When choosing a wood floor, you don't want a species of wood that's easily damaged and will look worn in just a few months. Instead you probably want to be sure you're buying a durable one that can take lot's of abuse; but the average person probably doesn't know how to sort them out. Fortunately, there's the Janka scale, and it makes the decision an easy one.
What's the Janka scale, and why does it matter when it comes to choosing a durable floor? The Janka scale is a reference of how hard a wood is based on the force required to embed a .444-inch solid steel ball half of its diameter into it. The higher the number, the harder and more durable the wood, so naturally you'll want to look for something higher up the Janka scale, especially if you're install hardwood in a high traffic area.
So, with this newfound knowledge in hand, what is the most durable material?
On the Janka scale, red oak is considered the benchmark. With a Janka score of 1290, it's the flooring material most builders compare other materials to.
Now that you know that I want to introduce you to engineered hardwood. It's solid wood on top with several layers of plywood or fiberboard below it.
Engineered hardwood is valued for its versatility as well as its durability. Not only can it be used in basements and directly over concrete, it also has more stability and strength due to its design. Depending on the wood used in its top layer, it can be very durable even in high traffic areas.
An engineered floor that uses red oak as its top layer is the most durable type of wood flooring that won't break your budget. As you move up the Janka scale you will find even harder woods but typically the price increases as you move up the scale. Engineered red oak flooring is a great middle ground between durability and price.