Customized Stop-the-Slip Solutions
For Your Unique Conditions
Your Stop-the-Slip Solutions Graded:
If rain, snow or ice create dangerous slippery spots on your wood porch or deck, Handi-Treads are the most effective, long-lasting solution for minimizing the risk of slips and falls. Even with a treacherous thin layer of ice, the raised traction buttons of Handi-Treads are uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons cracks thin layers of ice, creating solid contact between the tread and sneaker, shoe or boot.
Installation of the aluminum Handi-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 Handi-Treads, which are guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Don’t worry about shoveling snow off of Handi-Treads. Even with an aluminum shovel, you won’t damage to the treads. A snow shovel will pull up grit tape in a single stroke and will dramatically reduce the longevity of anti-slip paint.
Because Handi-Treads are a lifetime solution with once-and-done installation and maintenance, their initial cost is higher. When measured over a three to five year performance period, the investment in Handi-Treads is the most-cost effective solution for your front porch or backyard deck.
Total Score: A-
Installation & Maintenance: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A
Non-Slip Grit Tape: D
Anti-slip tape can be used in some outdoor wooden porch and deck situations as a short-term fix to reduce slips and falls. Rain and frost are easily dealt with by grit embedded into the tape, provided that the tape has adhered to the wood.
For the most part, grit tape that you can buy at Home Depot or Amazon is not appropriate for outdoor use, despite what is claimed. There is no tape-based adhesive that can realistically stand up to rain, snow and the inevitable heat and thaw cycles.
The proper installation of Non-Slip Grip Tape does require a bit of effort. First, it’s important that the wood surface, whether stained or painted, is clean, 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’s no maintenance that can or should be done to the tape other than to be very careful of the edges and corners. Once a corner or edge begins to peel, the grip tape will quickly deteriorate. In snowy weather you must brush the snow off grit tape with a broom. The use of a snow shovel will peel up the tape almost immediately.
If you’re comfortable with a lifespan on outdoor wood steps of six months to a year, grit tape can be an inexpensive temporary solution.
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 the 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 cut outs that make them “grippy” in the wet 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 challenge.
There is no installation required with mats as they can be laid down in the area where you need the extra traction.
We can only recommend rubber mats if you purchase ones that (1) have holes for drainage, (2) have a beveled edge, and (3) are at least 10 pounds. The drainage is necessary so that when snow melts and refreezes you don’t end up with a tray of ice. The beveled edge reduces the chance that you’ll catch a toe 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 thickness and quality of the rubber or fiber mat material you can expect the mat to last 2 to 4 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 consder. 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.