The Strength of Laminate Flooring
Almost every industry has a watchdog organization or group that sets standards to ensure the quality of its products. Laminate flooring is no different. The European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) developed an Abrasion Class (AC) Rating system to give consumers a better idea of the durability of particular laminate floor types.
The AC Rating system helps to identify how certain types of laminate floors will perform when it comes to traffic, spills, furniture, and foot traffic. Essentially, it can assist buyers in deciding which type of laminate is most suitable for their needs and lifestyle.
Laminate floors are rated from 1 to 5 on the scale, with 5 being the most durable. Some manufacturers use an AC6 to indicate heavy commercial use, however this is neither commonly used nor widely recognized.
Abrasion Class (AC) Ratings:
• AC1 - This type of laminate flooring is designed for homes and residences without a great deal of foot traffic. It is more suitable for bedrooms and other rooms in which there is not a lot of walking.
• AC2 - This flooring is also designed for residential use, but can withstand much more foot traffic than AC1. AC2 flooring is better-suited for living rooms and dining rooms that have moderate foot traffic.
• AC3 - This laminate is still primarily residential in design, but can withstand any type of heavy traffic like entryways, hallways, dens and playrooms. AC3 flooring can also be used for commercial buildings that see moderate traffic, like small offices and hotels.
• AC4 - Designed for commercial applications, this type of laminate flooring can withstand moderate foot traffic and is ideal for restaurants and office buildings.
• AC5 - This laminate flooring is ideal for high-traffic commercial spaces like department/retail stores and shopping centers. It has a rough finish that can withstand the most abuse and neglect.
If a particular type of flooring fails one aspect of the EPLF testing, it does not receive an AC Rating. Laminate flooring that does not have an AC Rating will, more than likely, not meet EPLF standards.
The EPLF recommends that laminate flooring that is going to be used for residential purposes have a rating of at least AC3. This will ensure that the flooring will be able to withstand heavier foot traffic.
Before getting the super-tough AC5 laminate for your family, it may be a good idea to see the differences of residential laminate and commercial laminate in person. While AC4 and AC5 flooring is designed to withstand more foot traffic, these types of laminate also have a rougher surface and will not be nearly as comfortable to bare feet and socks.
Many types of laminate flooring will have symbols to define their AC Rating. Flooring that is designed primarily for residential purposes will have a picture of a house, while commercial flooring will have a picture of a building. To the right of the house or building will be one to three people. This denotes the amount of foot traffic the flooring is designed to withstand.
Laminate flooring can be both highly practical and very attractive. By noting the AC Rating for the particular laminate you have in mind, you will better be able to decide which is the right choice for your purposes and your pocketbook. Use the laminate floor estimator tool on FindAnyFloor.com to determine how much floor material you'll need for your laminate project.