DCOF Testing Mandated in 2014

eric_DCOFThe requirements for coefficient of friction – a measurement of a tile’s frictional resistance, closely related to traction and slipperiness – for ceramic tile have changed. The measurement is now DYNAMIC coefficient of friction (DCOF), which measures COF when in motion, vs. the old testing standard that measured a static COF. Any individual or firm involved in the manufacture, specification, sales, installation, or maintenance of ceramic tile floors must understand the new requirements for tile.

Many manufacturers continue to report COF numbers from the older method (specifically, SCOF values from the ASTM Intl. C1028 test method) along with newly-required COF numbers prescribed by the new ANSI A137.1-2012 standard for ceramic tile, which mandated this change in test methods.

The new test protocol is found in Section 9.6 of the A137.1 standard and is commonly known as the DCOF AcuTestsm.

Starting early in 2014, the old ASTM C1028 method is headed for obsolescence, so many ceramic tile manufacturers will only report their tile’s COF per the DCOF AcuTest.

In addition to the change in test methods, A137.1 now specifies a required DCOF AcuTest value for level interior tiles that will be walked on when wet; the required value is ≥0.42. Previously, there was no required COF value in A137.1 for wet floors, although a minimum SCOF value of 0.6, measured by the ASTM C1028 test method, was commonly specified for ceramic tiles in commercial project specifications. DCOF AcuTest values cannot be compared to old SCOF values due to the use of different wetting agents. For an accurate measure and assurance that the tile meets the minimum 0.42 AcuTest criterion, tile manufacturers MUST use the DCOF AcuTest method.

The technology on which the DCOF AcuTest is based was not available in the United States until recently. The DCOF AcuTest in particular offers several benefits over other methods of measuring COF: it is highly repeatable, it more accurately measures the COF of very smooth surfaces, it correlates well with European measures of COF, and it is portable.

If you haven’t switched yet to specifying/reporting/using/requiring DCOF Acutest values, make the switch today and don’t get left behind when the January 2014 deadline strikes. For more information, visit: TCNAtile.com.