Tiles lend a beautiful touch to any space. But tiles are much more than their aesthetic appearance – they play an important part in keeping you and your family safe in areas that may have a risk of slipping.

Not all tiles are made the same – and they also have different textures and finishes. If you touch the surface of various tiles, you can see just how different they feel. While some are smooth, others have a light textured feel or offer a bit more resistance. Remember, how a tile feels to the touch is not an indication of its slip resistance. 

Generally, a tile with slip resistance has a textured finish surface. The slip resistance of a tile is measured by a slip rating, which makes it easy to determine whether the tile is suitable for different indoor areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, or outdoor areas such as a patio or around a pool.

Slip ratings for tiles are designed to simplify the process of assessing a tile’s suitability for various interior and exterior applications.

What is a slip rating?

A slip rating is a test of a tile surface and its slip resistance. These ratings have been developed according to Australian Standards and help with the selection of tiles for installations where safety is a priority.

For residential buildings, the Australian Building Code and Australian Standards only mandate slip-rated flooring for stair nosings, stair landings and ramps.

Slip ratings are mainly a concern when using a tile in a commercial application such as shopping centres, warehouses, industrial buildings and similar spaces. In these settings, factors such as pedestrian stride and pace along with any contamination of the tile surface by water, oil, or foreign substances are common reasons for falls.

Our Hot Tip: Download our Handy Things To Know About Tiles for quick reference.

Why is a slip rating important?

A slip rating helps to easily determine whether a tile is suitable for its intended application. 

There are three common slip resistance tests in Australia:

  • Pendulum test, which gives a result between P0-P5. 
  • Oil-Wet Ramp test, which gives a result between R9-R13.
  • Barefoot Wet Ramp test, which gives an A, B or C result.

For residential applications (such as your home), we mainly use a pendulum test. 

Oil-Wet Ramp and Barefoot Wet Ramp are common tests for commercial applications. 

Our Hot Tip: Choose an appropriate slip resistance for your project, keeping in mind that the higher the level of slip resistance, the more effort you’ll need to put in for cleaning.

What is a Pendulum Test?

A Pendulum Test mimics a standard shoe sole striking a wet tile. The test measures the frictional resistance between a wet tile and a foot-shaped mass with a rubber slider that is mounted on a pendulum arm.

In this test, the higher the number, the lower the risk of slipping.

A tile with a rating between P0-P3 is generally considered suitable for indoor flooring while a P4 or P5 has a lower slip risk and can be used outside or around a pool.

Pendulum Test

What is an Oil-Wet Ramp Test?

An Oil-Wet Ramp Test involves laying the tiles on a ramp and applying lubricating oil to their surface. Testers walk on the inclined tiles to determine the angle at which they become unsafe.

This angle is used to determine the degree of slip resistance. 

Oil Wet Ramp Test

What is a Barefoot Wet Ramp Test?

The Barefoot Wet Ramp Test involves testers soaking their bare feet and then walking on inclined tiles sprayed with water to determine the unsafe angle.

This test is most relevant for tiles to be used around swimming pools, showers, and change rooms.

Barefoot wet ramp test

What should I use on stair nosings, landings and ramps?

The Australian Building Code and Australian Standards only mandate slip-rated flooring for stair nosings, stair landings and ramps. 

Here's a helpful guide:

Slip Resistance Classifications referenced by BCA, NCC and Australian Standards

Slip Resistance Classifications

Do tiles with slip resistance need special cleaning?

Tiles with slip resistance generally have a textured surface. The initial clean is the most important aspect for textured tiles.

A full 24 hours after the grout has dried, the tiles should be washed with Lithofin Cement Residue Remover following the instructions on the bottle.

If you notice a dull haze just after your new tiles are laid, or you find that your tiles are getting dirty very quickly, don't panic! This may be grout residue and is easily washed off with Lithofin Cement Residue Remover.

For everyday cleaning, these tiles are just as easy to maintain as non-textured tiles. We recommend Lithofin KF Vitra-Clean with warm water and a damp microfibre mop.

For a homemade, everyday, tile cleaning solution try using hot water and a dash of methylated spirits. Avoid soap-based products as they can leave a thin film on the tiles that will attract more dirt.

Our Hot Tip: Cleaning is an important part of maintaining an appropriate level of slip resistance. Download our cleaning and maintenance guide.