Which wood flooring is the most durable?

23 September 2020
Clear oiled European Ash wood flooring

At Chaunceys we believe that wooden flooring should last a lifetime. A high-quality solid or engineered hardwood floor will stand the test of time if it is properly fitted and well maintained. But which wood flooring is the most durable?

Which wood species is toughest?

The Janka hardness test shows how resistant wood is to scratches and dents. The test measures the amount of force required to press a small steel ball into the surface of the wood. The higher the number (the more force required), the harder the wood.

Douglas Fir (2900N)

A lovely light-toned wood, great for contemporary interiors and available in extra-wide, extra-long boards. Douglas Fir is naturally quite soft, but it can be finished with a tough lacquer to increase durability.

Elm (3790N)

Dutch Elm boards are stunning, with unique swirling grains and cream tones in the sapwood. Although they are a softer hardwood, a lacquer finish can make these a very hard-wearing choice.

Walnut (4500N)

American Black Walnut is hard, dense, and tight-grained, but isn’t quite as tough as Oak and Ash. This dark wood is popular for its rich colours and eye-catching grain patterns.

Oak (4980N)

Oak is a very resilient wood and offers durability alongside great value for money. It’s a wood that has been used as flooring for centuries and has never gone out of fashion. It is still the most popular choice for wood flooring due to its balance of toughness, sustainability, and natural beauty.

Ash (5900 N)

European Ash boards offer pale tones with distinctive streaks of olive-coloured heartwood. The wood is strong-grained and very hard-wearing.


At Chaunceys we offer a range of oils and lacquers in a wide variety of sheen levels for all our boards. Choosing the right finish for the wood is important in ensuring the durability of the floor. We recommend using a lacquer for softer wood species such as Douglas Fir and Dutch Elm.

Our oak boards

Our range of solid and engineered oak floorboards are of the highest quality and are a very durable flooring option.

Engineered boards, such as our Bristol Tectonic® oak flooring, have a 6mm oak top layer on top of high-quality plywood. They are extremely stable to any changes in humidity. FSC® (FSC-C131323) certified engineered oak is used in most of our collections. These boards will last a very long time and can be sanded back and refinished multiple times if required. However, due to the depth of the wear layer, there is a limit to how many times you can sand the floor over the years.

Solid oak floors can be sanded and re-finished over and over without any issues. Provided they are correctly acclimatised and aren’t exposed to major changes in humidity, solid wood flooring can be enjoyed for a very long time.