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It is important to understand the complexities involved with testing the wear resistance of a product. Whilst almost all formal testing for wear resistance is carried out using a taber abrasion machine, different testing methods and varied testing environments can have different effects on the outcome of the testing.
Firstly, the taber abrasion machine is used across the world to test the abrasion resistance, or wear resistance, of different types of flooring surfaces. Sometimes an abrasive wheel is used to grind away at the sample to determine how many grams of coating or surface were lost after a defined number of revolutions. Other tests involve “scuffing” away at the surface with a leather wheel until the coating shows pre-determined signs of wear. In some tests, sand is ground into the sample by the leather wheel and in others the leather is swapped for a specified grade of sandpaper that will wear away at the sample until a specified point of wear is achieved. Different countries have different standards and different companies perform different tests in order to maximise their products results using one particular testing method. To add further confusion to the issue, the relative humidity and temperature at the time of testing as well as, in some cases, the chemists interpretation of results can also have an influence on these results. In all, the important thing is that when comparing products in terms of wear resistance we must make sure that we are comparing apples with apples. We need to make sure that, at very least, the results being compared were provided by a reputable laboratory and were achieved using identical testing methods.
The method used to determine the wear resistance fo Quick Step is in line with the test procedures prescibed by the European Standard EN13329. It involves the use of a specified sandpaper on the taber abrasion machine. The sample piece spins, being abraded by the sandpaper, until the patterned design layer begins to show signs of wearing through. This stage is known as the Initial Point (IP) of wear and is very clearly defined by the standard, leaving little to interpretation by the testing authority. The sample is viewed every 100 revolutions and the abrasive paper is changed every 200 revolutions. The number of revolutions required to reach this stage is recorded and the sample is then given an Abrasion Class ranging from AC1 to AC5, with AC5 being the most wear resistant class.
In some tests, the wheel resumes spinning until almost all of the design layer has been worn through. This point is referred to as the Final Point (FP) of wear. In these tests, the IP and the FP are then added together and divided by two to determine the AT, or Average Taber. For marketing purposes, the AT is often the figure expressed when reporting on the wear resistance of a laminate floor.
Like all products, Quick Step varies slightly from batch to batch. Despite slight variations from batch to batch, Quick Step achieves an AC4 rating (Impressive achieves AC4) in accordance with EN13329 and has an Average Taber (AT) between 10,500 and 11,000 when tested in accordance with EN 438-2,6.
If you still need convincing that Quick Step is extremely wear resistant, ask your local Floorscape Office for the details of some commercial installations in which Quick Step has been installed. Hundreds of high traffic commercial installations across Australia serve as testament to Quick Step’s wear resistance.
It is very important however to balance wear resistance with other important factors when making a purchasing decision. Joining systems, moisture resistance of the fibreboard core, indentation resistance and warranty information should all be factors that influence any purchasing decision for laminate flooring.
Effective 1st May 2006, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) – Class 2 – 9 Buildings, calls for specific requirements regarding Fire Ratings of floor coverings that supercede the requirements of AS/NZS 1530.3. The new testing regime is referred to as: AS/ISO 9239-1: 2003 Reaction to fire tests for floorings – Part 1: Determination of the burning behaviour using a radiant heat source. This Standard calls for samples to undergo a series of controlled simulative tests, including the Critical Heat Flux Test / Critical Radiant Flux Test. In addition, the Specification sets a maximum limit of 750%-min for smoke generation in occupancies not fitted with sprinkler systems that comply with Specxifdicxation E1.5 of the BCA Specification.
Quick Step 800 Laminate Flooring 6.3 kW/m² 4 %-min
With these results, it is believed that Quick Step 800 Uniclic can be used in an Class 2-9 Building in terms of Fire Rating Requirements. Copies of test reports or information on the Smoke Developed, Spread of Flame, Heat Evolved or Ignitablity Indicies is available by contacting your local Floorscape Office.
The information provided above has been simplified for easier understanding. Information regarding specific requirements for any use and regulations should be sought from the services of an appropriate professional
Slip testing and results for all Floorscape Products are performed in accordance with the Australian Standard AS4586, and in line with the relevant Hand Book HB198:2014. All products are tested using the Wet Pendulum method, as prescribed in the standard. This method is universal, quick to perform, and mobile, so results can be easily compared, and tests can be performed on site if necessary.
The test results in a “P” number which is referenced in the Hand Book and Building Code of Australia (BCA). The higher the P number the more slip resistant is the surface. This system is used in preference to the Wet Ramp method (R rating) due to its relevance and ease, and International acceptance. All test are performed by a certified 3rd party body, and a Certificate produced for each type of product.
The test results are affected by the surface texture and gloss level of the product being tested, as such, multiple Certificates may be provided within a single product category to reflect the different surface specifications of these products eg: Semi-Gloss vs Matt Lacquer.
The flooring is always tested wet, it is assumed that the performance of dry flooring will be superior. In general, a P3 result is considered suitable for most commercial and domestic applications. Table A is a summary of test results for our flooring products, including stair nosing’s. Table B is an excerpt from the BCA providing a basic overview of slip performance requirements in different areas.
Please be aware that the BCA requires all dry internal stair treads or nosing’s to achieve a P3 rating or higher as per this excerpt from the BCA in table C.
When P1 or P2 flooring is used on stairs, a P3 nosing should be used, or alternatively the stair nose treated with Safety Stride non-slip tape (Fine Textured Resilient Clear), which achieves a P4 rating.
Impact Isolation Class (IIC) is, in basic terms, a measure of sound heard in one room from an impact made on a floor in the space directly above. This issue is commonly raised when installing floorcoverings in multi-storey residential apartments. Both the Strata Titles Act and the Building Code of Australia now raise this issue, setting requirements that need to be followed when installing floorcoverings in multi-storey apartments.
The Impact Isolation Class of a floor is tested using highly technical tapping machines (used in the testing room) and listening devices (used in the receiving room below). This work is carried out by specialised acoustic engineers. Results of testing are then entered into complex mathematical equations to determine an Impact Isolation Class or the new acoustic results of Ln,w + C1.
Many variables can influence the IIC or acoustic performance of a floor or floorcovering. Subfloor type (timber or concrete), subfloor thickness, subfloor density, subfloor construction method, frequency of subfloor supports or beams, the presence of a suspended ceiling, the floorcovering itself and underlay used in the testing room and background noises can all have a bearing on the acoustic rating achieved. Whether a receiving room is furnished can also have a bearing on the result. In most cases however, three main factors are looked at to draw broad comparisons. The thickness of the subfloor, the floorcovering used and the underlay used seem to have the most significant bearing on results achieved. To this end, Quick Step 800 has been tested using different underlays on concrete subfloors of varying thicknesses.
The Strata Titles Act does not ask that a specific Impact Isolation Class be achieved. It simply states that “peaceful enjoyment” be afforded to the occupant below. This subjective terminology has created the need for acoustic engineers across Australia to apportion an IIC that affords “peaceful enjoyment”. In terms of Quick Step 800, we tend to follow the requirements of the largest apartment developers in Australia, whose acoustic engineers require a product to meet an FIIC55. Early in 2004, the Building Code of Australia introduced acoustic requirements stating that multi-storey apartments achieve a rating no greater than Ln,w+C1 62. It is important to understand that with Field Impact Isolation Class (FIIC) results, the higher the figure, the better the result. Conversely, with Ln,w+C1 testing, the lower the result, the better the acoustic rating.
By measuring the sound transferred by the tapping machine through a floor across a wide range of frequencies, a series of data is collected. This data is then inserted into complicated mathematical formulas to determine the Impact Isolation Class (IIC)and the Ln,w+C1. While an Impact Isolation Class can only really be determined in a laboratory, field tests are carried out on various installations in service. These tests are recorded as Field Impact Isolation Class (FIIC) tests.
As discussed earlier, many FIIC tests have been carried out on Quick Step 800 over the years. The fact that Quick Step 800 is the most commonly used floating floor in apartment living across Australia stands as testament to the outstanding results achieved in terms of Field Impact Isolation Class. Our test results follow:
Quick Step 800 Installed on Standard 2mm Foam Underlay
Quick Step 800 Installed on 2mm Quiet Step Underlay
In summary, the field of Impact Isolation Class is incredibly complex. The combination of so many variables and the subjective nature of the governing legislation has been the cause of many disputes in recent years. Floorscape have tended to rely on our own experience, the advice of acoustic engineers commissioned to undertake our testing and the acoustic engineers contracted by the largest apartment builders in Australia for information, testing and guidelines regarding an acceptable Impact Isolation Class. In short, Quick Step has been installed in many multi-storey apartments across Australia with very few, if any complaints at all! Please feel free to contact your local Floorscape office should you require more information on this complex subject.
Information coming soon!
The “R” Rating is a measure of thermal resistance. In the instance of flooring, it is the measure of the floor system’s ability to resist temperature load from one side of the panei and/or underlay, to the other.
This information is of benefit when assessing the performance if in-floor heating systems. The measure is commonly required when evaluating a building’s all round energy efficiency.
The “R” Ratings for Quick-Step with both Standard Combi-Lay and Quiet Step Combi-Lay Underlays are:
Quick Step 8mm on Premium Combi-Lay R = 0.12
Quick Step 8mm on Quiet Step Combi-Lay R = 0.135
Quick Step 800 Long Plank will not be affected in any way by a burning cigarette, left on the floor for a few seconds. In fact, it is often the case that the cigarette can be left on the floor to burn out and the nicotine stain can be wiped straight off!
Testing a laminate flooring for cigarette burn resistance is carried out under the guidelines of the European Standard EN 438-2,18 / ISO 4586-2,18. The test basically involves leaving a lit cigarette on a sample of Quick Step 800 Long Plank for several seconds and then removing the cigarette to view the effects, if any.
The sample, after undergoing the test, is given one of the following ratings based on a visual examination.
Quick Step 800 Long Plank attains a Rating 5, the best rating achievable!
The European Standard EN13329 nominates an easy to use classification system that has been designed to readily evaluate the overall qualities of laminate flooring. In essence, each product undergoes a series of standardised and clearly defined tests. Test results are tabulated to evaluate which classification the product will fit into, the higher the classification, the more resistant the product. Tests carried out include wear resistance, scratch resistance, stain resistance, indentation resistance and cigarette burn resistance with high emphasis being placed on both wear and scratch resistance.
Pictograms featuring a house, numbered 21, 22 and 23 indicate a product’s suitability for residential applications. Products featuring a house, one person and the number 21 are suitable for light residential applications through to classification 23, which features one house & three people, indicating suitability for heavy residential traffic. It is important to note that a product that carries classification 23 is appropriate for use in all lower classifications. Similarly, pictograms featuring an office building, numbered 31, 32 and 33 indicate a product’s suitability for commercial or residential applications. Again, the higher the classification number, the more appropriate that product is for heavier traffic installations. A product that carries classification 32 is therefore suitable for moderate commercial and all residential classifications below it.
Quick Step 800 Long Plank achieves a 32 Rating in accordance with EN13329 making it perfect for any moderate commercial or residential installation.
Essentially, the higher the classification, the better the product performance in terms of wear and scratch resistance. It is very important however to consider other factors like joining system prior to making a final decision on which laminate flooring to use.
Impact resistance testing basically simulates a floors resistance to falling objects and indentations caused by heavy point loads like stiletto heels etc. Testing in accordance with the European Standard EN13329 and EN438 involves the use of both large and small steel balls to test the impact resistance of a laminate floor.
The small ball is basically a small steel ball-bearing. It is placed into a calibrated machine and fired with varying levels of force, measured in Newtons (N) at the test sample until the surface of the laminate has been broken. The force required to break the laminate surface is then recorded as the small diameter ball test result.
This involves testing five samples of laminate flooring, laid over 3mm foam underlay, by dropping a solid steel ball of a specified weight and diameter, onto the samples from gradiating heights. A sheet of specified carbon paper is placed on top of the laminate flooring. This carbon paper will leave an imprint on the laminate flooring sample, caused by the falling steel ball. In effect, the drop height increases in 50mm increments until cracking of the laminate surface or an imprint measuring greater than 10mm in diameter has been caused. The drop height at which such damage is caused is recorded. Obviously the greater the height, the greater the products’ impact resistance.
The European Standard EN13329 provides a table in which both small and large diameter ball test results are tabulated to formulate an Impact Class (IC) between 1 and 3, with IC3 being the best result achievable.
Quick Step 800 Long Plank achieved IC1 in the Impact Class testing prescribed by EN13329.
Again, while Impact Resistance might seem an important factor when deciding on a laminate flooring, factors like joining system, moisture resistance and wear resistance should also be considered to provide for a balanced decision making process.
Additional Technical Data on Quick Step 800 Long Plank includes:
The maximum allowable height tolerance between boards installed in your Quick Step 800 Long Plank floor is 0.15mm (total lip). Rest assured that when you select Quick Step 800 Long Plank, you are installing one of the best, and most popular, laminate floorcoverings on earth!
Should you require any further technical information, please feel free to contact your local Floorscape Office.
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