Walnut floors and the Janka scale

Karen.1288August 21, 2012

We are building a new house and I love walnut floors. Our builder just told us that he doesn't think that it is a good idea for us (we are talking kitchen and dining area and we have small kids) I know that they are softer then oak (20% softer) but is that really significant? It seems as though oak is not a good reference point. When you compare it to the harder woods like brazilian cherry (82% harder then oak), Mahogany (109% harder then oak) or brazilian teak (174% harder then oak) the 20% difference between walnut and oak doesn't seem like much of a difference. Oak is everywhere and people with it don't seem to be scared off by its janka rating or concerned by potential scratches/dents. Is that 20% really significant? Or maybe I'm just trying to make an excuse to get the walnut. I'm most concerned about chair dents from the dining room set and marks from the stools in the kitchen. What are your thoughts?

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weedyacres

We've got walnut floors in our dining room and family room and don't have a problem with scratches or dents. Well, except for the dent where I dropped my Paslode nail gun when we were installing it. Put a dent in Mr. Weedy's head on the way down and a small gunch in the floor.

We do have felt pads on our DR table and chairs.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 7:12PM
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gregmills_gw

Most builders HEAR about how walnut is soft. Most of the time they never deal with walnut in construction. Simply because of cost. Its cheaper to stain oak then buy special milled walnut.

Truth is that yes walnut is softer than oak. But the secret is this. Every type of wood will dent. Brazilian walnut or ipe is extremely dense and ranks high on the janka rating system. But that wood dents just as easy as anything else. The difference is the size of damage to the floor when something is dropped.

If you drop a soup can on the walnut floor yes it will dent.
As far as normal walking/living on the floor that type of damage has nothing to do with the Janka scale. That type of damage is all based on the type of finish you apply to it.

As far as furniture goes. You wont have an issue as long as you follow the manufactures guide lines. (prefinish is okay immediately after install site finish requires dry/curing time before you move things)

Do what you want. Its your home not your builders. You pay them to build you house not to persuade their likes/dislikes onto you.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 7:27PM
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gregmills_gw

Most builders HEAR about how walnut is soft. Most of the time they never deal with walnut in construction. Simply because of cost. Its cheaper to stain oak then buy special milled walnut.

Truth is that yes walnut is softer than oak. But the secret is this. Every type of wood will dent. Brazilian walnut or ipe is extremely dense and ranks high on the janka rating system. But that wood dents just as easy as anything else. The difference is the size of damage to the floor when something is dropped.

If you drop a soup can on the walnut floor yes it will dent.
As far as normal walking/living on the floor that type of damage has nothing to do with the Janka scale. That type of damage is all based on the type of finish you apply to it.

As far as furniture goes. You wont have an issue as long as you follow the manufactures guide lines. (prefinish is okay immediately after install site finish requires dry/curing time before you move things)

Do what you want. Its your home not your builders. You pay them to build you house not to persuade their likes/dislikes onto you.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 7:28PM
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