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: A-

HandiTreads are the permanent and most effective solution for minimizing the risk of slips and falls. Even with a treacherous thin layer of ice, the patented raised-button traction surface of the  HandiTreads is uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons dispels thin layers of ice, creating solid contact between the tread and shoe.

The Installation of the aluminum HandiTreads is very simple. There’s no need for time-consuming surface preparation prior to installation. Using a power drill, simply drive in the included color-matched screws into the wood through the existing mounting holes on the treads. Once installed, no maintenance is required for HandiTreads, which are guaranteed to last a lifetime at your home.

While a snow shovel will pull up grit tape in a single stroke and dramatically reduce the longevity of anti-slip paint, they can be safely used with HandiTreads to clear deep snow. 

HandiTreads are available in 4 refined earth-toned shades: Java Brown, Chestnut Brown, Obsidian Black, and New England Gray. They are specially designed to complement or enhance the natural appearance of your wood deck, making them perfect for homeowners who value both safety and home design. 

Because HandiTreads are a lifetime solution with once-and-done installation and maintenance, their initial cost may be higher than other anti-slip products. However, when measured over a three to five year performance period, the investment in HandiTreads is the most cost-effective solution for your front porch or backyard deck.

Total Score: A-

Effectiveness: A
Installation & Maintenance: A
Durability: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A

Non-Slip Grit Tape: D

Anti-slip 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

Effectiveness: D
Installation & Maintenance: C
Durability: F
Initial Price: A
Long-Term Value: D

Heavy Duty Rubber Mats: C

Heavy-duty rubber and fiber mats are not attractive and tend to catch and collect dirt over time.  However, the mats can be an effective, temporary way to increase the traction on a wood deck or porch if properly maintained. 

While heavy-duty rubber and fiber mats handle moisture with ease, these mats must be kept free of snow if they are to be effective in the winter. The deep channels or cut-outs that provide traction can also harbor ice if the snow is packed into the mat, creating a slip and fall hazard in themselves.

Care must be taken when using a snow shovel with rubber mats as even a plastic blade can damage the rubber and render the mat useless. The most effective way to remove snow from fiber or rubber mats is to pull them up and shake them off frequently. This constant maintenance in snowy seasons can become very laborious. 

There is no installation required with mats as they can be laid down in the area where you need the extra traction. While the installation is simple, this also means that mats can easily be moved or turned over if the edge is caught on a shoe. 

Heavy-duty mats are only recommended as an anti-slip solution if they have holes for drainage, have a beveled edge, and are at least 10 pounds. The drainage is necessary so that when the snow melts and refreezes you don’t end up with a tray of ice. The beveled edge reduces the chance that a shoe will catch on the edge of the mat which would actually 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.

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Total Score: C

Effectiveness: C
Installation & Maintenance: C
Durability: C
Initial Price: B
Long-Term Value: C

Grit Paint: C+

A top quality grit paint, like those from Slip Doctor can be used to reduce the slipperiness of a wood porch or deck, but the paint will mask the natural beauty of the wood, but can add a unique flair if you choose one of Dura Grip or Tuff Grip’s ten vibrant colors.

Grit paint can improve the safety of a deck or porch if  it’s a high-quality enamel or epoxy paint, applied meticulously, and maintained properly. Like grit tape, non-slip paints include an aggregate that creates traction. The best anti-slip paints contain aluminum oxide or carborundum that, while encapsulated in the paint, creates a rough, slip resistant surface. We rate the effectiveness of grip paint very high for wet weather, frost, and a dusting of snow.

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 or enamel coating is durable under normal foot traffic, it’s no match for an aluminum 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. 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 size of the area to be covered, grit paint can be a cost effective solution. Grit paint will normally last between three and five years before a re-coat is needed.

Total Score: C+

Effectiveness: B
Installation & Maintenance: C
Durability: C
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: B