National Standard, ANSI A326.3, Now Requires Hard Surface Flooring Manufacturers to Provide Product Use Classifications Based on their Slip Resistance Properties

Tile Council of North America (TCNA) announces the addition of a five-category “product use classification system” in ANSI A326.3 American National Standard Test Method for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction of Hard Surface Flooring Materials, published today. The five categories, developed by the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee responsible for the standard, will allow manufacturers to directly communicate areas of use based on the slip resistance characteristics of their products, with manufacturers starting to provide these classifications for their products in the upcoming months.

“This revision to A326.3, resulting from years of testing, research, and consensus-building, represents perhaps the most significant slip/fall communications advancement in the flooring industry since the 1950’s when standards were proposed to measure the frictional properties of flooring,” said TCNA Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, Bill Griese. “This classification system is a key step forward for better specifications and consumer safety.”

Given its importance and beneficial impact, TCNA has made a free digital copy of the standard available to the public at TCNAtile.com.

The five product use categories are as follows:

  1. Interior, Dry (ID)
  2. Interior, Wet (IW)
  3. Interior, Wet Plus (IW+)
  4. Exterior, Wet (EW)
  5. Oils/Greases (O/G)

According to the standard, hard surface flooring products shall be classified into one or more of the categories. Additionally, the standard provides informative “possible areas of use” for each category.

To assist manufacturers in providing product use classification ratings, the TCNA Product Performance Testing Laboratory has testing options that can help assess a product’s slip resistance properties, including the “German Ramp” test standardized in DIN 51130 and the “British Pendulum” tests standardized in British Standard 7976 and ASTM E303, in addition to the ANSI A326.3 dynamic coefficient of friction test. These tests, potentially used in combination, can assist manufacturers in determining product use classification in conjunction with their internal quality control criteria, manufacturing parameters, and experience with similar surfaces. According to Katelyn Simpson, TCNA Director of Laboratory Services, “The TCNA lab is prioritizing testing needed for product use classification to achieve widespread adoption, communication, and use of this classification system.”

“The product use classifications in ANSI A326.3 are simple, clear, and easily understood. Most importantly, the availability of this product use information in the marketplace will lead to a reduction in slip events,” said TCNA Executive Director, Eric Astrachan.

To order product testing, visit www.TCNAtile.com/lab for lab testing order forms or contact Katelyn Simpson at ksimpson@tcnatile.com to discuss the tests needed for product use classification.