Proposed Classifications Aim to Reduce Slip Incidents on Hard Surfaces

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) has announced the development of a five-category “product use classification system,” which is anticipated for inclusion in ANSI A326.3 American National Standard Test Method for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction of Hard Surface Flooring Materials. The five categories, developed by the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) A108, will allow manufacturers to directly communicate appropriate areas of use based on the slip resistance characteristics of their products.

This addition to the ANSI A326.3 standard will require manufacturers to classify hard surface flooring into one or more of five product use categories:

  1. Interior, Dry
  2. Interior, Wet
  3. Interior, Wet Plus
  4. Exterior
  5. Oils/Greases

“Use of the classification system will provide architects, specifiers, and interior designers the information they want to choose hard surface flooring products appropriate for their intended areas of use. As a result, improved flooring specifications are anticipated, potentially leading to fewer slip incidents,” said TCNA executive director Eric Astrachan.

The current version of ANSI A326.3 is required by the ANSI standard for ceramic tile, ANSI A137.1, and referenced by other hard surface industries. It is additionally referenced by IAPMO’s Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa, & Hot Tub Code (read more here) and is being considered for inclusion in the International Code Council’s International Swimming Pool & Spa Code.

To assist product manufacturers, TCNA continues to expand its Product Performance Testing Laboratory’s slip resistance testing capabilities. The TCNA lab provides manufacturers (and any interested parties) with a variety of options to assist in assessing product slip resistance, including the ANSI A326.3 dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) test, the “German Ramp” test standardized in DIN 51130, and the British Pendulum test standardized in British Standard 7976.

These tests used in combination can assist manufacturers in determining product use classification in conjunction with their experience with similar surfaces.

Bill Griese, TCNA’s Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, stated, “We look forward to improved clarity regarding flooring slip resistance from these proposed improvements to ANSI A326.3. Slip resistance is much more than a friction measurement as these test methods show. Obtaining test results using different methodologies can help manufacturers determine appropriate product use classifications per the five-category system. This will benefit all users of hard surface flooring products.”