The feature that makes tiles so convenient to clean also makes tile floors extremely slippery. Extra tile glazing and wet conditions can make it even worse. Luckily, there is a way to know how ceramic or porcelain tiles will perform under different conditions which can avoid dangerous slips even before you purchase the tiles. The coefficient of friction (COF) and the dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) slip ratings can tell you how slippery a tile will be in a variety of conditions. Some of the biggest tile manufacturers in the country, such as DalTile and Emser Title, recommend the DCOF AcuTest® to test the level of friction there is on wet floors when walked upon. DCOF is increasing popularity for slip resistance of floors and vs static coefficient of friction (SCOF) test which determined the friction measured when both surfaces are static.
Putting safety first with DCOF testing
The results of DCOF testing help tile manufacturers to determine the probability of whether a tile could contribute to someone slipping or falling. By knowing the DCOF of the tiles, one can determine with mathematical and scientific certainty which tiles are safer. DalTile also recommends that customers have tiles independently tested to determine if their products meet the requirements prior to product selection.
How does DCOF testing work?
The DCOF AcuTest® can be done using a BOT-3000E, an automated and portable device. The BOT 3000E measures different parameters, including frictional forces, coefficient of friction and the effects of lubrication. The test is done under wet conditions using a mixture of slightly soapy water, that is, water with 0.05% Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in solution. SLS is a wetting agent that allows water to cover the surface in a thin layer. This represents the ideal condition for a slip to occur.
DalTile’s recommended DCOF ratings
DalTile recommends the following guidelines:
- Level areas that are likely to be walked on when wet, including lobbies, supermarkets and toilet facilities: ≥ 0.42
- Wet areas where light or no footwear is used, including pool decks, steam rooms and showers: ≥ 0.60
- Areas that could be exposed to water, where footwear is typically used, including walkways or patio areas: ≥ 0.60
- Areas that could be exposed to oils, greases or fats, including automotive warehouses, garages, catering areas, areas involving deep-fry and grill equipment and other food preparation areas: ≥ 0.60
- Inclined areas or ramps, including stairs, wheelchair ramps or loading bays: ≥ 0.65
Will a high DCOF rating guarantee that my floors are completely slip-proof?
DalTile, TCNA and Emser Title all agree that DCOF ratings are only meant to identify what is considered slip resistant, but the results are not meant to classify floors as slip proof. A benchmark of ≥.42 was set to identify which tiles can be considered in wet areas.
Can the DCOF rating of floors change over time?
Yes. The DCOF rating for tiles can fluctuate over time as the result of wear. DalTile recommends regular and proper maintenance to avoid extreme changes. Improper maintenance can result in a build-up on the surface of the tile causing the tile to be slippery.
If you have concerns regarding traction, consider testing the surface with a slip meter to determine the traction in those slippery area.
SlipDoctors offers both COF and DCOF testing solutions recommended by tile manufacturers for buyers wanting to test their tiles to monitor the slip-resistance levels. Regular testing and accurate record-keeping offer a smart slip-and-fall prevention strategy and also ensure that you comply with best practices of the OSHA regulations and the ANSI standards.