Pendulum Test: Checking For Slip Resistance

A pendulum test is a method for testing the slip resistance on a tile. It’s carried out on most tiles! Here’s a video showing a test in progress…

What is a pendulum test?

The Pendulum test is the British standard method of measuring slip resistance. And is the Health and Safety Executives preferred method of testing. In these tests the HSE recommends a minimum score of 36 or more for floor coverings to be used in public places in both wet and dry conditions. All of our PTV tests are conducted in accordance with the current UK Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG) and HSE guidelines.

The test replicates the heel of a foot (there are different attachments to measure a rubber sole to a bare foot) slipping on tiles in both wet and dry conditions. This represents a more accurate simulation of real world conditions. The results are known as Pendulum Test Values and determine the level of potential slip risk. These PTV values are classified as:

0-24 High Risk
24-35 Moderate Risk
36+ Low risk.

What does a pendulum test involve?

The Test consists of the pendulum swinging across the surface of the tile. Here are the steps:

1) The machine itself will be zeroed (a test swing to ensure that the reading is accurate, machine is still working, the surface is level and form a basis on all tests.)
2) It is then swung across the face of the tile and a reading is measured. The pendulum is swung 3 times – then a further 5 times with the average reading of the last five swings taken to determine the PTV.
3) The test is then performed twice more – with the tile in different directions – to fully test the slip resistance across the tile. This is because the risk of slipping on a tiled floor isn’t set to one direction.
4) When this has been done with a dry tile – the test is repeated with water applied to the tiles surface. The machine is zeroed every time to ensure a uniform test and the tile is moved into the same three positions. Again with the average reading taken as the result to ensure fairness. This will give a second reading and determine a PTV on the slip resistance of the tile in wet conditions.

R ratings explained

Whilst the PTV doesn’t entirely determine the R rating it is a useful guide. The ratings start with R9
(R1 – 8 don’t exist therefore R9 is the lowest and has the highest risk of slipping)
R rating PTV
R9 11-18
R10 18-34
R11 34-54
R12 51-70
R13 70+

This shouldn’t put you off tiles with a lower R rating as they are perfectly fine in rooms such as a bedroom or living room – and don’t fall into the trap of going directly to R13 for your bathrooms and Kitchens as these tiles are usually for swimming pools, wet rooms or outdoors that will get a high volume of water and slip risk
R11 and R12 are ideal for the majority of bathrooms and kitchens with a risk of spills and water contact

If you found this blog helpful at all, check out our Help Centre for more guides and how to’s! It’s the Wikipedia or tiling queries and information.

Walls and Floors
Walls and Floors