A Guide to ESD Flooring Selection

A Guide to ESD Flooring Selection

Flooring Selector Guide

Choosing the Right ESD Floor

Staticworx FlooringElectrostatic discharge (ESD) is a well-documented, invisible threat to electronic parts, systems, and mission-critical operations. Risks include damage to equipment, product returns, facility downtime, communication errors, and liability.

Eliminating the risk of random ESD events requires “fault-tolerant” static-control flooring that performs consistently — regardless of variables such as footwear, maintenance, and humidity. Specifications for a static-control floor should address unique environmental conditions and meet the latest industry-approved ESD standards.

Using evidence-based design principles, you can match the right product to its post-installation environment.

ESD Protected Area

What You’ll Find in This Section

The information in this guide is based on industry-approved flooring specifications, along with the review of hundreds of static-generation tests on all forms of ESD flooring, using multiple test subjects wearing dozens of types of ordinary and ESD footwear — providing a scientific framework for finding customized flooring solutions.

Checklist

Flooring Specification Checklist

Check your environment.

Will the floor be installed in a stringently controlled ESD-protected area (EPA) — mandating special ESD footwear? In an environment where static-control footwear is required but not enforced? Or in an end-user environment with no static-control protocols?

Check to be sure the floor meets industry standards for static-control flooring.

  • Reference ANSI/ESD S20.20 and IEC 61340- 5-1 for electronics manufacturing.
  • Refer to Motorola R56 and ATIS- 0600321.2010 for mission-critical environments — e.g., data centers or 9-1-1 dispatch centers.
  • Use FAA 019f for flight control applications.

Check which types of footwear will be used.

Footwear affects the performance of static-control floors. When evaluating static generation, test every type of footwear that may be used, both standard and static control.

Check body voltage generation.

Find out how much static will be generated when people walk across the floor, using the ANSI/ESD S97.2 charge generation test.

Check static-control terminology.

Pay special attention to terms like conductive; static dissipative; ohms; and static generation. Be aware that certain terms, such as ESD flooring, are generic, so mean very little.

Check conductivity.

Be sure the floor provides a safe path to ground. Find the “sweet spot” for conductivity.

Check for permanent static control.

The anti-static properties of some static-control floors come from the application of special waxes and sprays that wear off and must be continually reapplied.

□ Check durability requirements.

Will the floor be installed in a high- or low-traffic area? Will soldering equipment or solvents be used? Will heavy loads be moved across the floor? Will forklifts be in use?

Check aesthetics.

Will the floor maintain its appearance over time and within its environment?

Check short- and long-term budgets.

Consider the initial investment, maintenance, and repair, as well as total life-cycle costs.

Check ergonomics.

Factor anti-fatigue, sound attenuation, and slip resistance into your decision.

Check the time allotted for installation.

Some products require more extensive floor preparation and certain materials are easier to install than others.

Check the origin of the product.

Floor tiles produced offshore are often die cut and, as a result, have slight dimensional variations, causing unsightly gaps in the seams.

Check the warranty.

Select a manufacturer that warrants ESD performance over the life of the product.

Check the floor after it has been installed.

Request a free flooring audit — with written certification that the floor meets static-control parameters.

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ESD Flooring Decision Tree

ESD Flooring Decision Tree

Footwear and static-control flooring work together to control charge generation. This decision tree can help you find the flooring options that are most compatible with your environment. Recommendations are based on electrical resistance, measured in ohms, and charge generation, measured in volts. Static-control floors should meet ESD performance standards for both resistance and walking body voltage generation. The information presented in this chart assumes that the floor under consideration meets industry standards for electrical resistance—less than or equal to 1.0 x 10E9. All types of footwear—regular and ESD—affect the performance of a static- control floor. It is therefore recommended that you obtain a report from an independent ESD-flooring laboratory, showing performance results, tested with the subject wearing regular shoes (e.g., with rubber, leather, and/or plastic soles), as well as different types of ESD footwear (e.g., heel straps, toe straps, and static-control shoes).

Do You Need Static-control Flooring?

Flooring Selector Guide
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Walking Body Voltage

What is Body Voltage Static Generation

Walking — or the friction that occurs when a foot touches and separates from the floor — generates static. These static charges, called Walking Body Voltage, accumulate on the human body and discharge to the first object the person touches, potentially damaging electronic components or systems.

Walking body voltage tests evaluate the flooring system. Using a charge plate monitor, the test measures static generated when a person walks across the floor, wearing a particular type of footwear — regular shoes, or static-control heel straps, toe straps, or ESD shoes. Because different shoes generate different amounts of static, the test is typically repeated, with the subject wearing various types of regular shoes and static-control footwear.

Electrical resistance tests — which ESD flooring must also pass — evaluate only the floor’s path to ground.

Voltage Generated with Different Types of Footwear

Body voltage generated
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Resistance Requirements

Resistance Requirements by Environment

Resistance requirements, based on the latest ESD standards, depend upon your environment and footwear. Use the chart below to determine the most compatible flooring materials for your environment.

Resistance Requirements by Environment

CategoryClass-0Controlled Environments
(ANSI/ESD S20.20)
End-User/Real-World
Maximum allowable resistance0 – ≤ 10E90 – ≤ 10E910E6 – 10E9
EnvironmentControlled/manufacturing ESD-protected areas (EPA) that handle ultra-sensitive devices or will in the futureControlled/manufacturing ESD-protected areas (EPA) that are not Class-0Mission-critical areas that require ESD protection regardless of footwear
Applications-electronics manufacturing service (EMS) facilities
-cleanrooms
-R&D environments
-microelectronics fabrication
-circuit board assembly
-manufacturing test and repair of electronics
-9-1-1 dispatch areas
-data centers
-fight command centers
-networked offices
-hospital/imaging
-control rooms
-labs
-government offices
-server rooms
Flooring options with regular footwearN/A: Regular footwear prohibited; must use ESD footwearN/A: Regular footwear prohibited; must use ESD footwear-EC Rubber
-ESD Carpet
Flooring options with ESD footwear or heel straps-EC Rubber
-ESD Carpet
-Conductive Vinyl
-EC Rubber
-ESD Carpet
-Conductive Vinyl
-Some Conductive Epoxy Coatings
-Plastic Interlocking Conductive Flooring
-EC Rubber
-ESD Carpet
-Conductive Vinyl
-Static-dissipative Vinyl Tile
-Conductive Epoxy Coatings
-Static-dissipative Epoxy Coatings
-Plastic Interlocking Conductive Flooring
-Plastic Interlocking Dissipative Flooring
-Conductive High-pressure Laminate

Testing a Floor’s Electrical Resistance

Electrical resistance tests use an ohm meter to predict the speed at which an ESD floor will discharge electricity, allowing the charge to pass from the floor’s surface to ground. If resistance is too low, electrical currents can cut across the floor, posing a safety hazard. If it’s too high, static will discharge too slowly, rendering the floor ineffective. Sweet spot
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Comparing Types of Flooring

Comparing Types of Flooring

Static-control Properties

CategoryESD Carpet TileESD Solid Vinyl Tile (conductive)ESD Multi-layer Poured EpoxyInterlocking Plastic FlooringESD Rubber
Inhibits static with ordinary footwear; per ASHRAE, the upper limit for the environment is 500 V maximumYes: < 400 V maximumNo: > 3500 VNo: > 3500 VNo: > 3500 VYes: < 400 V maximum
Meets standard ANSI/ESD S20.20 for electrical resistanceYes, when using any ESD footwearYes, when using any ESD footwearYes, depending on type of ESD footwearYes, depending on type of ESD footwearYes, when using any ESD footwear
Class-0 qualifiedYes, depending on type of ESD footwearYes, depending on type of ESD footwearNoNoYes, when using any ESD footwear

Caution

Static-control interlocking flooring, vinyl, high pressure laminate, and some epoxy will not inhibit static charges without the use of ESD footwear. Persons wearing standard footwear—depending upon shoes, humidity and other factors—can generate over 3.5 kV while walking on these four materials (see chart on walking body voltage). For more comprehensive product information, visit Staticworx: Static-control Flooring Products

Life Cycle Costs

CategoryESD Carpet TileESD Solid Vinyl Tile (Conductive)ESD Multi-layer Poured EpoxyInterlocking Plastic FlooringESD Rubber
Total cost of ownership (includes material, installation, and ongoing maintenance)LowModerateLow to moderateHighestLowest
Cost of materialLow to moderateLowestLowHighestModerate to high
InstallationEasiest and fastestEasy and fastDifficultTime consumingModerate and fast
Cost of maintenanceLow to moderateModerateLow
Note: shine cannot be restored once surface is scratched
ModerateLowest

Physical Properties and Maintenance

CategoryESD Carpet TileESD Solid Vinyl Tile (Conductive)ESD Multi-layer Poured EpoxyInterlocking Plastic FlooringESD Rubber
Long-term appearanceGood to excellentExcellent: surface scratches can be removed by abrasive buffingFair: degrades over time, scratches cannot be removedExcellent: surface scratches can be removed by abrasive buffingExcellent
Wear layern/aNo: wear is consistent throughout the thickness of the floorYes: minimalNo: wear is consistent throughout the thickness of the floorNo: wear is consistent throughout the thickness of the floor
Color throughout thickness (helps hide scratches)n/aYesNoYesYes
Color consistency for projects of any sizeYesYesYesNoYes
DurabilityGood to excellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
Handles/withstands heavy rolling loadsFairExcellentExcellentGoodGood
PSIn/a2500 – < 3000> 3000n/a600 – 800
Ease of rollingFairExcellentExcellentGood to excellentGood to excellent
MaintenanceVacuum and wet extractionSweep, damp mop, and buffSweep and damp mopSweep, damp mop, and buffSweep, damp mop, and buff
Chemical ResistanceFairSuperiorSuperiorSuperiorSuperior
Ease of repairEasiestEasyMost difficultEasyModerate

Ergonomics and Environmental Factors

CategoryESD Carpet TileESD Solid Vinyl Tile (Conductive)ESD Multi-layer Poured EpoxyInterlocking Plastic FlooringESD Rubber
Ease of finding small partsFairEasyEasyEasyEasy
Slip resistance< 0.6
Meets or exceeds ADA guidelines
< 0.6
Meets or exceeds ADA guidelines
0.4 – 0.6
Depending on texture
0.5 – 0.6< 0.6
Meets or exceeds ADA guidelines
Sound absorptionExcellentPoor to fair 4 dBNot sound resistantPoor to fairExcellent 5 – 19 dB
Anti-fatiguingExcellentNoNoNoGood
VOC compliantYesYes
FloorScore certified
YesYesYes
GREENGUARD certified
Halogen free – no chlorine or other corrosive gases in fireNoNoYesNoYes
Contributes toward LEED creditsYesYesNoYesYes

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Industry Standards
and Test Methods

Industry Standards and Test Methods

Industry standards and test methods provide verifiable metrics to help manufacturers, suppliers, and customers objectively determine the quality and performance of ESD flooring materials. Adherence ensures that everyone uses the same parameters to manufacture and evaluate static-control products, reducing confusion in the marketplace.

ESD Standards

ANSI/ESD S20.20-2014 ESD Association Standard for the Development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program for Protection of Electrical and Electronic Parts, Assemblies and Equipment (Excluding Electrically Initiated Explosive Devices).


IEC 61340-5-1:2007 IECEE.ORG: Electrostatics — Part 5-1: Protection of electronic devices from electrostatic phenomena. The European equivalent to ANSI/ESD S20.20.


DOD 4145.26-M Safety standards for DoD and private industry ammunition and explosives (AE) operations; and facilities performing AE work or AE services under DoD contracts, subcontracts, purchase orders, or other procurement methods.


Mil STD 1686 (converted to ANSI/ESD S20.20) is the parent document for all ESD Association standards and is the main reference for Auditing an ESD Control Program.


FAA STD 019f Standard for Lightning Protection, Grounding, Bonding and Shielding Requirements.


Motorola R56 Public Safety and Telecommunications standards and guidelines for the installation of equipment, infrastructure, and facilities for communications centers. Commercial standard for network-operated dispatch operations—e.g., 9-1-1 call centers.


ATIS-0600321 Telecommunications industry standard for installations where personnel are required to access a computer terminal keyboard while continually wearing a headset.


IBM Data Center Recommendations IBM-recommended guidelines to minimize static-electricity buildup in a data center.


NFPA 99 establishes criteria for health care services or systems based on risk to patients, staff, or visitors in health care facilities to minimize the hazards of fire, explosion, and electricity.


ESDA Electronics Industry Standard Test Methods (STM)

ANSI/ESD STM7.1-2013 Tests resistive characterization of flooring materials.


ANSI/ESD STM97.1-2015 Measures the electrical system resistance of floor materials in combination with persons wearing static-control footwear.


ANSI/ESD STM97.2-2016 Measures the voltage on a person in combination with floor materials and static control footwear, shoes or other devices.


ASTM F150-06(2013) Tests electrical resistance of resilient flooring.


AATCC 134 Electrostatic Propensity of Carpets. Standard carpet industry test, uses laboratory simulation to assess static generation when a person walks across the carpet.



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Visit our informational hub: Selecting and Specifying an ESD Floor

Return to Guide: Home

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StaticWorx high-performance static-control floors protect electronic components, explosives, and high-speed computers from damage caused by static electricity. ESD flooring is part of a system. Choices should always be based on objective, researched evidence. When you partner with us, we look at all possible items that may need to integrate with the floor, and, focusing on your goals and objectives, help you find the right floor for your application.

Play Video

StaticWorx high-performance static-control floors protect electronic components, explosives, and high-speed computers from damage caused by static electricity. ESD flooring is part of a system. Choices should always be based on objective, researched evidence. When you partner with us, we look at all possible items that may need to integrate with the floor, and, focusing on your goals and objectives, help you find the right floor for your application.