Safety first: everything you need to know about the pendulum slip test

While safety is a primary concern for any project, it’s particularly important in the commercial sector where the space will be used by members of the public. It should therefore be a key consideration for designers when choosing flooring for a commercial project – and the pendulum slip test will play a vital role in this decision.

The pendulum test measures the slip resistance of flooring, including tiles. With such a variety of tiles now available on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to minimising slip risk, and although porcelain is generally recommended as the safest material for floor tiles, the anti-slip rating will vary from product to product.

It’s always best to speak to the experts when choosing floor tiles for a project, and our knowledgeable team are always happy to help you create a bespoke solution for any requirements. But to help you understand more about the pendulum test and its value in safe design, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive – read on to find out more.

What is the pendulum test?

The pendulum test for slip resistance is the standard measure of slip resistance in the UK, and is recommended for use by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Recognised by the HSE as accurate and reliable for both wet and dry conditions, it is the only accepted test used in legal and insurance matters relating to proof of safe flooring.

Having the pendulum test result for a product means that we can confidently supply floor tiles to our customers which we know to be safe for high traffic commercial projects.

In fact, some of our most popular ranges are those with high anti-slip ratings. For example, the Delight collection has proved a hit for commercial sector projects, particularly in hotels. This classic marble-effect porcelain tile embodies elegance while also boasting a high anti-slip rating in both wet and dry conditions – seamlessly combining form and function.

Alternatively, the eye-catching Inclusioni Classico range offers users terrazzo-effect tile; a trend proving ever-popular in interior design. It’s available in a variety of interchangeable colours, making it perfect for designers looking to create a unique space guaranteed to turn heads. Not only is this eclectic porcelain tile adaptable for a huge range of interior design styles – from classic to modern, and everything in between – but it also offers a safe solution for high traffic spaces used by the general public.

Cementum is also incredibly popular for a range of commercial projects, particularly for the leisure sector, thanks to pendulum test results proving its efficacy as an anti-slip porcelain tile. As well as ensuring safety, the Cementum collection stands out for its contemporary twist on the classic cement effect and with availability in nine sizes and eight colours, the possibilities really are endless for commercial applications.

How is the test carried out?

Replicating a human heel – made from a rubber sole – the pendulum test measures the resistance of a floor surface when under foot, in both wet and dry conditions. The test uses two types of rubber sole, known as sliders: Slider 96 recreates the rubber heel of a shoe (shod traffic) while Slider 55 recreates the effect of a bare food (unshod traffic).

In the test, the pendulum swings over the tile in question, and the amount of friction indicates its slip resistance level. The level of friction is assessed according to how far the pendulum swings: the more friction produced, the less the pendulum swings and vice versa. This measurement process is carried out several times under each condition in order to gain an average figure – this is known as the Pendulum Test Value (PTV), which is a product’s anti-slip rating.

The pendulum test for slip resistance is incredibly robust: as well as testing under both wet and dry conditions, the ‘heel’ attachment can be changed to replicate being either bare foot or wearing shoes. Because of this, designers can be confident that their choice of flooring is safe and fit-for-purpose under a wide variety of conditions.

Who carries out the pendulum test?

Some manufacturers – particularly those based in the UK – may carry out a pendulum test for tiles on their products in-house. However, the pendulum test is not the global standard test, meaning manufacturers located outside of the UK are likely to use an equivalent test based on different legal requirements.

Fortunately, here at CTD Architectural Tiles, we have invested in our own pendulum test machine: a mobile device that we can use on-site, rather than only in a laboratory environment. This allows us to offer our highly valued customers an even better service, as we’re able to provide added reassurance on a product’s anti-slip rating upon request.

Our customers can always be assured that only trained employees will carry out and interpret the results of any pendulum test that we conduct in-house.

What do the results mean?

The results of the pendulum test indicate a tile’s slip resistance, using a measurement known as the Pendulum Test Value (PTV). This PTV slip resistance is classified into three categories:

1. High slip potential – PTV0-24

2. Moderate slip potential – PTV25-35

3. Low slip potential – PTV36 or higher

Since the measurement was introduced, a pendulum test slip rating of PTV36 or higher for both dry and wet conditions is required for flooring in any new or refurbished commercial or public building. The PTV36 rating is equivalent to approximately one in one million users slipping on the tile, while a PTV19 rating is the equivalent of an approximate one in two accident risk.

Based on this, it’s clear why a minimum of PTV36 is required for floor tiles for commercial sector projects – and it’s no surprise that we’re receiving more and more requests for products boasting a PTV40 rating. Fortunately, we supply a huge range of slip-resistant tile collections, with something available to suit all projects and budgets.

Are non-slip tiles harder to clean?

While minimising slip risk is a key consideration for commercial projects, so is hygiene – particularly following the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020, as leisure spaces and offices continue to see increased footfall once again.

Traditionally, tiles with ultra-high slip resistance could be more difficult to clean than standard floor tiles, and as we’ve received more requests for anti-slip tiles, this has been something we’ve worked hard to find a solution to. And that’s why we’ve added ranges such as Realstone Argent to our collection of high PTV tiles, which not only scores highly in terms of slip resistance but is also almost completely smooth to the touch and is exceptionally easy to clean thanks to its innovative glazing.

Where can I find out more?

At CTD Architectural Tiles, we’re here to answer any further questions you have about a product’s anti-slip rating and the pendulum test. Whether you’re looking for general information about our porcelain floor tile ranges, you’d like us to help you create a bespoke safety-first floor tile solution, or would like us to carry out a pendulum test on a product you’re interested in, our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help.

We always recommend speaking to the experts when choosing tiles, and our team are happy to provide advice and guidance. If you’d like to find out more about safety standards and the pendulum test, contact or call 0800 021 4835.