BBA’s Ronseal testing confirms it does what it says on the tin

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The British Board of Agrément is the UK’s leading construction products certification body. They offer approval, certification and test services to manufacturers of products and systems.

If someone creates and develops a new product and wants to market that product as best they can, it makes sense to have it checked to make sure it’s safe and fit for purpose.

Operating for over 50 years, the BBA is widely regarded as the best stamp of approval you can get, and having a BBA Agrément Certificate on a product gives it a significant advantage over any competition there might be in the market. The BBA provides certification for a wide range of products, from building insulation systems, road surfacing and windows & doors to paints, sealants, adhesives and many more.  

The Ronseal products tested and certified by the BBA fit very well into the BBA’s long list of accredited clients, having passed all the stringent assessment tests needed to be approved as a reliable and robust product choice that literally does what it says on the tin. 

In addition, as the UK’s leading authority on the assessment of insulation products and installation techniques, the BBA also regularly carries out inspections and surveys as part of its successful working relationships with Local Authorities and Housing Associations throughout the UK. The BBA’s consultancy, investigation and training division offers bespoke support and advice across a range of construction-related markets.


Interested in the technical details? Read BBA’s statement on the Ronseal testing below

Highly skilled test experts at the British Board of Agrément proved their versatility when a market-leading manufacturer of wood care products submitted a range for BBA Certification.

The Ronseal Trade range, which includes 10 Year Woodstain, Ultra Tough Floor Varnish and Crystal Clear Exterior Varnish, was dispatched to the BBA’s hi-tech test centre in Watford, Hertfordshire, to be put through its paces in exhaustive testing conducted over a number of months.

As BBA Senior Test Technician David Durrant explained, each of the 10 products required precise assessment against a variety of standards and performance criteria and, while the number of tests carried out on each product wasn’t unusual, the sheer volume conducted across the entire product range required a versatile and hands-on approach.

“At one point we had more than 400 panels of Ronseal-coated substrate material being tested,” said Mr Durrant. “Our test technicians had to apply the product to each substrate (hard wood, soft wood, steel etc) in full accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, precisely measuring the exact grammes of paint to be applied at the right thickness and temperature. Many finishes required one or more coats and most days we had racks of substrates drying and two or three people dedicated to painting more. Almost every member of the team was involved in preparing the substrates at one point or another. It was quite an undertaking.”

For Ronseal, BBA Certification was crucial because it gives end users additional reassurance that the Trade Range, which achieves quicker drying times and a longer lasting finish, has passed verified, independent testing and delivered on Ronseal’s ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ promise.

“BBA Certification is an important part of our on-going trade strategy,” said Ronseal Senior Product Manager Chris Morgan. “Its major benefit is that our claims are tested and verified by an independent body, delivering the trust and reassurance our trade customers seek when picking a product. Their reputation and quality of work is critical for on-going success and Ronseal is the only wood care brand to have BBA Certification across its full range of products. All BBA Certificated products carry the BBA logo and reference on the back of packs.”

The Trade Range was subjected to a wide range of tests pertinent to each product, including UV aging to assess fading and colour changes; fungal resistance, abrasion and scrubbability, extensibility, tensile strength, cross-cutting, resistance to hard-body impacts, water vapor permeability, gloss, hardness, ease of over coating, slip resistance etc.

“This was a large and challenging project due to the sheer number of test samples that had to be prepared and it drew on the expertise of a multitude of people,” said Mr Durrant, who led the work. “We also had quite a tight deadline to work to. The testing team was highly diligent in meeting the requirements of this deadline while also ensuring the work was carried out with the precision and due diligence that is expected of the BBA.”

Test regimes

Each Ronseal product was subjected to a number of tests relevant to their usage (indoor or outdoor) and the substrates on to which either the manufacturer recommends, or the standard requires, they be applied (for example wood or metal). All tests were carried out under carefully controlled and defined conditions to precise and exacting standards. Sample substrates were coated with the product, either single coats or multi coats, in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The range of testing included, but was not limited to:

Extensibility: Aluminum strips coated with relevant Ronseal products were stretched by up to 15% to assess peeling and delamination. This test was carried out in accordance with MOAT 33: 1986 The Assessment of Masonry Coatings, Section Extensibility and performed on aluminum strips as specified in BS 1470:1972 Specification for Wrought Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys for General Engineering Purposes - Plate, Sheet and Strip.

UV (visual assessment): Indoor product samples received continuous UV aging for 1008 hours using UVA-351 lamps at 50°C. A visual assessment comparison was then conducted on the aged and unnamed specimens.

Outdoor product samples were tested in accordance with BS EN 927-6: 2006 Paints and Varnishes – Coating materials and coating systems for exterior wood. Part 6: Exposure of wood coatings to artificial weathering using fluorescent UV lamps and water. Section 6.3.1 Exposure cycle – Table 2. Samples received 12 cycles of the following exposure: Condensation – 24 hours at (45±3)°C; UV – Continuous UV ageing using UVA-340 lamps at (60±3)°C for 2.5 hours irradiance set point 0.89W·m-2nm-1 at 340 nm; Spray – 0.5 hours spray at 6 l·min-1 to 7 l·min-1. They were measured for colour change using a spectrophotometer, in accordance with BS 3900: 1986 Part D9 Determination of colour and colour difference measurement.


Chalking: In accordance with BS EN ISO 4628-6:2011 Paints and Varnishes. This test evaluated the degradation of coatings and designated the quantity and size of defects and intensity of uniform changes in appearance. The ‘tape method’ was used to assess the degree of chalking.


Blistering: This test also evaluated the degradation of coatings and designated the quantity and size of defects and intensity of uniform changes in appearance, in accordance with BS EN ISO 4628-2:2003 Paints and Varnishes.


Cracking: The degradation of coatings and designated quantity and size of defects and intensity of uniform changes in appearance were assessed in accordance with BS EN ISO 4628-4:2003 Paints and Varnishes.


Flaking: Part 5 of BS EN ISO 4628-5:2003 Paints and Varnishes was utilised to assess the degree of flaking, evaluating the degradation of coatings and designated quantity and size of defects and intensity of uniform changes in appearance.


Water vapor transmission: Test specimens prepared by BBA technicians in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions were assessed in accordance with BS EN ISO 7783:2011 Paints and Varnishes to determine water vapor transmission properties using the Cup method (the specimens were not soak/dried).


Scratching: To determine scratch resistance, samples were tested in accordance with BS EN ISO 1518-1 2011 Paints and Varnishes using a constant load method.


Blocking: This test evaluates a coating’s ability to resist sticking to another surface and/or resist change in appearance when pressed against another surface for a specified time. It was carried out in accordance with PD CEN/TS 16499:2013 Paints and Varnishes, which applies to coating materials and systems for exterior wood. Samples were placed under load and then assessed after one hour of the load being removed.


Tack free time: Using BS EN ISO 9117-3:2010 Paints and Varnishes, the surface drying characteristics of samples were assessed.


Resistance to spotting: Bleach, kitchen/bathroom cleaner, red wine and juice were some of the liquids applied to test samples for one hour and 24 hours to assess resistance to spotting. Method A (horizontal test panel) of BS EN ISO 2812-2:2007 was used.


Hard body impact: The surface of the coating was stained post impact to highlight any cracking and the diameter of impact. This test was carried out in accordance with MOAT 43:1987 UEAtc Directive for Impact Testing Opaque Vertical Building Components.


Scrubbability: Each test sample was subjected to 320 cycles of scrubbing at a test speed of 30 cycles per minute with soap solution and an abrasive paste. Visual analysis was carried out via a viewing cabinet under D65 daylight lamps.