Measuring the Slip Resistance of a Nonslip Floor

How do I know how much grip my business' nonslip floor needs?

When choosing vitrified flooring for your business, a key concern is the safety of the people who will be walking on it.

“Nonslip flooring” is flooring with a raised texture to provide a level of slip resistance. The smoother the floor, the more slippery it will be.

Your first thought might be, “I don’t want anyone slipping on my floor; give me the most nonslip floor you’ve got!” If so, then hold your horses. Your dedication to safety is admirable, but you need one more piece of information: the rougher your floor, the harder it is to clean.

All vitrified tile floors are relatively easy cleaning; the smooth nature of ceramic allows soil to slide off it. But the bumpy texture of a nonslip floor means there are tiny nooks and crannies on the surface where dirt can settle, and it will take more scrubbing to get that dirt out.

The sweet spot is a floor that provides just enough slip resistance to keep people safe without being so coarse it becomes difficult to clean. This is true no matter what flooring material you use.

The amount of slip resistance you need depends on what is happening on your floor. The floor in a wet or oily environment like a car wash or brewery needs more grip than the floor in a dry environment like a bakery.

Measuring the R value

The slip resistance of Argelith Ceramic Tiles is measured according to standards set by DIN, the German Institute for Standardization. DIN sets norms and standards for quality assurance, environmental protection, safety, and communication in industry, technology, science, and government.

DIN measures the slip resistance of flooring intended for working environments using R values. To determine an R value, from R9 to R13, DIN puts a section of the installed flooring on a machine that starts level, then gradually tilts the floor on a downhill slope. A tester wearing a specific type of nonslip footwear walks back and forth on the floor. Making things more interesting and truer to life, a light coating of motor oil is brushed over the flooring surface and on the soles of the tester’s shoes to simulate an oily environment.

When the person begins to slip, the angle of tilt is recorded. This test is repeated multiple times and by multiple testers, and the results plugged into a formula that determines the slip resistance of that particular surface.

  • R9: Slip resistant at a slope of 6 to 10 degrees
  • R10: Slip resistant at a slope up to 19 degrees
  • R11: Slip resistant at a slope up to 27 degrees
  • R12: Slip resistant at a slope up to 35 degrees
  • R13: Slip resistant at a slope greater than 35 degrees

R10 and R11, shown in the image below, are the most common surfaces, appropriate for most industries.

The most common nonslip surfaces for industrial floors are R10 and R11

V Profiles for extra security

Sometimes, even a slip resistance of R12 or R13 isn’t enough. Flooring in those areas typically includes a raised pattern of dots or stars in addition to the bumpy texture of the vitrified tile. Argelith refers to these nonslip tiles as “napped” tiles. Napped tiles have both an R value – measuring the smoothness of the ceramic surface – and a V value that measures the depth of the space between the dots or stars. V values are measured from V4 to V8, with V4 being the lowest raised pattern and V10 the highest. Here is an example of a tile with an R13 V10 surface, what Argelith calls a security tile.

R13 V10 is a security tile surface for nonslip flooring

Which surface should I choose?

All Argelith Ceramic Tiles are available in multiple levels of slip resistance. Your account manager is a valuable resource in reviewing the needs of your facility and recommending the R value that will best serve your needs.

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