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The A to Z of Laminate Flooring

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laminate flooring ratings

product aC ratings

Laminate flooring product ratings explained.

Residential Area's

Laminate flooring product rating 21 Laminate flooring product rating 22 Laminate flooring product rating 23
e.g. private guest room, bedroom. Rated AC1   e.g. living room, dining room, children's room. Rated AC2   e.g. hallway, living room, home office. Rated AC3

Commercial Area's

Laminate flooring product rating 31   Laminate flooring product rating 32   Laminate flooring product rating 33
e.g. hotel rooms, small office. Rated AC3   e.g. office, boutique, cafe. Rated AC4   e.g. open-plan offices, public buildings, department stores. Rated AC5
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Most laminate flooring that is produced today will have a laminate flooring rating, which is refered to as an AC Rating. These ratings are based on standards that were developed by the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF). There are now some major manufacture’s of laminate flooring in America and other parts of the world, but no other laminate flooing ratings have been set, and new designs and innovations still come from Europe.

The AC Rating is a set of tests that are carried out on the laminate flooring to see how well it survives under certain conditions. These quality control tests cover area’s including resistance to abrasion, impact resistance, stain resistance, burn resistance, and the effects of furniture marks and thickness swelling along element edges. The test results give the laminate flooring rating.

The rating system starts with AC1 which is the lowest, and this laminate flooring should only be used in light-traffic area’s. At the other end of the scale is AC5 which is produced for the commercial market and for use in very high-traffic area’s. A laminate flooring rating of AC2 or AC3 is found on flooring tailored to the domestic and residential market. If you are tempted by some very cheap laminate flooring, you may find that it hasn't got any type of AC rating because it probably failed to meet the minimum requirements. When a product is being tested, if it fails on just one single test, then approval for that laminate flooring rating is denied. For residential use, a rating of AC3 is perfectly adequate. If you have a budget in mind then don’t forget that typically the higher the laminate flooring rating, the higher the price.

The test devised for abrasion resistance has now been updated to the new European standards (EN13329), and that results in lower numbers than the old method. This test (the Tabor Abrasion Test), is still performed in the same way, but the abrasive paper used on the test equipment is now replaced more frequently. As such it makes the test more demanding and thus produces the lower numbers.

When choosing laminate flooring be careful to consider other factors and not just the laminate flooring rating or the abrasion resistance number. Some manufacturers are promoting their laminate flooring on a high resistance number. If this was rated under the old system, then their laminate flooring may be less resistant to abrasion than other laminate flooring which has a lower number, but is rated under the new system.
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