Regarding the resistance and hardness of laminate floors, there is usually a lot of confusion. It is mainly due to the fact that several scales are used in this type of soil to measure different parameters and there is confusion about what each one measures.

On the one hand, we have the AC Scale, which ranges from AC1 to AC6 and measures abrasion resistance. That is, friction or wear of the surface layer. AC6 is the most resistant floor.

We also find the classification by usage classes. In order to give a specific classification to a floor, different aspects are measured, not only abrasion resistance, but also impact, stability, etc. Depending on the result, a class is assigned:

  • Class 21: Domestic – moderate
  • Class 22: Domestic – normal
  • Class 23: Domestic – intensive
  • Class 31: Commercial – moderate
  • Class 32: Commercial – normal
  • Class 33: Commercial intensive

Impact resistance or hardness of laminate floors

These are two of the criteria normally used to assess the suitability or quality of a laminate floor. And if they look, they do not make a direct reference to hardness or resistance to shocks and impacts.

This is a problem that often goes unnoticed. I think it is due to the usual confusion of believing that the hardness is given by the AC scale, and that buying a floor with an AC5 or AC6 rating will be shockproof. But it’s not like that.

How is wood hardness measured?

When analyzing the hardness of a material, one of the most common tests is to measure the force required to embed an object inside that material. For example, within the world of wood, one of the most used methods to measure the hardness of a given species is the Janka Scale.

This classifies the wood according to the strength needed to embed a steel ball of specific weight and measures up to half the diameter. The more strength required, the greater the hardness of the wood.

How are laminate floors classified according to their hardness?

Applying these principles to laminate floors, the IC classification. There are basically three values: IC1, IC2 and IC3. The one with the highest number is the one that offers the greatest hardness and resistance to shocks and impacts.

Classification by class of use does not take these values ​​into account. But they are completely independent of the AC rating.

Therefore, we can buy an AC5 or AC6 floor with low impact resistance.

According to the classes of use:

  • For heavy commercial use, class 33, it must have an IC3 hardness.
  • For normal commercial use, class 32, it must have an IC2 hardness.
  • For moderate domestic and commercial uses, in the other classes, the hardness will be the lowest, that of IC1.

What do hardness rating values ​​depend on?

The answer is quite obvious, from used board density. The denser the plaque, the more difficult it is. Therefore, the recommendation will always be that at least hdf boards (high density fiber boards or high density fiber boards) are used. These have a density of approximately 800-1000 kg / m³. If it were of lower density, mdf (average density) the values ​​would be between 500-600 kg / m³, and therefore we would be facing a low or inferior quality soil.

To give you an idea, the oak has a density of approximately 700-770 kg / m³. For calculating the hardness of wood, density is not the only issue to be taken into account, there are more variables. In the case of fiber panels, as this is a much more standardized industrial product, this relationship is more important.

This is not the only notable benefit over using a high density board or hdf. Improves the strength of the anchoring system, more stable, less water absorption, etc.