Laminate Flooring AC Rating: What AC Rating Should I Choose

When it comes to choosing laminate flooring, understanding the AC rating is crucial to ensure durability and long-lasting performance. In this article, we will provide an ultimate guide to help you navigate the often confusing world of laminate flooring AC ratings.

The AC rating, or Abrasion Class Rating, is a system that measures the durability of laminate flooring based on various factors, such as resistance to wear, impact, and stains. To make an informed decision for your flooring needs, read on as we delve deeper into each aspect of the AC rating and how it can affect your choice of laminate flooring.

Understanding Laminate Flooring AC Rating

Laminate flooring AC rating is a critical factor to consider when selecting the right flooring for your home or commercial space. The AC rating system helps consumers make informed decisions about the durability and suitability of a particular laminate product.

History and Development

The AC rating system was developed by the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) in the early 1990s to provide a standardized method for measuring the resistance levels of laminate flooring products. This rating system has since been adopted worldwide and has become an industry standard in the flooring market.

AC ratings are designed to determine the durability and wear resistance of laminate flooring products by putting them through a series of rigorous tests, such as abrasion, impact, and staining resistance. The results of these tests are then used to categorize the laminate flooring products into different AC rating categories.

AC Rating Scale

The AC rating scale ranges from AC1 to AC6, with AC1 being the least durable and AC6 being the most durable. Each rating corresponds to a specific level of performance and is suitable for different applications. The AC Rating Scale is as follows:

AC RatingDurabilitySuitable for
AC1LowLight residential use, such as bedrooms or closets
AC2MediumResidential use in areas with moderate traffic, such as living rooms or dining rooms
AC3HighHeavy residential and light commercial use, such as offices or small stores
AC4Very HighCommercial use in areas with high traffic, such as retail stores or restaurants
AC5Extra HighHeavy commercial environments, such as shopping centers or public spaces
AC6ExtremeVery heavy commercial use, such as airports or large shopping centers

When making a decision about laminate flooring, it is essential to consider the product’s AC rating in relation to the intended use of the space. Generally, the higher the AC rating, the more durable the laminate flooring and the greater its resistance to wear and tear.

Factors Affecting AC Rating

In this section, we will discuss the main factors affecting the AC rating of laminate flooring.

Construction and Material Quality

The construction and material quality play a significant role in determining the AC rating of laminate floors. High-quality materials and precise manufacturing processes result in a better-performing and more durable product. These factors are essential to consider:

  • Type of core – High-Density Fibreboard (HDF) or Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF)
  • Quality of resins used in the manufacturing process
  • Presence and quality of a moisture-resistant barrier

Surface Texture and Thickness

The surface texture and thickness of the laminate directly impact the AC rating. Thicker laminate flooring, typically 8mm or more, exhibits increased resistance to wear and tear due to a more robust wear layer. Furthermore, a textured or embossed surface adds more depth, simulating the natural appearance of wood or stone, and offers additional resistance to everyday wear in comparison to smooth surfaces.

Abrasion Resistance

Abrasion resistance is a crucial factor in determining the AC rating of laminate flooring. It is measured using standardized testing methods like the Taber Abrasion Test, which quantifies the material’s ability to withstand abrasions and surface wear. These results help assign the appropriate AC rating:

AC RatingAbrasion Cycles (revolutions)

Selecting the Right AC Rating for Your Needs

Laminate flooring AC rating is an essential factor to consider when choosing the appropriate laminate for your space. It helps you determine the durability and resistance of the flooring to wear, tear, and impact.

Residential Applications

In residential settings, laminate floors typically fall within the AC1 to AC4 range. Here are some recommendations:

  • AC1: Suitable for low-traffic areas like bedrooms or guest rooms.
  • AC2: Recommended for rooms with moderate traffic, such as living rooms or dining rooms.
  • AC3: Ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways, foyers, and kitchens.
  • AC4: A versatile option that can handle heavy traffic and even some commercial spaces.

Commercial Applications

Commercial environments usually require a higher AC rating due to increased foot traffic and potential for wear. Here are the recommended AC ratings for commercial spaces:

  • AC3: Suitable for light commercial use, such as small offices or boutique shops.
  • AC4: Ideal for moderate commercial applications like larger offices or retail environments.
  • AC5: Designed for heavy-duty commercial spaces such as schools, hospitals, or public buildings.

Room Specific Recommendations

It is essential to choose the right AC rating based on the specific room where the flooring will be installed. The table below provides an overview:

Room TypeRecommended AC Rating
BedroomAC1- AC2
Living RoomAC2 – AC3
Kitchen / HallwayAC3 – AC4
Small Office / BoutiqueAC3
Large Office / RetailAC4
Heavy-Duty CommercialAC5

Considering the AC rating while selecting the laminate flooring will ensure it meets your durability needs while providing the desired aesthetics for your space.

Popular Brands and AC Rating Comparison

When researching laminate flooring, it’s essential to compare the AC ratings of popular brands to understand their durability and wear resistance. Here’s a brief comparison of some widely recognized laminate flooring brands and their respective AC ratings:

BrandAC Rating
Shaw FloorsAC3-AC4

AC3: AC3-rated laminate flooring is suitable for moderate residential use, such as living rooms and bedrooms. Brands like Pergo, Shaw Floors, Mohawk, and Armstrong offer laminate flooring options with an AC3 rating.

AC4: The AC4 rating indicates that the laminate flooring is suitable for more demanding residential areas and light commercial use. In addition to residential spaces, it can be installed in small offices, boutiques, and cafes. Brands like Quick-Step, Pergo, Shaw Floors, Mohawk, and Armstrong carry AC4-rated laminate flooring products.

AC5: AC5-rated laminate flooring is designed for heavy commercial use, making it a popular choice for high-traffic areas, such as department stores, shopping centers, and office buildings. Brands like Pergo and Quick-Step provide robust options with an AC5 rating.

When selecting laminate flooring for your home or commercial space, it’s crucial to consider the AC rating based on your specific needs to ensure it withstands wear and tear over time.


Laminate flooring AC rating is a crucial aspect to consider when selecting the right flooring for your needs. Each rating, ranging from AC1 to AC5, serves specific purposes and environments.

For residential areas, AC3 is the most common choice, providing durability and an appealing appearance. In contrast, commercial spaces require higher ratings such as AC4 or AC5 to withstand increased foot traffic.

It’s essential to balance durability, style, and budget when choosing a laminate floor with the appropriate AC rating. By understanding the different ratings and their intended applications, you can make an informed decision for your flooring project.

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