Customized Stop-the-Slip Solutions
For Your Unique Conditions
Although they are beautiful in appearance, wood porches and decks can become slip and fall hazards especially in weather conditions like rain or snow. When wood is wet, it has less traction and can encourage slips, trips, and falls. In colder climates, snow and ice can also collect on the wood, creating another safety hazard.
Your Stop-the-Slip Solutions Graded:
HandiTreads Deck Treads: A
If fall leaves, moss, mold, rain, snow, or ice create dangerous slippery spots on your wood porch or deck, HandiTreads Deck Treads are the most effective, long-lasting solution for minimizing the risk of slips and falls. Even with a treacherous thin layer of moss, leaves, or ice, the raised traction buttons of the deck treads are uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons disperses the layer of water, frost, or snow, creating solid contact between the tread and shoe. Unlike other anti-slip products, HandiTreads Deck Treads can be safely cleared of deep snow using a snow shovel without fear of damage.
Installation of the aluminum HandiTreads Deck Treads is very simple. In contrast to the multi-task effort required to install traction tape or grit paint, there’s no need for time-consuming surface preparation prior to installation. Once installed, no maintenance is required for the deck treads which come with a lifetime residential warranty.
Available in four refined earth-toned shades: Obsidian Back, Java Brown, Chestnut Brown, and New England Gray, HandiTreads Deck Treads blend into the existing beauty of the wood or create a pleasant contrast. The included color-matched screws allow for easy installation and enhanced cohesiveness.
HandiTreads Deck Treads are guaranteed to last a lifetime in your home, meaning they will not need to be replaced like other anti-slip solutions. Because of their astounding durability and lifelong performance, HandiTreads are the most cost-effective solution for slip, trip, and fall prevention.
Total Score: A
Installation & Maintenance: A
Initial Price: B
Long-Term Value: A
Non-Slip Grit Tape: D
Anti-slip grit tape can be used in some outdoor wooden porches and decks as a short-term fix to reduce slips and falls. The grit embedded into the tape provides good traction in dry and slightly wet conditions. However, grit tape does not perform well in sleet, icy, or snowy conditions.
The proper installation of non-slip grip tape requires more effort than one may assume. It is crucial that the wood surface, whether stained or painted, is meticulously cleaned, dry, and in good shape. Heavily grained, uneven, or splintering wood reduces the ability of the tape’s adhesive to bond to the wood porch or deck.
There is no maintenance that can or should be done to the tape other than to be very careful of the edges and corners, which can be easily pulled up. Once a corner or edge begins to peel, the grit tape will quickly deteriorate. The use of snow shovels on grit tape will almost certainly pull the tape up from the wood deck, rendering it useless.
Grit tape can be an inexpensive temporary solution if you are comfortable with a product life of about 6 months to a year. However, when yearly replacement costs are factored in, grit tape usually ends up costing homeowners more than a single installation of a permanent anti-slip product like HandiTreads.
Total Score: D
Installation & Maintenance: C
Initial Price: A
Long-Term Value: D
Heavy Duty Rubber or Fiber Mats: C+
Heavy-duty rubber or fiber mats can be an effective, temporary way to increase traction in certain areas of a wood deck or porch. Industrial-quality rubber mats are frequently associated with professional kitchens where their ability to improve traction on wet tile floors make them a common feature. These very same qualities make them a good candidate to reduce the risk of slips and falls in certain wet areas of your porch or deck.
While they handle moisture with ease, heavy-duty “anti-fatigue” rubber mats must be kept free of snow if they are to be effective in the winter. The deep channels or cutouts that provide traction in wet conditions can also hold ice if the snow is not cleaned off the rubber mat.
Care must be taken when using a snow shovel with rubber mats as even a plastic blade can cut the rubber. Fiber mats are also susceptible to cutting if a metal snow shovel is used. The best way to clean mats of snow is to lift them up and shake them off. With heavy mats weighing 15 to 20 pounds and measuring four or five feet in length, this can be a repetitive challenge in the winter months.
There is no installation required with mats as they can be laid down in the area where you need the extra traction. However, since the mats are not screwed into place, they can sometimes catch the edge of a shoe, creating a slip and fall hazard in themselves.
Rubber or fiber mats are only recommended if you purchase ones that have holes for drainage, have a beveled edge, and are at least 10 pounds. The drainage is necessary so that melting snow will not refreeze into a tray of ice on your mat. The beveled edge reduces the chance that you’ll catch a toe on the edge of the mat, which would cause you or a loved one to fall. Finally, the weight of the mat is important so that you can’t accidentally move it when using it for traction.
Depending upon the thickness and quality of the rubber or fiber mat material you can expect the mat to last 1 to 3 years.
Total Score: C+
Installation & Maintenance: B
Initial Price: B
Long-Term Value: C
Grit Paint: B+
Grit paint, especially the proven traction paints by Slip Doctor that we carry, can reduce slipperiness in specific areas of a wood porch or deck. The only challenge is matching or complementing the finish of your existing deck color. If you can overcome the aesthetics, you’ll be very pleased!
Grit paint can improve the safety of a deck or porch if it is applied carefully and it’s maintained properly. Like grit tape, non-slip paints include an aggregate that creates traction. The best anti-slip paints, like those from Slip Doctor, contain aluminum oxide or carborundum that, while encapsulated in the paint, create a rough, slip-resistant surface. We rate the effectiveness of grit paint very high for wet weather, frost, and a slight bit of snow.
The quality of the paint and proper application is critical to the longevity of grit paint. If the wood is in good shape, it is cleaned and prepared properly, and the paint is applied according to instructions, you can anticipate that anti-slip paint will last 3 to 5 years under normal consumer traffic.
Anti-slip paints on exterior surfaces are, by and large, maintenance free. However, if you live where it snows you need to be very careful not to aggressively shovel the area painted with grit paint. While the epoxy coating is durable under normal foot traffic, it’s no match for an aluminum or even plastic snow shovel. Once you start to scrape way the thin paint layer covering the aggregate, the system will quickly degrade.
The cost of a high-quality grit paint can run between $120 and $160 a gallon, so that’s something to consider. In addition, you’ve got the consumable cost of paint brushes or rollers, trays, sandpaper, masking tape, and drop cloths. When all costs are factored, and depending upon the number of stairs, grit paint can be an excellent solution.