The anti-slip efficiency of tiles can be certified and tested through several different methods. In Singapore, the most commonly used and recognised method to test the degree of anti-slipperiness of a tile would be the Oil Wet Ramp Test. Later on in this post, we will be explaining how the test is conducted, a test that is recognised by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore.
How Are Tiles Categorised Based on its Anti-Slip Capabilities?
There are 6 categories to determine this:
1.) Polished – There is no anti-slip rating for polished tiles. Polished and Glossy tiles should not be used for areas that are prone to being wet. Areas that are frequented by individuals who experience difficulty in balance and walking (such as the elderly) should also not be tiled by such tiles.
2.) R9 – This rating indicates that the tile has a matte and smooth surface that has low static friction between the surface of the tile and the soles of ones shoes. It should only be considered for dry areas. R9 tiles are generally easier to maintain and clean due to its smooth surface.
Although slip injuries are more likely to occur on a Polished or R9 surface, some home owners and even hotels may opt to use Polished Marble or R9 Porcelain tiles for their floors. While this may be against the recommendation, the owner may choose Polished Marble not only because of the grand and rich effect it can produce, but because they can be certain that the area will be frequently maintained and kept dry by cleaners.
3.) R10 – A tile with an R10 surface has normal static friction between the tiles surface and the base of a shoe. R10 tiles are often easy to clean while still possessing decent anti-slip properties.
An R10 rating may be further classified into 3 categories. This further classification provides a recommendation on the slip resistance of the tile when it is walked on by bare feet:
R10 A: Matte and smooth. Also known as a low R10. Such areas should not be too wet when in contact with bare feet.
R10 A+B: Matte with a slight texture on the tiles. Such areas may be slightly wet when walked on with or without footwear.
R10 A+B+C: Grooves of the texture of the tile may be felt. Also known as a high R10 nearing an R11.
That being said, an R10 A surface would be sufficient for commercial and residential toilets.
4.) R11 – A tile with such a surface has increased static friction between the surface of the tile and the sole of the shoe. An R11 surface is significantly rough and not popular among Singaporeans because of the fear of difficult maintenance. An R11 surface is however necessary for areas such as ramps that are prone to being wet.
The A, A+B, and A+B+C sub categories also apply to an R11 rating, but may usually be ignored for residential or commercial use.
In a home, R11 tiles are more commonly used in the car porch where there will be minimal exposure to the bare feet.
5.) R12 and R13 – Such anti-slip ratings are extremely unpopular in our local market.
Where to Use Which Tile in My New Home?
Car Porch Floor – R10 or R11.
Living and Dining Room Floors – Polished or R9.
Dry Kitchen Floors: R9.
Wet Kitchen Floors: R10. R11 avoided for easier cleaning.
Bedroom Floors – R9. A Polished surface may be too cold to step on with the presence of air-conditioning.
Toilet Floors: R10.
Backyard: R10 or R11.
How Do Factories Achieve These R Ratings and How Should it Affect my Decision?
Most European factories have improved their anti-slip technologies in such a way whereby they can produce a matte and smooth surface that is easy to clean, but still possess a significant slip resistance when in contact with water.
Some tiles that require complicated and detailed printing, such as timbre look tiles, are difficult to be produced on an originally rough surface. Therefore, some factories introduce a material called Carborundum (Silicon Carbide) on the surface of the tile. This results in the tiles surface having a rough powdery feel. While the advantage of this technology is that the beauty of the tile is not affected during the process in making it slip resistant, the disadvantage of using this technology is that the powdery surface may wear out after one to to decades if exposed to large amounts of heavy traffic.
How Does the Oil Wet Ramp Test Work?
Two personnel will walk forward and backward on a platform. As they are walking, the gradient of the ramp will be increased gradually until the testing personnel slips. The degree of elevation of the ramp is recorded and the testing personnel has to walk the ramp again at the very same recorded degree to confirm that there is a slip. The recorded degree is then used to determent the R rating of the tiles surface.
R9 – 6 to 9 degrees
R10 – 10 to 18 degrees
R11 – 19 to 26 degrees
R12 – 27 to 34 degrees
R13 – 35 degrees and above