12 Nov 2014

Slip Resistance Explained: R Ratings

Often floor tiles are required in areas where safety is paramount. In such cases the “R rating” (oil-wet inclining platform method) of a tile provides useful information for architects and designers in order to improve safety and minimise the risk of people slipping and as a result sustaining an injury.

When are R ratings relevant?

R ratings are commonly considered when choosing tiles for commercial spaces such as warehouses and industrial buildings, but also for office buildings, swimming pools and pedestrian areas. Ramp slip resistance testing is one of the oldest and most established slippage testing methods. Other methods include wet pendulum testing, dry floor friction testing and wet barefoot inclining platform testing.

What does the “ramp” mean?

Ramp testing methods for tiles are thus named simply because of the testing technique, not because the surface may or may not be used as a ramp. The tiled surface is applied to an inclining ramp while an operator traverses up and down the surface. The angle at which the operator slips determines the slip resistance rating.

Types of ramp testing

There are two ramp testing types:

  1. Wet/Barefoot Ramp Test Method. The wet/barefoot ramp method is carried out by two test persons to determine the angle of inclination at which a slip occurs under barefoot conditions. This method is most useful for rating tiles to be used around swimming pools, showers, wash rooms and change rooms.
  2. Oil-Wet Ramp Test Method. The oil-wet ramp method is carried out by two test persons, wearing standardised test shoes, to determine the angle of inclination at which a slip occurs when the test surface has been coated with engine lubricating oil. This method is particularly useful for gratings, heavily profiled surfaces and resilient surfaces in workplaces, or where the floors have been designed to provide drainage or capture of contaminant materials.

National Tiles stocks a range of R rating tiles from R9 to R13. If you are planning a tiling project where slippage risk is a factor, ask your commercial representative for expert advice on what tiles will suit your floor area.

Note: R ratings information provided by ATTAR (Advanced Technology Testing and Research).