European requirements for PVC flooring with enhanced slip resistance
Examining the implications of the EN 13845:2017 standard.
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Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common causes of injury within the workplace. In areas accessible to the public and members of staff, it is important to install appropriate safety flooring where there is a risk of spillage, a high probability of the surface being wet, or to protect against some other slip hazard. Such safety flooring should demonstrate ‘sustained slip resistance’, to protect against slips for the lifetime of the flooring.
One method of increasing and sustaining the slip resistance of a floor covering is by adding various coarse particles (or particulates) throughout the wear layer. Such even distribution can help to ensure that for the lifetime of the flooring, it can continue to deliver the same level of slip resistance.
The European Union’s demands for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flooring with particle-based enhanced slip resistance are covered for the most part by EN 13845:2017, which supersedes the previous version of this standard (EN 13845:2005). These products must also comply with the Construction Products Regulation EU 305/2011 and the associated harmonised standard, which in this case is EN 14041. Additional information is available in the SATRA Spotlight article ‘Floor coverings and the Construction Products Regulation’.
EN 13845 aims to ensure the quality of these flooring products, and therefore includes general requirements for various characteristics of the floor covering – including slip resistance and residual indentation (see table 1). The standard also covers requirements for labelling of the floor covering. It also outlines a classification system based on the intensity of use, and so shows where the floor covering should give satisfactory service.
The classification requirements for level of use (shown in table 2) sets out the minimum requirements for products under each class. Therefore, any of this type of flooring which meets the requirements of a certain class should provide a satisfactory service to the level of use specified.
Testing the product
EN 13845 uses the classification system from EN ISO 10874 – ‘Resilient and textile floor coverings – Classification’. This highlights the levels of use in which resilient floor coverings should give satisfactory service. These classifications are based on the nominal minimum overall thickness, as well as three ‘lifetime-based’ tests. Firstly, EN 13845 Annex D assesses the effect of abrasive wearing of the floor covering. This test involves counting the number of particulates visible on the surface of the product, both before and at various numbers of cycles of testing. During this assessment, the surface is worn by a combination of leather wheels and an abrasive grit on a rotating platform. The requirements for this test are based on the number of cycles the flooring product can withstand without losing more than 10 per cent of the particles counted before testing. Such a result would suggest that the flooring would still demonstrate a good slip resistance over the duration of its use.
Secondly, the ‘castor chair’ test required for level of use classification represents the effect of a chair and/or other objects on castor wheels rolling over the flooring product. To gain a ‘class 32’ rating or above, the floor covering when tested must show no damage to the surface (other than slight change due to a flatter appearance), and no delamination.
Finally, the ‘seam strength’ test, which is required for classes above class 31, assesses the strength of the product when a joint is welded together to form a seam (in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions). The tested specimen is clamped between two pneumatic jaws, which are pulled apart at a rate of 100mm/min, and the maximum load on the product is measured. To gain a class 31 rating and above, the product must demonstrate an average seam strength of ≥ 240N per 50mm, with a minimum individual seam strength of 180N per 50mm.
If, for example, a product i) meets the general requirements described in table 1, ii) has a nominal thickness of 2.2mm, iii) shows no disturbance to the surface and no delamination when tested with the castor chair test, iv) demonstrates an average seam strength of 250N per 50mm, and a minimum seam strength of 210N per 50mm, and v) loses 9 per cent of its particulates when tested to EN 13845 Annex D for 50,000 cycles, it can be classified as ‘Class 34/43’. This represents suitability for use in very heavy commercial and heavy industrial areas.
Where relevant testing is carried out against EN 13845:2017, the results of testing and the classification are often used by flooring manufacturers to help with the promotion of their products. Consumers can then purchase flooring that is deemed suitable for their required end use.
|Table 1: General requirements for PVC floor coverings with particle-based enhanced slip resistance|
|Products in roll form:
|Not less than the nominal values||EN ISO 24341|
|Products in tile form:
Deviation ≤ 0.13 per cent of nominal length, up to 0.5mm maximum
EN ISO 24342
|Squareness and straightness for side length of
> 400mm (intended for welding)
|Deviation allowed at any point
|Total mass per unit area (g/m2) – average||Maximum deviation from nominal value of +13 per cent or -10 per cent||EN ISO 23997|
|Overall thickness – average value when tested
Individual values when tested
|Between +0.13mm and -0.10mm of the nominal value
Average value ± 0.15mm
|EN ISO 24346|
Class ESf (footwear):
Class ESb (barefoot):
≥ 20º (ramp test)
≥ 36 (pendulum friction test)
≥ 15º (ramp test)
≥ 36 (pendulum friction test)
EN 13845 Annex C
16165:2016 Annex C (pendulum friction test)
|Residual indentation – average||≤ 0.1mm||EN ISO 24343-1|
|Dimensional stability (per cent)
Sheets and tiles (intended for welding)
Tiles (intended for dry-joint laying)
|Variation in each direction
≤ 0.4 per cent
≤ 0.25 per cent
|EN ISO 23999|
Sheets and tiles to be bonded
Sheets and tiles to be un-bonded
(see footnote a)
|EN ISO 23999|
|Flexibility||Test using a 20mm mandrel||EN ISO 24344 Method A|
|Colour fastness to artificial light||6 minimum||EN ISO 105-B02, Method 3 (footnote b)|
|a The test need not be carried out for fully bonded and welded materials. If supplied in tile form and dry-joint laid, the material shall meet the requirement (2mm).
b Expose a full size test specimen. Store a further test specimen in the dark, which will constitute the reference standard for assessment of change in colour.
|Table 2: Classification requirements for level of use|
|Class||Level of use||Minimum overall thickness (see a) Nominal value
EN ISO 24346
|Effect of wear resistance (see b,c)
EN 13845 Annex D
|Effect of a castor chair
N per 50mm
|21||Domestic moderate/light||1.0||20,000 cycles||No requirement||No requirement|
|31||Commercial moderate||1.5||20,000 cycles||No requirement||When welded in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
Average value after testing:
Individual test result: ≥ 180
|32||Commercial general||2.0||30,000 cycles||If tested for verification, no disturbance to the surface other than slight change due to flatter appearance and no delamination shall occur|
|Commercial very heavy
|a The average value shall be the nominal value +0.13/-0.10mm. No individual value shall vary more than ± 0.15mm from the average value.
b After testing to the required number of cycles, the reduction in identifiable particles should be ≤ 10 per cent.
c Floor coverings for barefoot use need not be tested, and are automatically awarded a ‘21/31’ classification.
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