Hardness Rating: White Ash

White Ash Complements Contemporary Design Schemes

Its straight, uniform grain and light color makes White Ash hardwood the ideal hardwood to complement modern or minimalistic decor. In its natural state, little contrast is visible between its light or white sapwood and gray, light brown or yellow-brown heartwood. While many homeowners prefer the natural look of this wood, it can also be stained to a darker shade.

The Emerald Ash Borer – an invasive species of beetle – has destroyed hundreds of millions of ash trees since 2002, when the beetle was first seen in the United States. Often, dead trees are turned into mulch, but in some areas, companies are harvesting wood from dead ash trees for flooring and other purposes. So although the White Ash tree’s numbers have dwindled considerably in recent years, market availability of ash hardwood may actually increase.

Here are some things you should know about White Ash flooring:

Name: The White Ash derives its name from the whitish, waxy undercoating on its leaves.

Origins: East Coast, Midwest, Nova Scotia and regions of Canada near the easternmost Great Lakes, some areas in the south.

Janka Hardness Rating: With a Janka Hardness rating of 1320 out of 4000, the White Ash wood species falls within the medium range for hardwood flooring options. The Janka Hardness scale is used to determine a hardwood’s resistance to dents, dings and scratches. The test, which uses a 2” x 2” x 6” piece of a wood specimen and a steel ball, determines how many pounds per square inch of force will make the steel ball embed halfway into the wood. That result leads to the wood’s Janka Hardness rating. Woods at the low end of the scale will show more evidence of dings compared to those at the top. However, woods at the very top of the Janka Hardness Scale could be too difficult to cut for home applications. Also note that other species of ash may have different Janka Hardness ratings. At the softer end of the spectrum is Black Ash, with a rating of 850, and Blue Ash is the hardest ash species, with a rating of 2030.

Installation: White Ash is easy to machine and stain. Caution should be used when sanding or cutting White Ash, because it may cause allergic reactions in some people that include skin irritation and respiratory problems.

Hardwood Floors