Laminate AC Ratings Simplified

Tuesday August 25, 2009
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The Abrasion Class or AC rating of laminate flooring was devised by European manufacturers to develop industry standards. The ratings serve to guide customers and provide them with a reference for the usage level of various laminate flooring products.

AC ratings are an acronym to represent the laminate's ability to resist impact, abrasion, stains and common incidents like cigarette burns. The ratings also confirm that the product has undergone tests for its reaction to castors, furniture legs and swelling along its edges. If a laminate flooring product has passed these tests it is awarded a rating. However, failure in any disqualifies the product.

AC ratings are generally depicted pictorially with a house for a residential property or a building for commercial. The number of people to the right of the picture corresponds to traffic density. The first digit of the number below the figures indicates – 2 for residential and 3 for commercial. The second digit is for traffic density, 1 being moderate, 2 general and 3 heavy. A pictorial chart illustrating the concept is depicted below:

AC Rating Chart

Logically it would seem a homeowner would be better off with a rating of AC4 or AC5 which would provide additional strength. But as the laminate increases in rankings, the surface texture increases in coarseness. An AC4 or AC5 laminate floor rating is uncomfortable for bare feet and far too abrasive for most homes.

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