Hardest Wood For Flooring: How to choose and why hardness matters?

You will need some recommendations of the hardest wood for flooring. It can be somewhat daunting because there are many wood species to opt for.

With various wood grains and colors, homeowners may need to consider the best one that suits their needs and budgets. Still, they have to consider the prices and the overall maintenance processes.

One example of the hardest wood for flooring is oak. Though its hardness varies depending on the subspecies, homeowners still consider this the best choice for their houses.

The most commonly used species is the white oak. It is classified as the main standard for some industries. It is not only durable but also easy to maintain.

Another kind of the hardest wood for flooring is Maple. It is mostly used for a basketball court, thanks to its shock-absorbent characteristic. It is also very durable against scratches, so it is best for flooring in high-traffic areas.

The wood is also renewable, so it is easy to find. The color is good, and its lightweight feature makes it popular among homeowners.

Bamboo is also another excellent alternative for flooring. It is hard and durable. Moreover, it is very eco-friendly, thanks to its fast-growing and easily replicable features.

Its sustainability makes it very popular for modern furniture and flooring. When it comes to flooring, the character of bamboo feels like hardwood.

What Makes IPE The Hardest Wood For Flooring?

IPE is Brazilian Walnut. Of course, it’s found mostly in South America and several Central American parts. IPE is purely natural and contains no chemicals. It means it doesn’t pollute the environment. It is also truly biodegradable and very dense.

IPE is astoundingly the best wood for flooring, thanks to its hard characteristic. Using IPE as an outdoor deck for a balcony or pool area will never be disappointing.

It is very appealing and luxurious. Its lifespan can reach forty years. This is especially when the IPE wood is well maintained.

IPE is much harder and denser than any other kind of wood. It is also mold-resistant and free from disturbances like insects, termites, and fungi.

It is also easy to install, particularly when homeowners hire professionals. This kind of wood has a rare chance of splintering, especially with a clip fastener.

The best thing of all, it requires very low maintenance. Millions of homeowners want this as it only requires applying rosewood oil to keep the flexibility of the wood.

Another way to maintain the IPE wood is by keeping the wood away from moisture. It is as easy as having a dehumidifier in the area.

Another advantage of using IPE is its fire resistance characteristic. This kind of wood is vulnerable to burning other kinds of wood. IPE boasts a fire rating similar to steel. It can be because of its dense characteristics naturally. 

IPE can provide cooler surroundings though it may depend on the current temperature. But it is still very durable when it comes to extreme weather. It is merely because it grows in countries with hot temperatures.

Hickory flooring vs. IPE

Hickory flooring is an excellent choice for those looking for a durable and hardwood option. With a Janka hardness rating of 1820, it is the second-hardest wood flooring in the US.

It is resilient and difficult to scratch, making it an ideal option for high-traffic areas. It is also easy to maintain, offers unique colors, and is less expensive than exotic woods.

Choosing hickory flooring will provide a beautiful look and protect your floor from damage as it is less susceptible to scratches than softer woods like Pine or Black Walnut.

Maple flooring Vs. IPE

Maple flooring is a durable and long-lasting option for those looking for a hardwood floor. With a Janka hardness rating of 1450, it is considered among the harder wood species.

Being one of the densest wood species, it is ideal for high-traffic areas and can withstand heavy use over time.

Maple is a popular choice in the United States as it is less expensive than Ipe flooring yet still offers natural beauty and high resistance.

However, Maple is harder than other species but requires regular maintenance and sealing to protect against insects or termites.

Oak flooring Vs. IPE

Due to its beautiful color and grain structure, oak flooring is popular among many.

Oak wood has a traditional and timeless appearance that many people find attractive. While IPE has more color variations, oak’s natural color and grain give it a unique look.

However, IPE has a much higher Janka hardness rating at 3684, nearly 40% harder than white oak. This makes IPE a more durable and long-lasting option for high-traffic areas.

Ultimately, your decision between Oak and IPE will depend on personal preference and the specific use and needs.

Hardest wood flooring options

When selecting hardwood flooring, it’s crucial to know that some species are harder than others. The hardest options include Rosewood and Cumaru, known for their durability. On the other hand, Walnut is less durable.

Homeowners often consider the hardness of wood when choosing to floor for high-traffic areas, but it may not be a concern for everyone.

Hickory is another great option for flooring. Its popularity stems from its ease of maintenance, as it is simple to clean. Homeowners can spray the floor with a cleaner and then mop it.

Another type of wood for flooring is American Cherry, which is commonly found in the northern United States. While the tree is known for its strength, it is also a popular choice for flooring. However, it can be considered pricey.

As it is classified as a softwood, it is typically used in areas with less foot traffic. American Cherry is widely admired for its beauty and elegance despite its cost.

Remember, flooring is an investment that should last for many years, so it’s important to choose something that can withstand the test of time.

When choosing the floor, it’s important to consider its durability and ability to withstand everyday wear and tear.

One way to gauge a wood species’ durability is by looking at its Janka Rating, which measures the hardness of a wood species.

Look at the hardest common hardwood species available and their Janka Ratings.

Wood Type Price
IPE 3680
Patagonian Rosewood 3840
Cumaru 3540
Brazilian Cherry 2820
Santos Mahogany 2200
Tigerwood 2160
Hickory 1820
Acacia 1750
Garapa 1700
Sapele 1500
Maple 1450
European Oak 1360
White Oak 1360
Red Oak 1290
Birch 1260
Walnut 1010

Alternative Of Wood Flooring

Some homeowners consider alternatives to wood flooring as they want to spend less money. But, they should consider whether the material is moisture-resistant. Some considerable alternatives include:

Engineered Vinyl Planks

This is one of the most popular alternatives among modern houses. It looks adorable, yet it is also versatile and cost-friendly. They are planks that appear like real hardwood. Yet, they are very waterproof. This is the best for houses that may be prone to dampness.

Wooden-look tiles

There are more and more manufacturers that are introducing this kind of tile. It is a common tile that looks like wood. This isn’t a new product, though, but it gets more popular during the past decade. It is also waterproof and easy to clean. The availability varies in various colors, styles, and textures.


So, whatever your choice of hardest wood for flooring, you must pay attention to the overall maintenance.

This is important so you can enjoy your hardwood flooring for longer. Whether using hard wooden flooring or its alternative, you only have to pay attention to its regular maintenance.