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Does vinyl flooring have an AC rating?

Vinyl flooring is getting more and more popular with the technological advances of the product. The market has grown to include WPC vinyls, hyrbid floors and sophisticated waterproof vinyl flooring options. But how do you know which vinyl flooring will hold up the best? Does vinyl flooring have an AC rating?

Traditional Vinyl Does Not

Traditional vinyl flooring does not have an AC rating. However, it does have a durability measure known as the wear layer. The wear layer can range from 0.10mm (4 Mil) to 0.5mm (20 Mil). Similarly to the AC rating on laminate flooring, the wear layer is the additional coating applied on the top of the vinyl planks to add durability and protect the floor against scratches, stains and scuff marks.

Vinyl flooring cutaway layers diagram
Vinyl Floor Layer Diagram courtesy of processsystems.sandvick.com

Advanced Products DO

The flooring market is continually evolving and creating products with the consumer in mind. With that said, flooring manufacturers are starting to combine the technology in laminate flooring and vinyl to create floors with waterproof capabilities mixed with the AC rated aluminum oxide coating. This coating is used to prevent stains, UV fading, denting and scratching.

Products such as Armstrong PRYZM hybrid flooring is a waterproof floor with an AC4 rating. Most of these floors will be labeled as a hybrid or specialty vinyl floor.

Wear Layer vs. AC Rating

Vinyl and laminate flooring are both known for their durability, however, there are some major differences between the two finishing coats. A vinyl floor is typically a softer material that is coated with a urethane based coating, which is susceptible to UV fading, chemical stains and denting. When it comes to an AC rated laminate floor, this is a much harder surface that gets cured with an aluminum oxide coating. This prevents fading, scratching, staining and denting. Although both layers will stand the test of time, an aluminum oxide coating is a better option for all-around durability.

 

With both AC rating and wear layer, the higher the number, the higher the durability. AC4 and above is a commercially rated product, as well as a .15mm or higher wear layer.

Have more questions on vinyl wear layers? Let us know in the comments!

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3 comments

  1. What is the difference between Urethane protective layer and Acrylic layer? Which is better?

    • Please reply via email.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Claire, thanks for the question. When we’re talking about urethane and acrylic layers, generally we are talking about hardwood finishing. A urethane is typically oil based and an acrylic is water based. An acrylic coating will keep the floor from yellowing over time and has less VOCs. An acrylic will take more coats to apply and create a less mobile top coat for your floor to expand an contract. Polyurethane coatings are thicker and are better in high traffic areas. The oil in polyurethane helps protect the floor from heats and solvents. I hope this helps!

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