Perhaps you have been tempted to install bamboo flooring for its reputation as a strong wood flooring option. After all, a Janka Hardness of 3000 is enough to rival even the hardest exotic woods. But this, like many of bamboo flooring’s other claims, is a distortion of the facts.
This may surprise you, but the Janka Hardness Test is not a fool-proof accurate measure of how durable a wood surface is. It involves measuring how much force is required to push a metal ball into the wood. It just so happens that bamboo fibers are perfect for resisting spherical objects, and the ball is “bounced” out like a trampoline. However, if a sharp object, like a stone stuck in a shoe tread, cuts the fibers, then the surrounding area is then more vulnerable to denting. As a result, wood species with a lower Janka rating than bamboo can actually perform better.
Another feature of bamboo is that it does not posses even hardness across its surface. Manufacturing companies know this, and test their flooring at the strongest point: the node, or knuckle. Since this only accounts for a small percentage of the total surface area of a bamboo floor, the result can hardly be considered accurate.
As you can see, bamboo flooring’s reputation as a durable option has been fabricated through a manipulation of the Janka Hardness Test. In reality, a bamboo floor will scratch and dent just as much, if not more, than any other hardwood flooring.