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Archive through August 17, 2017ken hercenberg08-17-17  09:50 am
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Chris Grimm, CSI, CCS, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: chris_grimm_ccs_scip

Post Number: 557
Registered: 02-2014
Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2022 - 07:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

ANSI A326.3 has been updated to includes use categories for different levels of slip resistance. See https://www.tcnatile.com/industry-issues/dcof.html --> https://www.tcnatile.com/images/pdfs/ANSI_A326.3_2021_February_2022_Locked.pdf

(A while back we were discussing here of the need for such: http://discus.4specs.com/discus/messages/7868/6251.html)

The new recommendations the way I understand them, compared with Daltile's recommendations:

Category:ANSI A326.3-2021(released 2022):Daltile:
Interior, Dry (ID) Minimum 0.42 dry test method0.42 dry
Interior, Wet (IW) Minimum 0.42 wet test method0.42 wet test
Dining Areas(no guidance)0.50 wet test (has disappeared in their latest guide)
Interior, Wet Plus (IW+) Manufacturer-Declared, or minimum 0.50 wet test method in the absence of manufacturer-declared classification0.60 wet test
Exterior, Wet (EW) Manufacturer-Declared, or minimum 0.55 wet test method in the absence of manufacturer-declared classification0.60 wet test
Oils/Greases (O/G) Manufacturer-Declared, or minimum 0.55 wet test method in the absence of manufacturer-declared classification0.60 wet test
Ramps, Stairs/Landings(no guidance)0.65 wet test

Am I getting this right that according to the strangely worded standard, hard surface flooring manufacturers can simply declare their products to be within a category regardless of the actual test values???

And there is still wording that attempts to implicate the specifier if a higher than recommended category or DCOF is not specified. "Regardless of declared product use classification, specifier shall determine materials appropriate for specific project conditions, considering by way of example, but not in limitation, type of use, traffic, expected contaminants, expected maintenance, expected wear, and manufacturers’ guidelines and recommendations."

So basically there is still no definitive guidance. What am I to do, specify an 80-grit sandpaper-like surface on every tile for every project now?

If I go with the new recommendations I see they are noticeably less stringent than Daltile's, which were the only thing we had to go on before (because of ANSI's A137.1-2012 wording in Section, 3rd paragraph that persisted in the new A326.3, and no other manufacturers to my knowledge were willing or able to help us out with detailed guidance). If Daltile products end up being used but this standard is specified, does that mean we are specifying something inferior to what the manufacturer recommends? I see that Daltile's guidance is finally available online now, https://www.daltile.com/why-daltile/industry-standards/dcof-slip-resistance-testing-reading-test-results.

Biggest problem with ANSI's continued implicate-the-specifier wording is the specifier rarely if ever selects the tiles, and will always be overruled by the designers no matter what the performance requirements are in the spec. That wording represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the specifier/architect relationship. It's the interior designer + owner, or in some cases the architect + owner who select the tiles. In the past 10 years trying to explain higher-than-0.42 DCOFs to numerous designers, they nod and walk away from the meeting but I've never heard them say thanks for that info, we're changing this or that in our selections as a result. Frankly I never hear about it so if they show something that doesn't comply with the spec I don't know how that is my fault, I tried my best, and I specified appropriate performance per the standard or better.

Or am I to learn from this standard that specifiers are actually the ones in charge? If so, I could specify some exotic testing standard that has more detailed recommendations, but what is the likelihood of any domestic tiles having that test data available? Probably about zero. But that's what a certain California-based testing agency suggests, not too far down in the search results, and tries to say that just following ANSI is negligent. If that were true, we'd be talking about custom testing for all tiles (and other hard surface floors) nationwide. I'm sure they would love to have a monopoly on all that testing for a while. I don't know if they could handle the volume without creating delays. How is it negligent to follow a national consensus standard? Sounds like scare tactics to drive up their sales.

I would agree that the standard could still be much better. Let's not blame that on the specifier for that though, shall we?

If an improved test method should be used as said testing agency alleges, well it won't get better until the tiling industry actually USES the improved test method AND has pre-categorized products widely available.

Maybe the best bet for now is to specify the new terminology and continue to use Daltile's recommended test values? Although instead of 0.42 as the typical minimum I'll continue to go with 0.50, since I haven't gotten any push-back and have done that plus Daltile's other values for several years now.

Anyone else looking into this, what did you come up with?
Brian E. Trimble, CDT
Senior Member
Username: brian_e_trimble_cdt

Post Number: 131
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Monday, May 02, 2022 - 05:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I thought the current information from the Tile Council of North America was pretty straightforward, but I could be mistaken (https://www.tcnatile.com/industry-issues/dcof.html). Take a look at the first article which is a ppt of a seminar given at Surfaces. Yes, the manufacturer can declare that its products fit within a category, but specifiers can always require the verification via testing (see page 13 of the ppt). If its required to meet a particular test and they don't provide the test results as required by the project specs then it can be rejected. Some specifiers may be OK with taking the manufacturer's word, while others may not. I also think I would go with an industry standard as a basis since that is developed by consensus, not from a particular manufacturer.

And I'll use a parallel to brick for product selection. If a specifier choses ASTM C216, Grade SW and the designer/architect selects an adobe brick because it has a nice color, then the product should be rejected because it doesn't meet the compressive strength and absorption requirements found in C216. Same with tile that may look "shiny", if it doesn't meet the COF requirement it should be rejected. Doesn't that happen a lot with sparkly, shiny products that look nice, but don't meet the property requirements?

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