With advances in flooring technology, laminate floors today can realistically emulate hardwood flooring. Given the wide selection of styles available today, finding the look you want is easier than ever. But when it comes to commercial grade laminate flooring, there’s another important factor to consider: durability. While this type of flooring is known to be durable, not all laminate flooring is created equal. Learning how laminate floors are graded using the AC durability rating is an important part of a process that ends with you selecting the best laminate flooring for your business.
All laminate floors have an Abrasion Class rating, more commonly referred to as the “AC” rating. This rating system was developed by the European Producers of Laminate Flooring and is used by the flooring industry to determine the durability of any laminate flooring. The higher the AC rating, the more durable the floor is. For commercial uses, you’ll need a laminate floor with a rating of AC3 or higher.
The AC rating tests measure several aspects of a laminate floor to determine its overall durability. The metrics used in these durability tests include:
Based on the results of these tests, each laminate floor is assigned an AC rating, typically from AC1-AC5. The AC rating is a critical piece of information you can use to select the best laminate floor for you.
The AC rating is an indicator that tells you how durable your laminate floor is. Commercial grade laminate flooring will have a higher AC rating than residential laminate flooring. Below is a guide to help you decide which rating is right for you.
AC1 Grade Laminate Flooring
AC1 laminate flooring is designed for light residential use. This grade of laminate flooring is best for areas with minimal traffic, such as bedrooms and closets, and is not recommended for commercial use.
AC2 Grade Laminate Flooring
AC2 laminate flooring is classified for general residential use. Rooms that receive a moderate amount of traffic, such as living rooms and dining rooms, are ideal for this grade of flooring.
AC3 Grade Laminate Flooring
This grade of laminate flooring can handle any type of residential setting. It is also durable enough for commercial spaces that experience light traffic, such as private offices and hotel rooms.
AC4 Grade Laminate Flooring
For many commercial spaces, AC4 grade laminate flooring is the ideal choice. Built for general commercial use, it has a high level of durability and is suitable for offices, boutiques, cafes, and other areas that experience high levels of traffic.
AC5 Grade Laminate Flooring
AC5 grade laminate flooring is designed for heavy commercial use. Generally speaking, this is the most durable commercial grade laminate flooring available and can be used for high-traffic areas, such as public buildings and department stores.
Recently, certain manufacturers have developed AC6 grade laminate flooring for very heavy commercial use; however, AC1-AC5 ratings are still the most common. In addition to the AC rating, you can also consider the thickness of the laminate floor. Most laminate floors are available in either 8mm or 12mm. The latter has better insulation and will look and feel the most realistic. Keep in mind that the thickness of the laminate planks doesn’t affect the wear layer, so choosing the thickness is a matter of preference.
The best laminate flooring for you will depend on the style you want and the AC rating you need. The team at Floor Coverings International has thousands of commercial grade laminate flooring options to choose from so you can find the perfect fit. For more information or to schedule a free design consultation, please call us today!
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