AC Rating For Laminate Flooring

What is AC Rating?

When buying laminate flooring, it is important to be familiar with all of the features. The AC rating is the universal measurement for determining how durable a flooring is in the laminate flooring world.

The AC rating for laminate flooring was created by the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF®). The abrasion rating system is a guidance tool that demonstrates the uses of each laminate such as durability. They test the laminate’s resistance to the following: sunlight, dents, scratch, water and more. You wouldn’t install a 90 inch window to match the placement of a 70 inch frame. You would buy the window with the proper measurements because that is what you need. The point is, each laminate has an AC rating assigned to it which provides guidance for which laminate to choose for based on its proper use.
Is Laminate Flooring Durable with Pets?

Residential or Commercial?

The AC rating for laminate flooring applies to residential and commercial use. You obviously want to select laminate that will suit your needs! Look at the AC numbers when you go to select your new laminate flooring. A higher AC number indicates that the laminate flooring is more durable and higher quality. We’ll discuss the AC rating numbers in a minute.

If you’re a new buyer, you will want to use the AC rating system to guide you before purchasing your new laminate flooring. The AC rating for laminate flooring provides guidance which helps you select not only the laminate flooring design of your choice, but the proper laminate flooring for your needs. I mean, I want to enjoy my laminate flooring for more than a year, don’t you?

What is measured?

Every laminate is rated based on a series of rigorous tests to see how well the laminate flooring will perform under specific conditions. Some of the tests involved with rating laminate flooring include:

  • Abrasion resistance
  • Burn resistance
  • Impact resistance
  • Stain resistance
  • Swelling under moist conditions

The test results provide the laminate with its AC rating. EPLF adopted a standard based rating which helps buyers understand the differences in durability among laminate flooring products.

That’s wonderful you say! Now you’re saying, “If only you could tell me how to select the proper laminate flooring for my needs…that would be great!” Now we will show you how to interpret and understand the AC rating for laminate flooring, so you can select the flooring based on its AC Rating that is suitable for your home or business.

Okay, so what are the numbers and how can I apply them to my situation? Basically, the lower the number, the lower the quality will be and the higher the number, the more durable it will be.

AC Rating Explained:

  • AC1/21-Moderate Residential– Floors with this rating are suitable only for moderate residential use such as a bedroom or a closet.
  • AC2/22 General Residential– The rating is suitable for “normal residential” applications such as living rooms and dining rooms.
  • AC3/23 Heavy Residential – This is good for all residential applications. AC3 Rated laminate flooring is not only affordable but also durable enough to resist wear and tear of daily residential traffic.
  • AC3/31 Moderate Commercial – Suitable for all residential applications plus light commercial such as hotel rooms or small offices. AC3/31 Rated floors are ideal for heavy residential areas like living room, kitchen or busy basement. For commercial applications make sure the floor you selected has has a commercial use warranty.
  • AC4/32 General Commercial– Use for all residential plus general commercial applications such as offices, boutiques, and cafes. Bestlaminate specializes in AC4 Rated laminate flooring. Our floors are not only commercially rated and stylish, but also feature other great solutions; for example: water resistance, wax coated edges, or innovative locking systems.
  • AC5/33 Heavy Commercial – This is good for all residential applications plus heavy commercial applications such as public buildings, department stores etc. This is the queen of laminate flooring. AC5 Rated laminate flooring is built to resist heavy traffic in the most demanding areas. There is even an AC6 ratingwhich has recently been introduced by Alloc in their Commercial and Prestige laminate flooring lines.

What is AC Rating for Laminate Flooring Explained

Note: Due to the low performance of AC1/21 and AC2/22 rated floors, Bestlaminate chooses not to offer laminate flooring with an AC rating below AC3. Bestlaminate is dedicated to providing high customer satisfaction by offering best laminate flooring.

Now you have a better idea on how to select the durability of your laminate! You should be looking at the AC rating immediately and begin asking questions. Remember, just because some laminates are thicker, doesn’t mean they’re going to last longer. You want to select the proper laminate based on its intended use, so you match the needs of your laminate flooring!

Now, just because you bought some new laminate with the highest AC Rating, you’ll still have to perform maintenance to keep that laminate looking good.  Check out our article for Laminate Flooring Maintenance In 3 Easy Steps.

Please share your experiences, concerns, or questions with us! We also welcome your feedback and will assist you in any way that we can. We encourage you to visit our website for any information that you may have.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2010 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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