Sustainable slip resistance in resilient vinyl floors
Vinyl Floor Coverings Slip Resistance
Many different resilient floor coverings are available with a wide range of performance characteristics and slip claims.
It is essential to choose a product which has a performance matched to its end use environments.
Where risk assessment identifies a high risk of slip the UKSRG Guidelines(1) recommend installing floor coverings with a minimum slip value of 36 according to the pendulum test.
Effect of Wear on Slip Resistance
After a vinyl floor covering has been installed its surface will be affected by the way it is used in, for example walking, cleaning regimes, dirt build-up and other uses in the area. These can lead to wear of the surface which can in turn affect the slip performance.
If wear of a product under normal use conditions results in reduction of slip resistance, then it is evident that ex-factory results will not necessarily provide a reliable indication of the slip performance throughout the products life.
It is generally accepted that a product marketed as a slip resistant floor should be able to demonstrate slip performance and meet slip resistance claim throughout the life of the floor covering if it is cleaned and maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.
Importance of Sustainable Slip Resistance
Manufacturer claims for slip performance are usually based on ex-factory results and can often be misleading or misunderstood. When selecting floorings for high-risk slip areas it is important to follow UKSRG guidelines and select a floor covering which meets 36+ slip resistance on the pendulum test when tested in wet conditions. The slip performance claimed should also be sustainable throughout the life of the product if it is cleaned and maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.
Some manufacturers of ‘safety floor coverings’ may choose to guarantee the sustainability of their products in use.
Sustainable Slip Resistance Vinyl Floor Coverings
In the marketplace today, all resilient floor coverings with sustainable slip resistance contain hard particles which are embedded into the surface and are effective in imparting slip resistant properties. These products conform to the European standard EN13845 “Resilient floor coverings – Polyvinyl chloride floor coverings with particle based enhanced slip resistance – specification”(2). To ensure that slip resistance is sustainable, it is important that these hard particles are retained in the floor covering throughout the life of the product.
Testing of Slip Sustainability
A test has been developed as part of EN13845 which abrades the floor covering surface and then measures the loss of particles in the surface. Wear is generated by the action of leather-clad abrading wheels and abrasive grains on the surface of the floor-covering. For heavy use areas the requirement is that the particle loss should be < 10% after 50,000 cycles. This test is not considered suitable for any other flooring surface type.
Specification of Sustainable Slip Resistant Vinyl Floor Coverings
If sustainable slip resistance of a floor covering is required, then there must be some evidence for this property. The only vinyl floor coverings which give truly sustainable slip resistance currently meet all of the following criteria:
- Contain hard particles throughout the wear layer
- For very heavy use commercial areas such as schools and hospitals, the products must meet the EN13845 abrasion test requirements of <10% particle loss after 50,000 cycles.
- Should meet pendulum test requirement of 36 minimum in both wet and dry conditions throughout guaranteed life of the floor covering. This claim should be supported by a manufacturer guarantee of sustainable slip resistance.
- Meet all other general performance requirements specified in EN13845.
Some Common Misconceptions in Specification of Safety Floorings
The following are common misconceptions regarding interpretation of manufacturers’ data on slip resistance..
|Safety floor coverings can be specified based on ‘ramp test’ results alone.||The ‘ramp test’ is an ex-factory test and cannot be used to measure slip resistance in-situ(3).|
|Safety floor coverings can be specified by ex-factory pendulum testing alone.||The slip resistance maybe guaranteed by the manufacturer for the lifetime of the product.|
|Floors CE/UKCA marked for dry slip resistance according to EN13893 are safe to use in wet or other contaminated conditions.||The test for CE/UKCA marking is in dry conditions only and gives no information regarding slip resistance in wet or other contaminated conditions.|
(1) UKSRG Guidelines
(2) BS EN13845:2017 (Incorporating corrigendum August 2017) – Resilient floor coverings – Polyvinyl chloride floor coverings with particle based enhanced slip resistance – Specification.
(3) https://www.ukslipresistance.org.uk/guidance-and-faqs/faqs/ ‘Which slip test method is most appropriate ?’
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