install. So, besides its impressive rating, Quebracho cannot be found on the market, because of that the first place of hardwood that is available on the commercial market is taken by Lignum Vitae with the not less fascinating rating of 4390. Of course, hardwoods that hard are almost impossible to mill for flooring, so a better and significantly less expensive options for the needs of a household are still Hickory and Brazilian Cherry with a factory applied finish added for everlasting power.

The most abundant hardwoods

  • North America – Generally, Oak accounts for some 52% of the hardwood forests in North America. The next most popular wood species types in North America are Poplar and Maple.
  • Worldwide – When it comes to exotic wood flooring, Brazilian Cherry is probably the most common hardwood, making between 3 to 5% of hardwood flooring sales each year worldwide. However, it is not necessarily the most abundant species. So, which wood species wins the first place over the world? It is a hard question to answer, because when it comes to so many regions over the world it is important to mention that every local government has its rules, regulations and standards for sustainable sourcing of wood species. What is known with relative certainty is that about a third of all the world’s trees can be classified into five species groups and these are pines, oaks, spruces firs and beeches.