TECHNICAL INFORMATION The classification of longleaf and selected dense grain yellow pine as a "softwood" is somewhat misleading.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service utilizes several measures to test a wood's capacity to withstand assaults on its structure. Below is a chart which lists Specific Gravity and Side Hardness values for various types of woods. These are two such measures. "Side Hardness" is a measure of how many pounds of load are required to imbed a .444 inch diameter ball halfway into the substance. "Specific Gravity" refers to the amount of wood substance per unit volume, essentially its "density". Specific Gravity varies among different types of wood due to basic cell structure.
As the chart below indicates, the longleaf pine has a "Side Hardness" greater than the other commonly found American pine varieties. Regarding "Specific Gravity", the longleaf is not only superior to its pine counterparts, but also holds a higher value than southern red oak, a commonly known hardwood.
These basic elements of the longleaf pine's structure make it a superior flooring option to other types of pine. An argument for the use of longleaf pine over southern red oak in this capacity is also illustrated, providing a less expensive, more stable, environment-friendly, denser flooring alternative.
Species Specific Gravity Side Hardness Ipe .92 3060 Goncalo .84 1910 Brazilian Rosewood .80 2440 Courbaril (Br. Cherry) .71 1970 Caribbean Pine .68 980 Pecan .60 1310 White Oak .60 1060 Beech .56 850 Northern Red Oak .56 1000 Sugar Maple .56 970 Ash .55 960 Teak .55 930 Longleaf Pine .54 590 Southern Red Oak .52 860 Walnut .51 900 Loblolly Pine .47 450 Shortleaf Pine .47 440 Eastern White Pine .34 290 Balsa .16 n/a