f-numbers - concrete floor slab flatness and levelness

Larger floor slabs are typically placed in sections over several
different placement dates. For each slab placement (test
section), F-Numbers should be measured and compared to the
project MLV. The results from each test section are averaged to
determine if the means and methods being used by contractors
are resulting in F-Numbers which meet the project SOV.

An example of a typical specified tolerance for a Random
Traffic Floor is:

Floor Flatness (FF): Specified Overall Value = 35
Minimum Local Value = 24
Floor Levelness (FL): Specified Overall Value = 25
Minimum Local Value = 18

The American Concrete Institute requires that specified concrete
floor tolerances be checked within 72 hours after floor installation
in order to ensure that an accurate gauge of the surface’s “as-
built” shape is assessed. Typically, F-Numbers are measured as
Approximate Equivalent FF Value and soon as finishing is complete and the placement will tolerate foot
Straightedge Measurement traffic. Project specifications for floor tolerances should specify
Floor Flatness (FF) Deflection Under 10’ Straightedge the required corrective measures for the overall slab or individual
25 1/4” slab placements that do not meet the project requirements.
50 1/8”
Remedial measures could include repair by re-topping, removing
100 1/16”
and replacing sections, or monetary rebates to the owner for
out-of-tolerance work. Grinding of deficient areas is typically not
a preferred solution because of the difficulty in improving the F-
Numbers and the reduced surface durability and appearance.

How Are F-Numbers Measured?
F-Number measurements should be performed in general
accordance with ASTM E-1155 “Standard Test Method for
Determining Floor Flatness (FF) and Floor Levelness (FL)
Numbers”. Several different techniques are allowed for measuring
the F-Numbers of Random Traffic Floors, but the most commonly
used equipment (and the equipment used by TTL) is the dipstick
floor profiler.

F-Numbers are normally measured soon after the final finishing
(troweling) of a concrete slab section. Measurement lines are
commonly laid out across the slab (to provide an equal number
of readings in the longitudinal and transverse directions) and
readings are taken at 1-foot intervals on the line. Measurement
lines must be a minimum of 11 feet long and a minimum of 34
readings should be taken for each 1,000 square feet of floor
area. Measurements are taken with the dipstick by walking the
apparatus along the line and measuring the difference in elevation
between points 12 inches apart along the length of the line. The
more modern dipstick profiler machines record the readings each
time the apparatus is pivoted and the alternating foot is placed on
the slab. F-Number results are generally available immediately
after completion of the measurements in the field.
Article by:
Patrick W. Gupton, P.E.
pgupton@ttlinc.com | 256.353.2910

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