You may think the thicker the laminate, the better, and the longer the warranty the longer it will last! That isn’t always the case, though. So how do you know which laminate will last in your home (or commercial space)? Luckily, the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) developed the Abrasion Rating System to give us a way of determining durability and recommended usage level of different laminate floors. The common term used to denote the durability level of laminate flooring is the Abrasion Criteria or “AC” rating.
So, what exactly do AC ratings tell us? They represent a laminate’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains and cigarette burns. AC ratings also indicate that the product has been tested for the effects of furniture legs, castors, and swelling along its edges. When a laminate flooring product has a rating, then it has passed all of the test criteria. Failing just one test will disqualify a product.
The AC rating levels are designated AC1 through AC5, each reflecting the product’s application and durability.
Application is divided into two groups: residential and commercial.
Each application is then divided by traffic intensity level: moderate, general or heavy.
Below is a breakdown of AC ratings. The left picture will be either a house (representing residential use) or a building (for commercial use). The picture to the right will show one, two or three people, depicting the traffic intensity level of moderate (1), general (2) or heavy (3).
AC1 Moderate Residential.
Built to withstand only light residential use. Suitable for closets or bedrooms.
AC2 General Residential
Built for moderate foot traffic. Suitable in residential spaces that don’t see a tremendous amount of wear and tear like dining rooms or living rooms.
AC3 Heavy Residential/Moderate Commercial
Built for all kinds of residential use including high–traffic rooms and even commercial spaces that have light traffic like offices without off-street traffic and hotel rooms.
AC4 General Commercial
Built to withstand every kind of residential use as well as more heavily trafficked commercial spaces that have off-street traffic like offices, cafes, and boutiques.
AC5 Heavy Commercial.
Built for the busiest commercial uses and high–traffic spaces like department stores and government buildings.
(Lumber Liquidators/ Build Direct)