Understanding Slip Ratings in Residential Applications

Jul 25, 2023 | Bathroom Design, Knowledge and Know How

Members often ask us about the legislated requirements for slip-resistant flooring in domestic applications. We’ve prepared a technical bulletin outlining the Code and Standard requirements (available in your exclusive Members Portal) and will share an extract of this paper below.

The National Construction Code (NCC) and Australian Standards mandate slip-rated flooring in the following areas of residential dwellings:

  • stair nosings
  • stair landings and
  • ramps

A residential building that does not have tiles in any of the above areas has no legislated requirement for slip-resistant flooring. In saying that, your tile retailer – as a matter of due diligence – should be recommending tiles that are fit for purpose, and this is particularly significant in wet areas.

When selecting tiles for residential applications, it’s essential to consider how a tile’s slip resistance can improve safety and reduce the risk of accidents. This is especially important for areas frequently exposed to water or where slipping is a concern, like bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and outdoor spaces. In these areas, a tile’s ‘P rating’ should be your first consideration.


What is a ‘P rating’?

A P rating is determined by a pendulum test which gives a result from P0 to P5. P0 is the least slip-resistant, and P5 offers the highest level of slip resistance.

Following is a summary of the various ratings:

P0: These tiles have a low slip resistance and are suitable for dry, level indoor areas where there is minimal risk of water exposure or slipping. They are not recommended for areas prone to moisture or spills.

P1: Tiles with this rating offer a slightly higher level of slip resistance than P0 tiles. They are suitable for indoor areas where there may be occasional moisture, but the risk of slipping is still relatively low.

P2: This rating indicates tiles that provide moderate slip resistance. They are suitable for indoor areas with a higher likelihood of moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

P3: Tiles with a P3 rating offer good slip resistance and are appropriate for indoor and outdoor areas frequently exposed to water, like bathrooms and laundries. P3 tiles are generally suitable for areas in and adjoining showers.

P4: These tiles have a high slip resistance and are recommended for pool surrounds and outdoor patios, along with areas exposed to water, oils, and other slippery substances. They’re commonly used in commercial applications but can also be used in residential spaces where high slip resistance is desired.

P5: Tiles with the highest P rating, P5, provide very high slip resistance. They’re suitable for areas where there is a significant risk of slipping due to the presence of slippery contaminants.


What else should be considered with respect to slips and falls?

Standards Australia’s HB 198 is a guide to the specification and testing of slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces. The Handbook emphasises that factors relating to a slip and fall are not always a direct result of the frictional characteristics of the tile. Other factors that you should consider when assessing risks and safety include:

    • lighting, including luminance contrast
    • age and gait of the homeowners/occupants
    • nature of the pedestrian’s activity (what will happen in the space?)
    • gradients and sloping surfaces
    • potential contamination (are oil, water, or other slippery substances likely to be spilt?)
    • footwear of the inhabitants
    • handrails, barriers and balustrades
    • stair geometry and dimensional consistency
    • cleaning (consider residues) and wear (what are the maintenance requirements?).


What are the consequences of over-specifying based purely on slip resistance?

It’s widely accepted that floor surface contamination (i.e. spilling of liquids or solids) is the primary cause of slipping. Accordingly, it’s important to consider the cleanability and maintenance requirements of any particular floor. A highly slip-resistant tile could be virtually ‘uncleanable’ in a domestic application and could deteriorate into an unsafe surface over time.


Do you have other questions related to specifying materials for wet areas?

Have you used the KBDi Technical Support Service yet? If you have an enquiry related to the National Construction Code or Australian Standards or just a general design or business question, we encourage you to complete the form here.


Download the Technical Bulletin: Slip Resistance in Residential Applications.

The advice set out above is general in nature and should be used as a starting point for your own investigations. KBDi recommends that you confirm (in writing, where possible) how your builder, certifier and/or local government authority interpret the NCC and Australian Standard requirements.


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