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Don't slip up when it comes to choosing non-slip floor tiles

On the face of it buying kitchen or bathroom floor tiles which are labelled as 'non-slip' or 'anti-slip' would seem to be a black and white matter. Quite reasonably customers and even some retail outlets take this at face value - non slip means non-slip, right?

Shockingly the answer is actually dependant on the method used to test a floor tiles slip resistance properties - and this can vary greatly on a number of factors. 

In many instances the non-slip rating of floor tiles is determined by the 'Ramp method' of testing. This provides an R rating from 1 to 13, with a tile being able to be labelled as 'non-slip' providing it can achieve a rating of R11 or higher. The actual ramp testing is quite simple:  the tester, wearing either standardised footwear or barefoot, walks on the surface to be tested as the inclination of the test surface is increased - just like walking up a ramp of increasing steepness. When traction is about to be lost or they actually start to slip the angle which the ramp is at determines the R rating of the tiles being tested.

There are two main problems with this method for testing slip resistance of tiles

Firstly, the tiles will be awarded different R ratings depending on whether they are dry or wet/contaminated. A non-slip floor tile may actually only be 'anti-slip' when dry - failing to achieve the minimum rating of R11 when water or grease is applied. Needless to say, this makes a very serious difference to the safety factor of a bathroom or kitchen 'non-slip' floor tile - where it is often the case that the tiles themselves may well be wet or have cooking residue on them.

Secondly, the R-ratings themselves are quote broad and due to variations in manufacture the non-slip properties of tiles may vary between batches.

The pendulum slip resistance test

A far more reliable method of testing the slip resistance of floor tiles is the pendulum slip test which provides ratings for slip resistance on a scale between 1 and 100. This mechanism utilises rubber pads to replicate a shoe or foot coming into contact with the non-slip floor tile, measuring much more accurately the surface friction between them. Based on this result a Coefficient of Friction (CoF) figure is produced which can be compared to the UK Heath and Safety Executive's (HSE) guideline values for non-slip floors.

In these tests the HSE recommends a minimum score of 36 or more for floor coverings to be used in public places in both wet and dry conditions. A tile rated R11 has an equivalent PTV range of 34-51, meaning that a tile rated as non-slip when tested using the ramp test method could actually fail to meet the HSE minimum PTV guideline of 36.

To Porcel-Thin the difference this can make is vital - that's why we only use the pendulum slip resistance test when determining the non-slip properties of our ultra-thin porcelain tiles. What's more, we not only test tile ranges but also individual batches of non-slip tiles - to ensure that the HSE approved PTV rating is correct for every batch you buy. To us the difference this can make in the safety of our customers and the trust they have in our products is paramount.

PTV floor tile testing service for contract and interior design professionals

As one of the leading innovators of tile manufacture in the UK Porcel-Thin also offer PTV testing for any type of tile to architects, specifiers, interior designers and construction industry professionals to assist them with determining the accurate anti-slip properties of their floor tiles.

For more information see our floor tile slip resistance testing service page or contact us.

Concrete effect nonslip porcelain floor tiles in a wetroom
Porcel-Thin Pendulum Slip Resistance testing machine for floor tiles
Porcel-Thin Pendulum Slip Resistance testing machine replicates the heal striking at tiled floor to measure the grip provided
Porcel-Thin Ramp test to Rendulum PTV tile slip test resistance value comparison chart