living room, dining room, children's room. Rated
hallway, living room, home office. Rated AC3
hotel rooms, small office. Rated AC3
office, boutique, cafe. Rated AC4
open-plan offices, public buildings, department
stores. Rated AC5
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
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
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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