Swiss Krono is a member the North American Laminate Floor Association (NALFA). This cooperative effort was formed to develop industry standards and provide consumers a means of identifying the usage level of various laminate-flooring products.
The common term used to denote the durability level of laminate flooring is its “AC” rating. AC ratings are an abbreviated representation of a laminate’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains and cigarette burns. The ratings also indicate that the product has been tested for the effects of furniture legs, castors and swelling along its edges. If a laminate-flooring product has a rating, then it has passed all of the test criteria. Failing just one test disqualifies a product.
Rating levels are designated AC1 through AC5. Each is represented by international icon reflecting the product’s application and durability. The primary application is divided into two groups: residential and commercial. Each group is further divided into traffic intensity levels: moderate, general or heavy.
The residential rating is designated by an icon of a house and the commercial rating by a building. To the right of those, corresponding to the traffic-intensity levels, are one, two, or three people. Below these icons is a numerical representation of the same information: The first number indicates the primary application: 2 = residential, 3 = commercial; the second number indicates the traffic-intensity level: 1 = moderate, 2 = general, 3 = heavy.
The following is a breakdown of the AC ratings, their associated symbols and some suitable uses: Icon/Residential House, 1 person AC 1 Residential, moderate traffic: Suitable for bedrooms or guest rooms Icon/Residential House, 2 people AC 2 Residential, general traffic: Suitable for living rooms or dining rooms Icon/Residential House, 3 people AC 3 Residential, heavy traffic: Suitable for all areas Icon/Commercial Building, 1 person AC 3 Commercial, moderate traffic: Hotel rooms, small office Icon/Commercial Building, 2 people AC 4 Commercial, general traffic: Office, boutique, café Icon/ Commercial Building, 3 people AC 5 Commercial, heavy traffic: Public buildings, department stores. Note that products with an AC3 rating can be used for all residential applications as well as moderate commercial applications. Of course, AC4 and AC5 rated products could also be used in all residential areas.