Recently, I attended a seminar on tile and the speaker was from the Tile Council of North America. While listening to his introduction, I thought, “Oh, no! This could be boring.” But it wasn’t! In fact it was quite enlightening and interesting. Let me share with you what I learned about the “slipperiness” of tile. No floor tile is "slip proof", but it is important to know what tile is the best to use in wet situations. Slippery conditions can be minimized by limiting foot traffic in wet conditions, prompt removal of contaminants (hair conditioners are the worst!), effective drainage, and proper maintenance.
What does "COF" mean? The Tile Council of North America defines coefficient of friction (“COF) as the relative slip resistance of tile. The COF test is a laboratory or field test established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to provide its customers comparable slip resistance values for each of its floor tiles. The measurements disclosed are designed to be one important factor to consider in evaluating slip resistance. Other factors can affect slip resistance, such as the degree of wear on the shoe and flooring material; presence of foreign material, such as water, oil and dirt; the length of the human stride at the time of slip; type of floor finish; and the physical and mental condition of humans.
Outdoor tile typically features non-skid finishes designed for safety when wet, sometimes installed on patios, walkways, or around pools. Unglazed ceramic tiles are very hard and dense. They come in various surface treatments and textures. Unglazed tiles do have good slip resistance, however please note that they do require sealing to help prevent staining. High gloss finishes can be more slippery and scratches can become more visible, while matte or textured finishes help with traction and scratches, and dirt is less visible.
It's important when choosing tile for a floor that you have good information on the COF. It's best to work with a knowledgeable professional such as Traditions in Tile to help you select the best tile for your space.
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