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Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

Posted by northcarolina (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 17, 11 at 22:06

We'll be installing wood treads on our unfinished basement staircase before too much longer (I hope). There are small children (sometimes wearing socks) and elderly people who use these stairs, so they need to be slip resistant after hardwood treads are installed. We already have the wood, so that's locked in. I don't want to use a carpet runner (the location is a dirt magnet and we also have pets), and the treads are not uniform in shape so I don't think the premade nonslip tread covers that you lay on top will fit. (Some of the stairs are wedge-shaped as the staircase turns 90 degrees.) I have heard of the Shark Grip paint additive; has anyone used it, and do you all have any idea if it can be added to a wood finish other than paint? Should we finish the wood with a penetrating oil instead of poly? (I am interested in low VOC finishes anyway.) Would it be better if I painted them, so that I can use the slip resistant paint additive? What has worked for other people with hardwood stair treads?

Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I'm sure there are other brands available, but what about clear anti-slip strips?

Here is a link that might be useful: strips


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

Those look good, annz, thanks! The only strips they had at the big box store were the very rough black ones (hard to clean), but it looks as though that website has better alternatives.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I love the clear! I also wonder about the luminescent...at some point I'll write them to ask what color that is during the day. I'm all for extra safety if it isn't obtrusively ugly. Wonderful link.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

We have a wood staircase and a carpeted staircase and I'll tell you, the wood is f-a-r less slippery than the carpeted! We are a no-shoes house and we've a 6 year-old (and it always appears his friends) and a disabled 4.5 year-old (and lots of his Special little friends), and three cats and a dog. The only slipping we've ever had has been on the carpeted stair. I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm just saying that for some reason wood stairs seem to have this myth about being slippery when it's really the carpeted, esp. when no shoes are worn.

But I think the idea is fascinating, and I look forward to seeing your finished stair. Have fun!


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

Have to agree with the above statement. I took the carpet off of our stairs this past year. There were hardwood treads underneath. I stained them and finished them with a few coats of a matte poly. They are far less slippery now than the carpet that was there.

I have 3 kids, now ages 10, 11 and 13. We've had more falls down the carpeted stairs over the years than I care to remember, but none since going with the hardwood. Not saying it can't happen, but it hasn't yet. The only thing carpeted stairs have going for them is they are nicer to fall on when you do slip.

BTW, we don't do shoes in the house, so my kids are always running around in socks.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I agree that wood stairs are not as slippery as thought- at least in my experience with pets and lots of kids in socks, and we have pretty steep 1920's stairs.

I did use Shark Grip when I painted a set of stairs and it is fabulous (easy to use and totally non-slippery) - not sure if it can be added to stain (but you'd need to sand the stairs first I am thinking) but I don't believe that you will need to use it :-)


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I think how safe stairs are without anything on them will depend on the rise and run of the steps. We once lived in an older home with stairs and there was many a time I nearly fell when my foot slipped off the front edge. The stairs had a narrow run and one's foot always landed near the edge when coming down the stairs. In stocking feet or smooth sole shoes........off you went!


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I agree with the other posters.

I had carpeted stairs. SLIPPERY!!! Ripped it out and replaced with hardwood.

The hardwood floors are a lot less slippery. The flat solid hard surface is easier for your feet to grip (when barefooted). Evolution has made our soles pretty good at feeling and gripping all kinds of surfaces.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

This is great to hear! I've always lived in ranches, and the basement staircase in this house has just had the unfinished plywood for *ahem* years, so I have little experience with hardwood stairs of my own. The bare plywood is very slip resistant, by the way. haha.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

SlipDoctors has a product that you spray on. http://www.slipdoctors.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Slip Doctors Anti Slip Spray for Wood Stairs


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

"We have a wood staircase and a carpeted staircase and I'll tell you, the wood is f-a-r less slippery than the carpeted! We are a no-shoes house and we've a 6 year-old (and it always appears his friends) and a disabled 4.5 year-old (and lots of his Special little friends), and three cats and a dog. The only slipping we've ever had has been on the carpeted stair. "

Agreed!

No slippage at all once we removed the carpet!


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

i have found this discussion interesting in the past...i have had the opposite experience-where hardwoods are much more slippery with socks than carpet...wonder if it's how the steps are finished???


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

Just an update -- we still don't have the treads installed (lol) -- DH has to find several days off work to get it done -- but I have finished them. I used Rubio Monocoat partly because of the lack of smell, partly for the look, and partly to avoid a slick poly; and the treads do seem like they'll have a good bit of grip. You can definitely feel the wood grain. We shall see how it works (and how it wears) after we've been walking on it awhile.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

It has been a few years now, and I'm curious as to what northcarolina's opinion is of the Rubio Monocoat finish.

We have been removing the carpet in our house. Our stairs still have carpet and they lead from a lightly stained oak hardwood floor to our daylight basement. I'm considering the Stairtek retread product as a replacement for the carpet. Separately I had stumbled upon the Rubio Monocoat product and had wondered if this might be a good finish for hardwood stair treads. It sounds like it would likely retain the wood's natural traction properties, and as a high traffic area, I like the idea of being able to renew the finish without having to remove the original Monocoat finish.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

Yes, we've had the Monocoat on our basement stairs (low traffic) for about 3 years and on a new hardwood floor in our kitchen (high traffic) for 2 years. To sum up, I like it but DH doesn't. His main objection is that to him, the floor doesn't look finished. I like the matte look and that it doesn't show scuffs or scratches (we have young children and dogs; the fact that the floor is oak might also help with this). DH has pointed out that water doesn't bead up on it quite as well as it does on a poly-coated floor. This hasn't caused any problems so far, but I think he's concerned (understandably) about long-term. We try to blot up any spills pretty quickly, just in case. Both the stairwell and the kitchen floor look pretty much like they did when they were first finished.

The stairwell isn't slippery, but it's not anti-slip either, if that makes sense. I suppose I'd describe it as slip-neutral. We haven't had any trouble with it and I feel secure going up and down it in sock feet.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I have 2 sets of open wood plank stairs. I agree that generally barefoot, sock footed or shoes the wood stairs are less slippery than carpeted. However, my son's visiting Lab has trouble negotiating the steps and last night my Yorkie rolled to the bottom of the steps. I just ordered the SlipDoctor clear spray for wood. I don't want anything noticeable so I thought I'd give it a try. Will keep posted.


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RE: Options to make wood stairs slip resistant?

I am having trouble with my dogs climbing the new wood stair we have recently installed. I saw the SlipDoctor spray also and was wondering if you could tell me how easily is has been to clean. I am worried with the gritty texture that it will hold the dirt and be hard to clean.


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