Shopping for durable laminate flooring can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Luckily, associations like the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) have helped make our lives a little bit easier. They have created standards for laminate flooring. One of those standards is the Abrasion Rating System or AC for short. Lets look at all the aspects of an AC rating.
How is an AC rating determined?
Laminate flooring will be rated based on how they withstand under various key stress tests: impact, moisture, staining, heat, scratches and scuffs. They make sure to test these factors using real life everyday abuse: such as sliding furniture across the floor, spilling drinks that can stain, even dropping silverware, like a knife or a fork. Each laminate is given a rating from 1-5 on each test, and the final score is based on the lowest score the laminate receives. To put it simply, if a laminate received a score of 5 on every test except when dropping a fork on it was the score of 3, the laminate would get be rated as AC3. A very thorough description can be found on EPLF’s page.
What AC rating do I need?
When considering the AC rating, you’ll first need an idea of how much stress will be on your floor on a day-to-day basis. Most home owners go with a 1 – 3 rating, while commercial building owners best choice is usually a 3 – 5 rating. Here’s a layout:
AC1 rating: This laminate is the most vulnerable, but it can save you money. Therefore, it should only be used in rooms without much foot traffic. Excellent places to use this laminate would be infrequently used dining rooms, guest bedrooms, and closets.
AC2 rating: This laminate can withstand moderate traffic, but should be avoided being placed in high-traffic areas. A good example of a moderate traffic area is a family room.
AC3 rating: This laminate can withstand the high traffic areas of your home. AC3 works well in hallways, main living areas, and stairs.
AC4 rating: This laminate is the base standard on the commercial side. AC4 can withstand stores that have public shoppers and busy offices.
AC5 rating: This laminate is the real deal. It is designed to withstand high amounts of foot traffic. For instance, very busy places, like restaurants, department stores, and large corporation offices use this rating.
Can an AC rating be trusted?
Usually it can be difficult to judge the durability of a floor from one test. However, the AC rating covers almost every way laminate can wear. Another bonus the AC rating system provides is a bias free opinion, stemming from the fact they’re an independent association. The AC rating is the #1 rating you can trust.
Now I hope you have a better understanding of what an AC rating is, and how you can use it to help you buy the correct laminate without spending any more money than you have to.
In the end, the AC rating is an outstanding durability rating, but just like many other floors, more factors come into play into the lifespan of your laminate.