What Is an AC Rating for Laminate Flooring?
Published on: Dec 23, 2019
Last updated: Feb 18, 2021
When choosing laminate flooring, the Abrasion Class (AC) rating is an important aspect to consider. It is a wear rating given to indoor flooring and measures its resistance to abrasion, impact, and stains. Various tests are executed to determine how durable laminate flooring is and if the product fails just one test it will be disqualified and may not be sold to the public.
To ensure you get the best laminate flooring for your project, we explained what an AC rating is and what the best AC rating is for your laminate floors.
What is an AC rating?
An AC rating is the wear rating given to laminate flooring. It measures the resistance to abrasion, impact, and stains and indicates the durability of laminate. AC ratings are broken down into five levels ranging from AC1, moderate residential use, to AC6, intensive commercial use.
The below table shows the AC rating and their suitable uses. Note that a higher AC rating is also suitable for the uses of a lower AC rating, but not the other way around. For example, a laminate board with an AC4 rating can in addition to its moderate commercial use also be laid in moderate, general, and heavy traffic residential properties, but an AC3 rating cannot be used in commercial areas, but can be used for general, moderate and heavy residential spaces.
To determine the AC rating of a laminate plank, the flooring goes through a rigorous test using the Taber Rotary Platform Abraser. The test measures the number of wear cycles completed until initial damage to the decorative layer is observed. As the total number of Taber wear cycles increases, so does the product’s durability and its wear layer. It is important to note that this test does not take abnormal wear and tear, such as heeled shoes or insufficient protection from furniture, into consideration.
It is therefore important to still regularly clean your flooring and use floor protectors on your furniture to enhance the durability of your laminate flooring. We also recommend that you read our laminate installation guide for further maintenance tips and tricks.
Which laminate flooring is best?
As seen in the table above, the AC durability ratings are divided into two applications: residential and commercial. Levels AC1 to AC3 are appropriate for residential areas, while AC4 to AC6 are suitable for residential and commercial uses. These two applications are then further broken down into traffic intensity levels from moderate to heavy traffic. The highest AC rating for laminate flooring is AC6, but it is rarely available and only necessary for extremely high-wear public areas. For busy shops, showrooms, and offices the best AC rating for laminate floors would be those with an AC5 rating.
For a high-quality and durable finish for your residential floors, we’d recommend getting AC4 rated laminate flooring. If you are planning on using laminate on your walls, you can use a lower AC rating as the boards will need to endure less traffic.
Laminate 12mm vs 8mm
Sisu Laminate, the products we supply, comes in two different ranges: 8mm and 12mm. These different thicknesses affect the durability of the laminate boards and mean that they have a different AC rating.
Sisu laminate 8mm has an AC4 rating. This means that it’s suitable for commercial use with moderate traffic, such as hotel rooms, small offices and boutiques. We also find that it’s often considered the best AC rating for laminate floors installed in homes. An AC4 rating ensures a high quality and durable flooring for any residential area and their thickness ensures that your flooring looks and feels like traditional hardwood flooring.
Sisu laminate 12mm flooring has an AC5 rating and is recommended for use in retail stores, showrooms, restaurants, schools and other high traffic commercial areas.
If you are unsure which Sisu Laminate product and what AC rating is the best for your project, please contact our expert indoor flooring team on +44 (0) 20 3927 7376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on how to choose the best laminate plank for your project can also be found here.