Hardwood flooring is exotic, beautiful, durable and adds value to your home. Although color is the #1 choice for flooring shoppers when deciding on a floor, don’t go by color when buying your hardwood floor for very good reason:

Some of the most beautiful and eye-catching hardwoods also happen to be the softest and damage prone. Your pines, walnuts and cherry’s have unsurpassed beauty. I’ve seen many shoppers literally lock their eyes on them and drift towards them like hypnotized zombies.

But these woods are very soft. So soft, you can scratch the sample boards with your fingernails. They are not meant to withstand a family of 7 children with rollerblades, soccer shoes and bicycles being ridden around. Nor are they for elephant sized dogs with claws like werewolves.

So where would you put these hardwood floors? Think of a very low traffic area – a rarely used dining room, your cabin getaway where it doesn’t see much action or even an elderly person’s home where the wear and tear will be minimal.

PSI’s or pounds per square inch measure hardwoods in hardness. The higher the number, the harder the wood. Pines, cherry’s and walnuts are around 1000 PSI’s. Oaks around 1600. Maples – 2300. Hickory – 2600. This gives you an idea of each hardwood’s relative strength.

But don’t be deceived.

The question I get a lot of is will a 2600 PSI Hickory Hardwood floor withstand my zoo of a home? Will it scratch? Have you ever seen a tree that doesn’t scratch? Look, wood is wood. It’s a natural product so yes it will scratch given enough abuse has been thrown at it. Don’t fall for a salespersons story that it will look great after 7 years worth of Times Square traffic. It won’t! If this is the type of traffic, you are anticipating, stick with laminate or tile.

Think about it. When your dog is running on your hardwood floor, at one point while it’s momentarily airborne, its entire weight transfers to its front legs. Now if you have a heavy dog, all that weight is being put on its front claws as it gets ready to launch off them for the next stride. So yes, a hardwood will scratch given the right conditions.