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Understanding Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) – Updated

Tile Council of North America

When specifying flooring materials, slip resistance is an important safety measure that all tile specifiers must be aware of. We are concerned about slip resistance in areas where ceramic tile floors can become wet in both residential and commercial applications. The measurement related to traction and slipperiness on wet, level floors when walked upon is called the dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF). DCOF testing helps determine the likelihood of whether or not a tile surface could contribute to someone slipping or falling. When it comes to choosing the right tile for an area, DCOF is a major consideration, especially when selecting tiles for areas that may be subjected to water, oil, or grease exposure.

If you are confused about the DCOF, you’re not alone. This measurement evokes questions about the methods for measuring it, what a DCOF measurement actually means, how to compare DCOF values and what the DCOF requirements are. DCOF is now the primary product performance measure used by the North American tile industry, so it’s important to understand what it means.

A Short History of DCOF

Before 2012, slip resistance, or the coefficient of friction for ceramic tile, was tested using the method specified in ASTM C1028, which provided the Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF). But a new and better method for determining COF emerged, allowing project specifiers to choose the right tile for the job more easily. The new measurement, developed by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), is called Dynamic Coefficient of Friction or DCOF.

What’s the difference between SCOF and DCOF test methods?

While the old test method determined the static coefficient of friction or SCOF, the new testing standard determines the dynamic coefficient of friction. In the context of people walking on floors, static friction is the frictional resistance one pushes against when starting in motion. Dynamic friction, on the other hand, is the frictional resistance one pushes against when already in motion. With both types of friction, a slip can occur when you push with more force than the surface can resist. The DCOF test relates better to slips occurring while a person is walking. Additionally, the newer test method uses a slightly soapy solution (water with .05% Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS) that is more slippery than the de-ionized water used with the old test.

What is the required minimum DCOF value?  

The American National Standard Test Method for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction of Hard Surface Flooring Materials, ANSI A326.3, requires tile flooring products to have a DCOF of 0.42 or greater when recommended for use in a level interior space intended to be walked upon when wet. Keep in mind that not all tiles with a wet DCOF of 0.42 or greater are necessarily suitable for all projects and that this is a minimum level of slip resistance for level interior floors that are wet with water. Other situations, such as standing water, oil, grease, or other slippery substances, may require higher DCOF numbers. Specifiers must also consider the type of use, traffic, expected contaminants, expected maintenance, expected wear, and manufacturer’s guidelines.

In addition to describing DCOF test methods of hard surface flooring materials in the laboratory and in the field, the ANSI A326.3 standard includes DCOF specifications, product use classifications*, and guidance on specifying hard surface flooring materials. This standard is intended to guide the general public, manufacturers, distributors, specifiers, architects, contractors, testing laboratories, building owners, and other businesses and professionals.

*Earlier this year, the TCNA announced the addition of a five-category “product use classification system” in ANSI A326.3. For the first time in the tile industry’s history, the TNCA, in collaboration with the American National Standards Institute, now requires tile manufacturers (as well as other hard surface flooring manufacturers) to provide “product use classifications” based on the properties of slip resistance. The ANSI A326.3 standard for measuring the DCOF is now the only ANSI standard for measuring floor traction.

GIO Architectural Tile + Stone is committed to the simplification of tile and stone specifications. Our products are marked with DCOF ratings presented in a clear fashion so you can easily identify the technical characteristics you require.


Fresh Looks for Walls – Product Recommendations from GIO Tile

For many commercial environments, from restaurants and schools to hotel and office lobbies and more, tile — ceramic, porcelain, or glass — is an excellent surfacing material for walls. The advantages of tile over paint, wallpaper, wood, brick, and many other materials are many. Wall tiles are durable, hygienic, easy to clean, stain-proof, fireproof, and are resistant to fade, odor, and moisture. Wall tile is also environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Wall Tile is Cost-Effective

Wall tile is cost-effective when you consider the life cycle of the material and its long-term performance. While the upfront expenditures for tile, setting materials, and installation may seem higher at first glance, they soon reveal themselves as smart investments when compared to other wall covering options’ high-maintenance and early replacement costs.

Wall Tiles are Hygienic

The focus on clean indoor environments, both commercial and residential, has never been as great as it has been during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no question that tile is one of the most sanitary surfacing choices available. While tile has always enjoyed sanitary advantages, the CDC now recommends following up the “soap and water” cleaning with a disinfectant. Fortunately, tile is not easily harmed by disinfectants, but do keep in mind some disinfectants like bleach, for example, may compromise certain grouts, so be sure to test in an inconspicuous area or consult with the manufacturer before using.

Wall Tile is Environmentally Friendly

Tile is good for the environment because it emits no VOCs, doesn’t require the use of caustic cleaners, and doesn’t require the destruction of other natural resources like wood or plant material. Tile is also hypoallergenic — it has zero allergens, and allergens in the environment such as dust and pollen cannot penetrate porcelain ceramic or glass tile’s nonporous surface.

Wall Tiles are a Designer’s Dream

Tile design technology has come a long, long way from the plain and somewhat boring looks of yesteryear. Wall tiles today come in an extraordinary array of colors, patterns, and designs, allowing designers to put texture or patterns on walls that rival the detail of many traditional wallcovering materials. 

Get Inspired

Here’s a look at some of our latest and greatest wall tile styles for achieving fashion-forward looks with the performance characteristics your commercial design projects demand.


With a hand-molded look, Lustro’s glossy porcelain subway tiles are richly shaded with nuanced hues, elongated dimensions (3″ x12″), and just the right luster.

LUSTRO by GIO in Taupe (left) & Light Grey (right)


Marmi_Trend offers lush interpretations of Statuario and Calacatta marble in subways, hexes, 3D linear decos, and more.

MARMI_TREND in Statuary Hex Field Tile


Picket is an ideal blend of modern shine and classic style. This picturesque glazed porcelain wall tile collection is offered in six pastoral hues and a picket-shaped 2.7″ x 11″ field tile.

Picket wall tile
PICKET in Light Grey


There’s nothing subtle about the shiny, saturated palette of this versatile subway tile line. Pastel comes in 10 glossy hues and can be used for walls as well as floors.

PASTEL in Aqua



Vitro is a sleek glass tile collection for walls offered in nine crystalline colors with bright or frosty finishes. The line comes in three modular sizes plus a mini brick mosaic.

Vitro wall tile
VITRO in Aqua Mini Brick Mosaic



Subway tile, always the constant classic, now offered in signature sizes and five perpetually popular neutral colors. Subway is so timeless, yet modern.

Subway by GIO Wall Tile in 4x16 Architectural Grey Bright
SUBWAY in Architectural Grey



Brick’s timeless appeal comes of age in a durable porcelain tile interpreted in six cool colors awash in a handcrafted, textured glaze. NEO_Brick comes in 2″ x9″ filed tiles plus bullnose trim.

NEO_Brick wall tile —image of brick-look back wall in a bar
NEO_Brick in Bianco

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at a few of our latest and greatest commercial-grade tile products for walls! Click here to see all our collections suitable for vertical surfaces. Samples for these lines, in addition to all our tile collections, are available free to the trade. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!

Cement vs Porcelain: Which is Better for Your Commercial Tile Projects?

Vintage Color Mix Set
Our VINTAGE collection, shown here in the Color Mix Set, has the aesthetic characteristics of cement tile but with all the benefits of easy-to-maintain, durable porcelain.

If you love interior design, your Instagram feed is likely filled with images of beautiful spaces, many of which show tile in use. And because Instagram is a land without borders, you probably see design and tile influences from around the globe that showcase tile surfaces rich in color, pattern, and unique style.

The Instagram influence is just one factor that’s sparking ever-increasing interest in pattern tiles, colorful tiles, and—specifically—surfacing options often referred to as cement tiles, encaustic tiles, and even concrete tiles. The visuals of these types of tile are often quite stunning and provide great eye candy for your Instagram scrolling. However, there’s so much more to the story if you’re looking for the right products for your demanding commercial installations.

We at GIO strongly recommend that interior designers, architects, and specifiers for commercial projects opt for porcelain tile products that offer not only the aesthetic preferred but also the performance required. Here are the top reasons why we advise to specify porcelain tile instead of cement tile for your contract installations.

Porcelain tile does not require sealing. Did you know that cement tiles must be sealed? Not only do they need to be sealed at the point of installation, but they also require resealing periodically throughout the life of the installation. Because of the porosity of cement tiles’ body, this level of maintenance is a must regardless of whether the installation is in a commercial or residential setting. Conversely, porcelain tiles’ extremely dense, impervious body does not require sealing, and this makes its durability and ease of maintenance all but impossible for cement tile to rival.

Porcelain tile is simple to clean and maintain. Cement tile is prone to etching by harsh detergents or acids. Even if sealed at the time of installation and then resealed periodically over time, the etching effects that appear on the cement tiles will remain. Also, because cement tile is porous, it can stain when exposed to liquids such as wine, soda, vinegar, as well as water. On the other hand, porcelain tile won’t stain and wipes clean with water—no harsh chemicals required. For demanding commercial spaces, this ease of cleaning and long-term maintenance are essential.

Porcelain tile’s appearance withstands high traffic and redundant or heavy use. Cement tiles are loved for their beauty, but the looks will likely be compromised through regular use, even use that is not deemed ‘extreme.’ Foot traffic—either redundant over time or heavy traffic, heel scrapes, even pets’ claws/nails have all been known to affect the look of cement tiles. Of course, some people like the style of worn tiles or tiles with accumulating imperfections. However, porcelain tile is the right choice for specifiers who seek looks that will last regardless of high traffic, redundant foot traffic patterns, or other factors. The way porcelain tile is manufactured ensures it will maintain its original appearance, presuming it’s installed properly to manufacturers’ installation guidelines.

Porcelain tile is well suited for a wide range of installation scenarios. Commercial specifiers are likely to find that cement tiles are not ideal for a host of applications for which they need to use tile. Because of possible staining due to porosity, cement tile is not ideal for wet areas such as bathrooms. Likewise, many designers opt to avoid it for high traffic areas such as kitchens and entryways. Additionally, it’s not recommended for exterior applications in climates that are prone to experience freeze-thaw conditions (makes sense that it’s so popular in countries/locations known for tropical and very warm weather!). Porcelain tile products have few limitations when it comes to offering the performance and technical specs needed for just about any given installation. There are even many options suitable for exterior use in freeze-thaw conditions.

GIO tile alternative to cement tileToday—thanks to advanced porcelain tile design and manufacturing capabilities, we have beautiful pattern tile and color options that are great fits for commercial design projects. Designers, architects, and commercial specifiers can get the looks they want without compromising the performance required. Explore our website for the latest porcelain tile options for your next installation needs!