Which hardwood flooring is the most durable?

When it comes to durability, solid hardwood flooring is often considered one of the strongest options. Oak and maple are popular choices known for their resilience, with oak being particularly favored for its hardness.

Which hardwood flooring is the most durable?

When it comes to durability, solid hardwood flooring is often considered one of the strongest options. Oak and maple are popular choices known for their resilience, with oak being particularly favored for its hardness. However, regardless of the type of hardwood you choose, it's important to consider the potential for water damage. In case of any mishaps, having a plan for water damage cleanup is crucial to preserve the integrity of your hardwood flooring. Durable hardwood paired with proper maintenance and prompt response to water issues can ensure a long-lasting and stunning flooring option for your space.

Ebony, cherry, live oak or bamboo are the most durable options. These extremely hard woods (and wood-like bamboo) wear well and are more resistant to minor damage than other options.


species vary in durability, grain patterns, and color. Oak, maple and cherry are among the most common species due to their hardness.

Exotic woods such as mahogany and Brazilian cherry are not as durable, but they are prized for their striking appearance. For busy homes with pets and children, it's a good idea to choose the hardest possible wood species. Hard species, such as red oak, resist wear and tear, while softer species, such as pine, tend to show scratches. The choice between engineered wood and solid wood will likely be determined by the location, subfloor and preferred installation method.

But if you're hesitant, keep in mind that choosing solid wood means that scratches from a puppy's claws or dents from a toddler toy can be sanded and repainted over and over again. Whatever you choose, preventive care and proper maintenance can keep your floors in good condition for years to come. On the Janka scale, red oak is considered the benchmark. With a Janka score of 1290, it is the flooring material that most builders compare other materials to.

Engineered hardwood floors last as long as their hard thin veneer deck. The thin engineered wood veneer scratches as much as solid wood, but it can't be sanded as often. The low maintenance and longevity of solid wood places it at the top of the list for its durability. Each piece of solid wood floor is a single piece of wood, usually cut with a tongue and groove profile.

The most expensive option among hardwood flooring options, it also provides the highest resale value for a home. With options ranging from domestic oak, maple, pine, cedar and spruce to exotics such as teak and merbau, the pattern and color options outperform most other flooring options. Solid wood floors can be sanded and repaired time and time again, making it one of the most durable flooring options available. That repairable quality makes solid wood one of the best options if you have clawed pets or children with toys that could damage the floor.

But tile options outperformed hardwood floors, which showed more wear and tear than other types of floors tested in busier areas of the home, the study notes. Laminate and vinyl products often work better than hardwood floors as well. The report notes that “durability and good looks can be obtained from many types of floors, including engineered wood, laminate, porcelain stoneware and vinyl. Most hardwood floors are durable and can withstand pets, children, and a certain amount of abuse, but depending on the application, there are differences between products.

Travertine and other natural floors compete with concrete for durability, although some stones, such as marble, can wear out faster than you'd expect. A designer floor that uses red oak as a topcoat is the most durable type of hardwood floor that won't break your budget. Regardless of the hardwood you choose for your floor, adding the right finish can only make it stronger, more durable, and look better in your home or business. Traditional oil-based polyurethane is flexible, able to withstand normal wood movement, and provides a warm shine to hardwood floors.

Using the Janka scale, it's clear that bamboo is the most durable material to use on hardwood floors. The Janka hardness scale rates wood in terms of density and is a reliable indicator of floor durability in terms of hardness and dents. In case the floor gets scratched, it can be sanded deeply with the most powerful sander of all, a drum sander. Keep in mind that hardwood floors can dent or scratch, and are susceptible to water damage.

Because joints are a contributing factor to floor deterioration, reducing seams becomes an important point. If you've decided to invest in hardwood floors for your home, it's a foregone conclusion that you'll expect some longevity. Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinet, home improvement and architectural carpentry, Wade Shaddy has been working in home construction since 1972. Working with us, you'll know you have experienced advocates by your side to listen to your unique concerns, discuss your specific design, and recommend the top hardwood flooring products to meet your needs. After one or two passes with a drum sander, most solid wood floors can regain their original appearance.

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Johnathan Updyke
Johnathan Updyke

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