Slip Resistance of Ceramic and Porcelain tiles.
What is Slip Resistance?
- Consumers, and indeed many builders and architects, do not realise that ceramic tiles which have had their slip resistance tested are awarded a grade, score or rating. In the absence of this knowledge, it is therefore presumed by many people that a floor tile is simply either anti-slip or not, when in reality this is not a binary situation. Different tiles have different degrees of resistance, and this will be reflected in their rating. From that perspective, there is no such thing as an “anti-slip” tile, as every tile will fall into one of the rating catego
- The terms “anti – slip”, or “slip resistance”, can be quite subjective.
- There is, for starters, a difference between actual slipperiness, and perceived slipperiness. A consumer or member of the public will modify their behaviour, for example, walking up an incline, or downwards on a wet surface.
- If a floor is continuously wet, it could be argued that a dry test rating is rather meaningless.
- A floor that is almost always exposed to dirt, abrasive material or other contaminants will perform differently in real life to its rating (which was assigned when tested perfectly clean) would suggest.
- There are other variables that interact with each other to determine whether a surface is “safe” or not. The speed of an individual walking or running; whether footwear is likely to be involved; the material from which the sole of any footwear might be made; whether a person is likely to be applying lateral pressure whilst turning,
The Tests for Slip Resistant Floor Tiles
- The main slip resistance tests that are carried out on floor tiles are the ramp test and the pendulum test, which we discuss below. Other tests include the tortus test, a micro-roughness test, and a sled test. In the interest of practicality, we shall only touch on the tests that are by far the most prevalent in the ceramic flooring industry.
The Ramp Test
GERMAN STANDARD (DIN 51130), RECOGNIZED IN EUROPE, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, AND USA:
This is by far the most common slip resistance test performed. The majority of European tile manufacturers are based in Spain and Italy. The slip resistance test that most of them prefer is the ramp test. One of the advantages of this test is that, described in conjunction with it, there’s a distinct list of recommended applications that relate to each resistance score. This in turn leads to architects and other tile specifiers within the construction industry to favour the ramp test.
The method itself involves a subject walking across the tiles under scrutiny, which are in turn fixed to an adjustable ramp. The subject wears specified safety footwear, and the surface of the tiles are covered in an oil. The angle of the ramp is increased until the subject can no longer maintain balance, and at this point the angle of the ramp is recorded.
The steeper the angle, the higher the slip resistance, and the higher the score. The tile is awarded an “R – rating” between 9 and 13 inclusive, with the higher rating indicative of higher resistance. There is a table at the bottom of this article showing possible suggested applications for tiles in each rating. Note that the lowest score possible is 9.
GERMAN STANDARD (DIN 51097), THE BAREFOOT RAMP TEST:
This is a similar test to the one above, except the participant is barefoot, and instead of oil, a solution of soapy water is used. See the end of this article for ratings and interpretations. Note that most tiles will not be subjected to this test, unless they’re expected to be used in environments where they’re almost always we
Tile Ratings and their Interpretation
THE RAMP TEST VALUES (DIN 51130):
|Slip Angle (°)||Ramp Test Score||Suggested Areas of Use|
|6 – 9||R 9||Dry transitional areas in public offices and schools.|
|10 – 18||R 10||Toilet areas in offices, hotels, and shopping centres.|
|19 – 26||R 11||External sales areas or ramps|
THE RAMP TEST BAREFOOT VALUES (DIN 51097):
|Minimum Slip Angle (°)||Ramp Test Score||Suggested Areas of Use||Tile Finish|
|12 – 17||A||Dry barefoot area||Plain|
|18 – 23||B||Swimming pool surrounds and shower areas||Textured or riven|
|24 +||C||Stairs leading to and from water or swimming pool ramps||Studded or raised profile|
The Pendulum Test
THE COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION TEST: Pendulum or ptv test
This is the second most common method of testing the slip resistance of floors. Many manufacturers now perform this test as well as the ramp test.
The test itself involves a pivoted arm being released in such a way that it comes into contact with the surface being tested at the bottom of its arc. The end of the arm which makes contact has been designed to simulate a shod heel, with a specified rubber pad used as the interface. Based on the extent to which the arm is slowed by friction as it passes the surface, a rating is awarded, known as the Pendulum Test Value, or PTV. The more the arm slows down, the greater the slip resistance, and the higher the score. This test can be performed for dry surfaces or those contaminated by water
Notes: No rating is awarded where the minimum angle of 12 ° is not achieved. The slip angle is the result of the test, not an installation recommendation.
|PTV Score||Slip Risk|
|0 – 24||High|
|25 – 35||Moderate|
Note: The pendulum test has two separate “sliders”, one to mimic a shoe’d foot, and one for bare