Home Laminate FlooringLaminate Flooring BasicsConstruction What is the laminate flooring wear layer?

What is the laminate flooring wear layer?

by Bestlaminate
Published: Updated: 20 comments 3 minutes read

There is no such thing as a laminate flooring wear layer. The durability of laminate flooring is measured with the AC rating, which is an abrasion rating system. The wear layer is what is used to measure the durability of vinyl plank flooring.

The higher the AC rating, the more durable the flooring will be.

  • AC1 /21-Moderate Residential– suitable only for moderate residential use such as a bedroom or a closet
  • AC2/22 General Residential– suitable for “normal residential” applications such as living rooms and dining rooms.
  • AC3 /23 Heavy Residential – good for all residential applications
  • AC3 /31 Moderate Commercial – ideal for all residential applications plus light commercial such as hotel rooms or small offices
  • AC4 /32 General Commercial– use for all residential plus general commercial applications such as offices, boutiques, and cafes
  • AC5 /33 Heavy Commercial – great for all residential applications plus heavy commercial applications such as public buildings, department stores, etc.

Be sure to select the right laminate flooring with the right AC rating for your laminate flooring project.

A Little More About Laminate’s AC Rating

A lot of people assume that because a certain laminate is thicker or has a longer warranty, it is more durable and longer lasting. This is not necessarily the case. That is why the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) has developed the Abrasion Rating System also called AC Rating. Every laminate is rated based on a series of rigorous tests, including the Tabor abrasion test, burn resistance, impact resistance, stain resistance, and swelling under moist conditions. EPLF adopted a standard-based rating which helps buyers understand the differences in durability among laminate flooring products.

Which AC Rating is Right for My Home?

When looking for laminate flooring the very first question you should ask is “What is the AC Rating for this floor.”

For higher-traffic areas choose a higher AC number, this way you can safely enjoy your new floor for years to come without worry. The AC rating system starts with the lowest AC1 designed for very low residential traffic. We do not recommend laminate with this rating for any interior because of its low performance. The most popular rating for any residential application is laminate with an AC3 rating. You have to know that AC3 has two subcategories AC3/23 -suitable for heavy residential traffic and AC3/31 -designed for heavy residential and light commercial use. AC scale ends on an AC5 rating- this rating is designed for commercial applications like stores, coffee shops, and all kinds of places with very heavy traffic. There is also one step above that, which belongs to select Alloc collections, AC6. They claim that those floorings with an AC6 rating can stand up to AC5, plus more! This is perfect for very high-traffic commercial areas and may be overkill for a residential installation unless you have lots of clients coming to your home office.

If you still have questions, please post them in the comments below and we will answer them! You can also call us at 1-800-520-0961 and speak to a rep!

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Jack March 26, 2018 - 10:14 pm

Customer service is very kind and willing to help.

Admin March 27, 2018 - 9:33 am

Thank you for your feedback, Jack. We are always excited to help with your next project!

Donna Payne March 25, 2018 - 7:06 am

I have a large family dog which sometimes tries to play in the house. The dog is well trained to go outside to do her business so water is not an issue. My question is, which would maintain its surface with less marring from large dog toenails better? A laminate floor with an AC4 rating or a luxury vinyl plank floor with a 20 to 28 mil wear layer?

Admin March 27, 2018 - 10:22 am

Hi Donna, thanks for reaching out. If water and moisture damage is not a concern in your home, we definitely recommend a laminate flooring with an AC4 rating. Laminate is very scratch resistant and will be very durable with your furry friend!

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