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All you need to know about the Brinell hardwood hardness scale

When shopping for real hardwood flooring, you will come across many different specifications that you may not have heard before. One of these is the Brinell Hardness Scale, which is used to rate the hardness of each type and species of wood flooring.

The Brinell Hardness Scale, which was named after the Swedish scientist Johan August Brinell, was designed originally to test the hardness of metals. However, it is now used to test the hardness of wooden flooring as well. The method involves pressing a steel ball bearing against the wood to produce a result known as the Brinell Hardness Number (BHN).

The following are some examples of wood flooring species and their BHN numbers (the higher the number, the harder the wood):

• Cherry – 3.0 to 3.2
• Ash – 3.3 to 4.1
• Maple – 3.2 to 4.2
• Oak – 2.9 to 3.7
• Beech – 2.7 to 4.0
• Birch – 2.2 to 2.7
• Pine – 1.3 to 1.8

Why do I need to know about the Brinell Hardness Scale?

This information is important if you are buying hardwood flooring because it lets you know how durable and hard-wearing a particular species of wood is. So, if you want a wood floor that can withstand scrapes and dents as well as heavy loads, you will choose a species with a higher BHN.

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