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FAQs - Product Data/Standards

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What U.S specifications apply to resilient flooring?
ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) has developed consensus standards for resilient floor covering materials. ASTM committee membership includes, but is not limited to: manufacturers, consultants, government representatives, architects, end-users, and academia.

In the past, the U.S. Government had written standards covering resilient flooring, referred to as Federal Standards. These included Federal Standards LF-475A, Floor Covering: Vinyl Surface with Backing, LF-1641, Floor Covering: Translucent or Transparent Vinyl Surface with Backing, and SST-312B, Tile Flooring: Asphalt, Rubber, Vinyl and Vinyl Composition. The federal government is moving towards the use of independent consensus standards (like those produced by ASTM). Thus, the federal standards mentioned above are no longer reviewed or updated. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 deemed that "Federal Agencies and departments shall use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies or departments." (Ref.: Public Law 104-113, March 7, 1996, Sec. 12. Standards Conformity; (d.) Utilization of Consensus Standards by Federal Agencies; Reports; (1) In General.)
 
What standards outside the U.S. does Armstrong Commercial flooring meet?
Globally there are many other consensus organizations developing standards. These include, but are not limited to: Standards Association of Australia/New Zealand, British Standards Institution, Japanese Standards Association, European Committee for Standardization, Deutsches Institute fur Normung. Armstrong tests their commercial flooring materials to meet standards of the respective countries in which these materials are sold.. Please consult the Armstrong sales representative or sales office in the country of interest for details on applicable specifications.
 
What is Coefficient of Friction (COF)?
Coefficient of Friction is a common unit of measurement used to characterize the slip retardance of a surface. The COF of two surfaces is the ratio of the horizontal (or lateral) and vertical (or normal) forces required to move one surface over another surface to the total force pressing the two surfaces together.

The most common apparatus for evaluating surface materials is the James Machine (referred to in ASTM D 2047), used to measure polish-coated surfaces. It is a popular test method, but not mobile for on-site testing. The reproducibility of the instrument makes it valid only for testing dry, smooth, polish-coated surfaces. The James Machine is referred to as a time-delayed device because after a weight is applied through a strut (typically with a leather sensor) and placed on a flooring sample -- the sample and the sensor are moved horizontally until the sensor slips on the sample. Several new testing apparatus are being developed that apply the weight and the angle of slip at the same time. For that reason, these newer types of devices are referred to as simultaneous testing devices.
 
How do resilient floors affect sound transmission? Armstrong Technical Bulletin on Acoustics
Transmitted impact-noise specifications for floor/ceiling assemblies are generally written in terms of Impact Insulation Class (IIC), ASTM E 492, which measures impact sound transmission through floor/ceiling assemblies via a tapping machine. Armstrong believes that the relative merits of floor/ceiling systems are not always properly reflected by the IIC ratings.

Resilient flooring products will not subdue reverberant noises originating from such sources as typewriters, telephones and conversation. Resilient floors, as with other flooring materials, will have little effect on airborne sound transmission between contiguous rooms. Therefore, flooring materials do not significantly reduce the Sound Transmission Class (STC), which is a rating of airborne sound transmission loss of the floor/ceiling assembly or the partitions.
 
What resilient flooring is appropriate for use in cleanrooms?
Federal Standard 209E applies to cleanrooms. Cleanliness classes in cleanrooms are based solely on the particles per cubic foot of air. The classes, from most clean to least clean, are: Class 1, Class 10, Class 100, Class 1,000, Class 10,000, Class 100,000.

Specific interior surface finishes are not referred to in the standard, only the amount of particulates in the air. The particle count levels depend on type and amount of air flow. The use of vertical laminar flow systems allows for the use of most vinyl flooring materials. The use of horizontal laminar flow systems limits the use of some flooring materials.

Armstrong recommends the installation of MEDINTECH®, MEDINTECH® Tandem, and TRANSLATIONSä, with heat-welded seams, in clean rooms of Class 100 and below. In clean rooms of Class 1,000 and above, Armstrong recommends the use of the following sheet flooring - MEDINTECH, MEDINTECH Tandem, TRANSLATIONS, or POSSIBILITIES®, with heat-welded seams.
 
Does Armstrong provide any continuing education programs?
Armstrong, in conjunction with the AIA, ASID, IIDA, and IDC of Canada, provides 1-, 2-, and 3-hour programs for AIA/CES registered credits. These seminars, entitled "Specifying the Right Resilient Floor for Your Project," can be provided by your Armstrong Commercial Flooring Sales Representive.

Armstrong also provides flooring installation training throughout the United States and Canada. Contact your local Distributor for schedules.
 
Are there flammability or smoke generation requirements for floors in commercial buildings?
Resilient floor coverings are usually exempt from model building code flammability requirements. However, some building code officials, government agencies and other regulatory authorities require test information on the fire performance of resilient flooring. The most widely used test for flammability is based on the the Floor Radiant Panel Test. The current editions of B.O.C.A., Standard Building Code and the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code reference the Flooring Radiant Panel Test.

NOTE: Numerical flammability ratings alone may not define the performance of the products under actual fire conditions. These ratings are provided only for use in the selection of products to meet specified limits.
 
What is the E 84 tunnel test and how does it apply to flooring?
The E 84 Tunnel Test has been retired many years ago as a floor covering flammability test. However, it continues to be the most widely used surface flame spread test for wall and ceiling finishes. It was never designed to be a floor covering test and was only adopted for floors as an interim test method. THERE ARE NO CORRELATIONS BETWEEN E-84 DATA AND FLOORING RADIANT PANEL DATA, i.e. a Class A in the E 84 Tunnel Test does not imply a Class I rating in the ASTM E 648, or vice versa.
 
What is ASTM E 648, Standard Test Method for Critical Radiant Flux of Floor-Covering Systems Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source (Flooring Radiant Panel Test)?
In this test, a horizontally mounted floor covering system is exposed to radiant energy from a gas/air fuel radiant panel mounted above one end of the sample and inclined at a 30 degree angle. The radiant panel generates a heat profile along the length of the sample. A gas-fired pilot burner is used to ignite the sample, and the distance the floor covering system burns to extinguishment is converted to watts per square centimeter (watts/cm2). This value is reported as the Critical Radiant Flux (CRF) and is the minimum radiant energy needed to sustain flame propagation in the test. A CRF of 0.45 watts/cm2 or more, Class I rating, may be requested for floor finish materials installed in corridors and exits of certain buildings, such as health care facilities.
 
What is ASTM E 662, Standard Test Method for Specific Optical Density of Smoke Generated by Solid Materials (Smoke Obscuration Test)?
Smoke obscuration is measured in the Smoke Density Chamber. Inside this chamber, a specimen is exposed to either radiant heat (non-flaming condition) or radiant heat in combination with a pilot flame (flaming condition). The result is expressed as a maximum Specific Optical Density, as determined by the amount and density of the smoke emitted from the specimen.
 
How do resilient floors affect the impact-sound generated?
The sounds of floor traffic and dropped objects are important when considering types of flooring materials. The cushioning of impacts reduces the generation of airborne sound within the room and the level of sound that can be transmitted to adjacent areas. It also minimizes the transmission of impact-generated, structure-borne noises throughout the building. In multifamily dwellings the transmission of impact-generated noise is of primary concern. Resilient flooring, in general, "gives" under the impact of footsteps, dropped objects and rolling loads. The resilience helps to reduce traffic noise. In comparison with other hard-surfaced flooring (wood, marble, ceramic, concrete, metal), resilient floors are low noise producers. 

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