Floors fit for purpose: get to grips with slip ratings
Slip-rated tiles are not all made equal. In fact, some offer much more grip than others. Find out how to choose the right slip rating for your area.
Being swept off your feet takes on a whole new meaning when it comes floor tiles. While they are one of the most attractive design features of your home, they need to be fit for purpose or they could be one of the most hazardous.
For this reason, all floor tiles have to meet certain safety standards, one of which is a slip rating. Although not all tiles are classified according to a slip rating, those designed to provide grip usually are. Having said this, to make matters more complicated, not all countries use the same system to rate tile performance. However, in Ireland and the UK, the predominant reference is R-rating.
What is an R rating?
R stands for ramp test. A standard measured against the German DIN 51130. In this test, a person wearing everyday shoes walks backwards and forwards on an angled floor covered in a sample of a flooring material that has been evenly coated with oil. The angle at which the flooring becomes a slipping danger determines its rating.
The R is followed by a number (9, 10, 11, 12 or 13). If the tile is R-rated, it means it is slip resistant, however, the number indicates just how much slip-resistance the tile has. R9 is least slip resistance while R13 the most. Before you go all out and ask for an R13 tile, one other thing to remember is that the more slip-resistant the tile is, the rougher and more industrial it is. R9 to R11 is usually the preferred choice for residential to light commercial spaces, depending on the use.
Slip Resistant R9 (angled ﬂoor of 3 to 10 degrees)
As the category that exhibits the least slip resistance, the R9 rating generally refers to matt tiles suitable for interior use, hallways, bathrooms and kitchens. Some manufacturers of R9 tiles boldly claim that you can use these R9 tiles outdoors, and in some cases you could. However, approach R9 with caution, remembering that tile manufacturing is mostly done in Mediterranean climates where they are not that familiar with our of rain, frost, ice and snow. So think carefully before putting an R9 tile outside exposed to these elements.
Slip Resistant R10 (angled ﬂoor of 10 to 19 degrees)
These floor tiles are suitable for areas that occasionally get wet. While porcelain versions that meet the R10 criteria can be used as outdoor tiles or in commercial settings, we recommend that in our weather conditions R11 is better suited to outdoor spaces.
Slip Resistant R11 (angled ﬂoor of 19 to 27 degrees)
An R11 floor tile is the minimum rating for outdoor areas that regularly get wet, such as pool decks and patios. Indoors, R11 floor tiles can also be used in bathrooms and kitchens. With many aesthetically pleasing designs available you can create an easy flow from indoor to outdoor areas with R11 tiles.
An R11 rating is the minimum requirement for commercial operations, such as kitchens that prepare up to 100 meals per day.
Slip Resistant R12 (angled ﬂoor of 28 to 35 degrees)
Unglazed floor tiles and some glazed tiles fall into this category. R12-rated tiles work well in areas where spillages happen regularly, such as kitchens and swimming pool areas. You will also find them in public areas, including communal showers and toilets, changing rooms, hotel foyers, shopping centres and airports.
Slip Resistant R13 (angled ﬂoor of 35 degrees and greater)
R13-rated floor tiles are the beast of slip resistance, and are recommended for areas in the home that are consistently wet, namely swimming pools and surrounding areas, spas and saunas. Commercially, they are used in food production facilities (fish processing plants and abattoirs); where animal fats and other waste products on the floor pose a major slip danger.