Laminate flooring AC ratings explained
Finding a new floor for your home or your business requires more thought than just picking colours and styles.
The AC rating scale can play a very important factor on deciding which floor is suitable for your purpose
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to explain laminate flooring AC ratings to make it easier for you to understand what they mean and how to use this information to decide which flooring is best suited for you.
AC Rating is also referred as the “Abrasion Class”. It’s a universal rating system of flooring standards for laminate flooring products to show their durability for a domestic or commercial setting.
Every laminate flooring product is put to the test against a huge range factors of key stress points. As such, the laminate AC rating can give a pretty accurate measure of a flooring’s resistance to abrasion, stains, spillage, impact, heat, scratches and other scuffs.
Sometimes AC ratings will be listed as AC1, AC2 etc.; other times, manufacturers will mark the packaging or labelling with a diagram or pictogram showing a type of building, such as a house or warehouse, or a number of people.
Read on for our detailed guide to the AC ratings of laminate flooring, with each different classification of the scale explained and some ideas of which level of flooring you would need for different settings. A synthetic floor that is manufactured from different profiles of HDF cores with one thing in common.
The lowest level of AC rated laminate flooring is AC1. There is in fact a level below this which is “unrated”, meaning the flooring has not passed the tests it needs to in order to be given any AC laminate ratings. It’s safe to say that these laminate floors will be of a very low quality and not suitable for most settings.
AC1, however, is best suited to domestic settings – residential homes with low foot traffic and little use. If you’re looking for a new flooring for your spare bedrooms that get very little use, perhaps put into use for the occasional guest or simply just for storage and so need very little cleaning, an AC1 rating laminate flooring will be a good option. The benefit of going for a lower rated flooring for rooms like these is that it’ll be much cheaper and budget-friendly.
An AC2 rated laminate flooring is one step above the AC1 level, meaning that it is most suitable for domestic settings again, but for areas within the home that see higher footfall but not a huge amount of wear tear. If you’re looking to find laminate flooring your living areas including sitting room, dining room and upstairs landings that are used mostly during the evening and night time, an AC2 laminate will be your best option.
This flooring will stand up to a moderate level of durability, more resistant to scratches and stains than an AC1 flooring, but less so than an AC3. While these are areas that you may consider an AC3 rating laminate flooring for, choosing the AC2 means that they will generally be more affordable. A laminated photographic image or graphical top layer that is designed to give the finished look of wood or any desired effect.
For the areas within a home that have much heavier traffic or wear and tear, an AC3 rating laminate flooring is highly recommended. These are places such as family home living rooms, hallways, bathrooms and kitchens that may require more cleaning. Laminate Flooring is the most popular choice of flooring because of the extensive range of colours and designs.
An AC3 rating laminate flooring also wouldn’t be out of place in a commercial setting with light use that is used like a home, such as hotel rooms, small cafes or offices with only a few members of staff.
AC4 rated laminate flooring is most commonly used and is most suitable for commercial use with more general traffic and moderate use. These are areas such as busy offices with more staff members or a lot of movement, smaller stores, restaurants or salons. it’s good value for money, hard wearing, easy to install and maintain.
The highest AC rating is AC5. This level of flooring is the only one that is suitable for very heavy and intensively trafficked areas, for example, large department stores, supermarkets, airport terminal buildings and warehouse flooring.
Some customers may have considered choosing an AC5 laminate flooring for every floor because they believe it will save them time, money and energy in the long run since these floorings are far more durable, however they aren’t usually a good option for settings other than heavy commercial situations. This is due to the rough surface texture which allows it to stand up to more wear and tear but would be more uncomfortable underfoot in a home.
The one big difference between an AC5 rated laminate flooring and the lower ratings is that AC5 are often created using high pressure laminate, whereas the others use a direct pressure laminate system.