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Slip-Proof Wooden Steps

achome's picture

Hello all,


I have varnished wooden stairs and somebody already slipped down the steps and broke his toe.  Does anyone have any recommendations as to slip-proofing wooden stairs (aside from carpet treads etc)?  I'm looking for some sort of coating or something to add to the varnish.


 


thanks


Johnny

(post #80783, reply #1 of 18)

anything i can think of, like fine grit added to finish, or a roughing-up with course sandpaper (and then another coat of your sealer) would trap dirt too, and look dingy...

(post #80783, reply #2 of 18)

They sell nice clean bags of sand to put in paint or other resin type finishes.  My True Value Hardware has it.  Lowes has some peel and stick anti-slip tape (looks like black sandpaper).  Works even outdoors on pressure treated lumber.


http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=27300-133-27300&lpage=none

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #80783, reply #3 of 18)

The tape, though, is kind of expensive for what it is. Mine peeled up in about 18 months. Next spring, I'm going to install a stainless steel stair nose and be done with it for good.

(post #80783, reply #4 of 18)

Is that the stuff they use on boats? It seems to work well and must be pretty durable to hold up in extreme conditions.

(post #80783, reply #5 of 18)

What about shallows kerfs cut in the treads? That might be all you need, or you could inset some metal strips to sit just proud of the treads.

(post #80783, reply #6 of 18)

I'm thinking handrail on the wall and shoes on the feet. Doesn't matter much what the treads are if the feet are in slick socks or slippers.
Although I wouldn't recommend waxing them.

Is this an older house with steeper pitch to the stairs?

More about the dynamics of how this fall happened....?

To be sure - most home accidents happen on stairs, even deaths, which is why standards have tightened up on newer homes, but some people jaut shouldn't be allowed to use stairs...

I broke my toe on mine a couple days ago, LOL

 

 


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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80783, reply #7 of 18)

If you broke your toe and you are laughing out loud... well.. you are a good sport!


I've broke a toe once or twice, and I did expressing myself "out loud" but it wasn't laughing... :-)


Edited 1/11/2008 7:19 am ET by Matt

Matt

(post #80783, reply #8 of 18)

The day it happened, I was not LOL. It burned like fire, and the weight of the sock was too much for it. Nice big black knuckle now

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80783, reply #10 of 18)

Piffin-


No it is a new house.  We always go around in socks and I have warned folks about it..My father-in-law slipped down most of the flight and broke his toe.  I've come close to slipping too.  Now I'm pretty careful.


They don't get waxed.


 

(post #80783, reply #11 of 18)

On mine the other day, I slipped going UP the stairs. Think maybe tripped over the mutt trying to go too fast. I landed face full frontal carrying a light bulb that shattered 2" from my nose, and the way I landed more or less gave me parallel bruises every 11.625"

That was on the basement steps. rough 2x1o treads.

Our main flight of finished steps upstairs is a nice gloss finish and I think it was slick at first 'till a little wear took the gloss down some - or maybe we just learned how to walk on them.

Anyways, we have done a lot of exterior treads with sprinkling some sand grit in the still wet finish to give good traction in rain and snow, but somehow that does not feel right for interior work.

A lot of the houses I work on have runners or are still gloss. But many have aged distressing so that the surface - especially near center is peckered up like the surface of a golf ball and those seem to be great for traction, almost like a series of little suction cups. I wonder if there is a way to add that sort of surface without ruining the look of the treads as finished now.

Sure seems like there ought to be a paint on material that would leave things slightly tacky without attracting too much dust and junk. Maybe check at a Sherwin Williams pro paint store.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80783, reply #12 of 18)

--especially near center is peckered up like the surface of a golf ball and those seem to be great for traction, almost like a series of little suction cups. I wonder if there is a way to add that sort of surface without ruining the look of the treads as finished now.--

Makes me think of a meat tenderizer mallet (aluminum) maybe placed and struck with another mallet (wooden).

(post #80783, reply #13 of 18)

I'd hate to see you trash you pretty stairs.


You might simply offer your guest a pair of non-slip socks to wear. They're cheap and you  get many different styles. Some people use these during there Pilates sessions.


Just offer a warning with the socks.


I have a client that wants shoes off in there house. The house has a lot of very slick hardwoods. I simply put a large pair of non-slips over my regular socks and go.


I wish they offered steel toe socks, just in case.


 

 

 

(post #80783, reply #9 of 18)

My first thought is sand.  Had a family summer house with particularly slick painted wooden steps.  After seeing a few fall, added a final coat of paint with some sand sprinkled over it and then brushed in.  White "Play sand" works OK, but really any kind of sand.


If you want to get fancy there is a traction agent that is mixed with the coatings you put on stamped concrete.    We use it around our pool.  Here is a link.  It's somewhat expensive and I don't know how it would mix with varnish.  It's grainy like sand but lighter so it mixes well with the solvent based concrete seal stuff.

Matt

(post #80783, reply #14 of 18)

Used to have a friend who was a boat builder. He said they had some non-slip liquid for boats that had ground walnut shells as the grit. I think that was for paint, but you could maybe find out more with research.

A counter top I saw recently also comes to mind. The kitchen outfit had cut small (1/8") grooves into the wood counter top with a router, then glued in (on edge) small stainless strips that stood about 1/8" proud from the surface. It looked good.


"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

~ Voltaire


"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

~ Voltaire

(post #80783, reply #15 of 18)

Hasbeen-


Someone else also suggested the inlaid tread idea.  Sounds interesting.  Just have to make a router jig.  Might look nice.


thanks


Johnny

(post #80783, reply #16 of 18)

cut Xs in the treads, mabey 1/8 inch deep

 


"I'd rather be a hammer than a nail"

(post #80783, reply #17 of 18)

Paint em with genuine Coca Cola.  Not the diet Coke!  Be just like movie house stairs.

(post #80783, reply #18 of 18)

achrome


We use a product from Sherwin Williams in paint. I think it is called Shark Skin. It provides nice traction on stairs and ramps. It's a really fine powder.


I have no experience with using it in varnish.


My front stairs are varnished (semigloss) and we have no problems with slipping. The maid stairs in the back ( steep) with paint on them can be treacherous in socks. I have learned to tread softly.


Rich