What is Laminate Rating?
A laminate floor’s durability is measured by the Association of European Producers of laminate Flooring’s (EPLF) AC1 through AC5 wear rating system. Products are designated a rating after being tested for their resistance to abrasion, impact, staining and cigarette burns. Each increase in AC rating represents a 60 percent heavier wearlayer.
AC1: Light residential traffic/suitable for bedrooms.
AC2: General residential traffic/suitable for living rooms and dining rooms.
AC3: Heavy residential traffic/suitable for all areas of the home; moderate commercial traffic/suitable for hotel rooms and small offices.
AC4: General commercial traffic/ suitable for offices, boutiques and cafés.
AC5: Heavy commercial traffic/suitable for public buildings and department stores.
AC4: The Popular “New Boy in Town”
Educated consumers are seeking laminate flooring more than ever before, as better performing floor is fast becoming their No. 1 criteria. The vast majority of laminate floors today are now offered with AC4 wear resistance.
Until recently, many laminate floors have been marketed as being AC3-rated for heavy residential use though they actually performed at an AC4 level on tabor tests. Republic flooring has surged to the forefront of laminate floors manufacturing by offering AC4-rated floors with commercial warranties for both residential and commercial flooring alike.
“We have definitely been manufacturing more AC4 products for our customers,” said Eli Shuat, CEO of Republic Flooring. “It’s an opportunity for them to both upgrade the durability of the product for the residential consumer while also providing the ability for expansion into multi-family and light commercial environments.”
“A beautiful floor with a 5-year commercial and limited lifetime residential warranty speaks volumes to residential end-users” he adds. “What could more solidly reinforce the message of superior durability to residential customers than knowing the floor they are bringing into their home is approved for light- to medium commercial use?”
Mr. Shuat also added that upgrading the most sought after residential laminate floor visuals to commercial wear standards is also creating new opportunities within the design community.
“The same highly discriminating levels of style and design expected for residential use are now available for design in commercial spaces,” said Shuat.
Republic includes AC4 commercial ratings on almost all of its Ultimate products.
Industry insiders are quick to note that while AC4 light commercial ratings have emerged as a new standard for premium laminate flooring, some of the category’s best-selling and most advanced visuals have yet to be rated beyond AC3.
“The tabor tests used to measure AC ratings were developed more than 15 years ago when virtually all laminate floors were devoid of today’s texture and surface structure.” Says Mr. Shuat. “This is why some sophisticated surface structures and textures will test out as an AC3. But despite tabor test results, we are so confident in the quality and durability of our products that we still cover these particular products with the same warranty as our AC4 rated products.”
It is important to note that to realize that AC4 rating is not feasible with high-gloss piano finish products — it’s too hard to achieve in that format. Those very popular floors are all AC3, which is strong enough for residential.