What Can I Use to Make Stairs Less Slippery?

By Robert Kingsley

No one wants to fall down the stairs. It’s a simple truth and despite the fact that people tend to take great care to avoid them, falls still occur. Some stairs are just more slippery than others and harder to navigate. To combat this risk, there are a number of products that can be employed to add traction to your slippery stairs.

Textured Paint

Textured paint is nothing more than enamel floor paint mixed with a textured material. Once dry, the paint has a bumpy texture that provides traction. Make sure that your stairs are clean and dry before starting. Rough up the steps with an oscillating tool with 80-grit sandpaper. Clean your steps again to remove the sanding dust before painting. Purchase an exterior floor enamel paint and a nonslip additive, which will be similar to sand. Mix them together well with a paint stick and paint it on your steps. Follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations for drying time before using the stairs again.

Rubber Stair Treads

Rubber stair treads completely cover the treads of your indoor staircase as well as the front of each step. They are made of a non-slip rubber that provides excellent traction. Make sure that your stairs are clean and free of any debris, oils or particulates, as these will negatively impact installation, and repair any stairs that are uneven, warped or damaged. The treads are sold over-sized, so you’ll need to measure and trim each rubber tread to fit. To install, spread contact adhesive on your step and on the bottom of the rubber tread. Carefully press the tread down onto your step, starting at the front of the step and working back. Roll the tread with a rubber roller to ensure proper adhesion. Maintain a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit for one week after installation.

Non-Slip Tape

Non-slip tape is the simplest way to add traction to a slippery staircase. Clean your stairs thoroughly to ensure that they are free of oils, grime or particulates. Apply a piece of tape on the front of each step in your staircase. Make sure each piece stretches from one side of your tread to the other.

Heated Tread Mats

While all of these methods work well, they aren’t worth much if your outdoor staircase is caked in ice. You can always spread ice-melt in this situation, but you’ll have to wait a while for it to take affect. Heated tread mats can be used to prevent ice altogether. Simply plug in the power cord of this string of mats and lay a pad on each of your stairs. They are outdoor-safe, so you can leave them in place all winter. The pads themselves are rubber and provide traction, while maintaining a temperature high enough to melt any snow or ice that might land on them.

© Demand Media 2011