Customized Stop-the-Slip Solutions
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Reducing Slips and Falls on Concrete Steps

If you live in a state where you experience even a little freezing and snow, concrete steps present a special slip-and-fall hazard in the winter.  Not only does ice build up faster on concrete than on wood, within a year or two, concrete stairs can begin to crack and chip.  Once the edges of a concrete stair tread start to crack, they become slip and fall hazards. 

Your Stop-the-Slip Solutions Graded:

Aluminum Non-Slip Nosings: A-

Handi-Treads Non-Slip Nosings are an exceptional solution for a concrete stairway that is chipping or cracking, especially along the front edge of the steps. Because the aluminum nosings wrap around the edge of the cement tread they protect it from further deterioration while stabilizing the the entire step.
Non-Slip Nosings Work Great on Concrete and Wood
Installed On Chipped Concrete Steps, Nosings Provide Structural Support
Installation of the non-slip nosings on concrete stairs is straight-forward with only simple hand tools and concrete anchor pins required.  Once installed, no maintenance is required for Handi-Treads Non-Slip Nosings which are guaranteed to last a lifetime in residential environments.

You can use a snow shovel (without a steel edge) on your non-slip nosings without fear of damage. Our suggestion to clear the steps from snow is to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. This method will insure that you’re always stepping on a step and nosing that’s been cleared of snow.

Because Handi-Treads aluminum nosings are a lifetime solution with once-and-done installation and maintenance, their initial cost is higher. When calculated over a three to five year performance period however, the investment in Handi-Treads is often the most-cost effective solution.


Total Score: A-

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

Handi-Treads: A-

Handi-Treads are a very effective, long-lasting solution for minimizing the risk of slips and falls on concrete steps. The raised traction buttons of the aluminum tread are self-wiping and shed water, dirt and algae in the summer and resist icy build-up in the winter. When you step on the rigid raised aluminum buttons, the layer of moisture, frost or up to an inch of snow is pushed away creating solid contact between the tread and sneaker, shoe, or boot.
Handi-Treads Can Be Shoveled In Winter
Installation of the aluminum Handi-Treads on concrete stairs requires only a few hand tools and concrete anchor pins.  Once installed, no maintenance is required for Handi-Treads which are guaranteed to last a lifetime in residential environments.

Unlike grit paint, rubber mats and other solutions, the non-slip aluminum treads are fine with a snow shovel, as long as it doesn’t have a sharp steel edge.  

Total Score: A-

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

Rubber or Door Mat Style Treads: C-

While door mat style and rubber treads can be used on raw concrete stairs, their lack of structural rigidity can lead to significant problems. The only safe way to affix the rubber or fiber treads to concrete is with the use of lags and screws.  Because mats have no self-sustaining structure, if any one one of the lags gives way, that corner of the door mat or rubber tread can pop up, creating a slip-and-fall hazard itself. The lack of structural rigidity also encourages lags to become loose which then allows water to seep into the drilled hole and to degrade the contact further.

hotflake rubber mats attached to bare concreteBoth rubber and door mat style treads can be effective in wet and winter weather if they are kept free of snow. Care must be taken when using a snow shovel with rubber treads as even a plastic blade can cut the rubber. Snow can be removed from door mat style treads with a shovel fairly easily as long as care is taken not to lodge the shovel under the edge of the tread.

Some rubber stair treads suggest that it is acceptable to use adhesive caulk to secure rubber or door mat treads to painted cement. We think this is poor advice as concrete is prone to spalling, which is similar to paint peeling.

There is no maintenance that can be performed on rubber or door mat style stair treads.  Deeply patterned or cut treads collect dirt in the gaps and must be cleaned using a leaf blower or water during the summer. 

Depending upon thickness and quality of the material you can expect rubber or door mat style treads to last 2 to 3 years.

Total Score: C-

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

Grit Paint: C+

Grit paint can reduce slipperiness on raw concrete stairs in most environmental conditions. Grit paint can improve the safety of a deck or porch if (1) it’s a high-quality enamel or epoxy paint, (2) it’s applied meticulously and (3) it’s maintained properly. 

Grit Paint is No Match For Flaking, Deteriorating Concrete Steps

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, create a rough, slip resistant surface. We rate the effectiveness of grip paint very high for wet weather, frost, and a dusting of snow.

Non-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 stairs painted with grit paint. While the epoxy or enamel 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 $60 and $120 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 number of stairs, grit paint can be one of the most expensive solutions.

Grit paint, properly applied, can be expected to last 2 to 4 years on raw concrete steps.

Total Score: C+

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