Laminate Flooring and RAC Rating – What does it mean?

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Categories: FAQs

AC Rating, used for laminate and vinyl floors is a measure of a floor’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains and cigarette burns. The ratings also indicate that the product has been tested for the effects of furniture legs, castors, and swelling along its edges. If a laminate flooring product has a rating, then it has passed all the test criteria. Failing just one test will disqualify a product.

An AC1 rated floor is sensitive and should only be used in room that have very little foot traffic while an AC5 rated will be sturdy enough to be used in busy department stores. At Doors and Floors Direct Ltd we only supply AC4 rated and above flooring, so every laminate and vinyl are durable enough to cope with a typical household routine.

Laminate flooring (also called floating wood tile in the US) is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process.  Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer.

Each rating is represented by international pictographs reflecting the product’s application and durability. The primary application is divided into two groups: residential and commercial. Each group is further divided into traffic intensity levels: moderate, general, or heavy.

The residential rating is designated by a pictograph of a house and the commercial rating by a building. To the right of those is a pictograph of one, two, or three people corresponding to the traffic intensity levels. Below the person or people is a numerical equivalent of the pictographs. The first digit indicates the primary application: 2 for residential, 3 for commercial. The second digit indicates the traffic intensity level: 1 for moderate, 2 for general, 3 for heavy.

The following is a breakdown of the AC ratings, their associated symbols and some suitable uses.

Residential Use

AC1 (Class 21)

Very light foot traffic, i.e. bedrooms

AC2 (Class 22)

Moderate foot traffic with low amounts of wear and tear, i.e. dining rooms

AC3 (Class 23/31)

Moderate trafficked living rooms, conservatories and hallways for example.


Commercial Use

AC4 (Class 32)

Any domestic and general trafficked commercial spaces such as offices, cafes, salons and boutiques or residential spaces.

AC5 (Class 33)

Busy areas requiring medium to heavy traffic resistance such as retail stores, showrooms, restaurants and schools.