Customized Stop-the-Slip Solutions
For Your Unique Conditions
Problem Area: Slippery Outdoor Concrete Ramp
Your Stop-the-Slip Solutions Graded:
Handi-Treads are the most effective, long-lasting solution for minimizing the risk of slips and falls on concrete ramps. These ramps are often designed and created to offer wheelchair access to homes, commercial, government and public buildings. Because the ramps are inclined, they encourage slips and falls especially when external conditions like rain, algae or snow exist.
Handi-Treads work very well on ramps of all sizes because they provide exceptional grip under the most challenging conditions. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons pushes away the layer of moisture, frost or up to an inch of snow, creating solid contact between the tread and sneaker, shoe or boot.
Installation of the aluminum Handi-Treads is simple as you can see in these installation instructions, but you will need concrete lags for installation. Unlike grit paint, there’s no need for the critical, time-consuming surface preparation. Once installed, no maintenance is required for Handi-Treads, which are guaranteed to last a lifetime in consumer applications.
If you live in an area where it snows, you can use a snow shovel on your Handi-Treads without fear of damage to the treads. This is not the case with grit tape, rubber mats or even anti-slip paint.
The initial cost to fit a concrete ramp with Handi-Treads will be higher than less effective and less durable alternatives, but the payback will come quickly in the form of less maintenance and a substantially longer product life. We recommend spacing the treads at four inches apart, but have seen successful installations with longer intervals. Using four-inch spacing, a 5-foot ramp would require approximately 15 treads.
When the value of Handi-Treads is calculated over a three to five year performance period, the investment in Handi-Treads is often the most-cost effective solution.
Total Score: A-
Installation & Maintenance: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A
Non-Slip Grit Tape: D
Anti-slip tape cannot be used on bare concrete because the surface can’t be successfully cleaned and the adhesive will quickly fail as the concrete allows moisture to seep up through its surface, degrading the paper-backed tape. Grit tape can be used on some sealed or painted concrete ramps as a short-term fix to reduce slips and falls due to rain or light frost. Grit tape is not effective in snowy weather.
Generally speaking there is no maintenance necessary or possible with grit tape. However, snow removal from the tape can be a real challenge as a snow shovel can quickly pull up the tape from the concrete surface. The inability to do more than brush snow off non-slip tape makes it useless once the snow becomes compacted and icy on the ramp.
The proper installation of Non-Slip Grip Tape does require a bit of effort because of the surface preparation required. It is critical that the smooth painted or sealed concrete surface be clean, dry and in good shape. Once the surface preparation is complete, installation will proceed quickly.
If a lifespan on outdoor concrete ramp of six months to a year is acceptable to you, grit tape can be an inexpensive temporary solution.
Total Score: D
Installation & Maintenance: C
Initial Price: A
Long-Term Value: D
Heavy Duty Rubber Runners: C-
Heavy duty rubber runners are not attractive and tend to catch and collect dirt over time. However, the runners can be an effective, temporary way to increase the traction on a concrete ramp. On the downside, the more aggressive the tread or traction pattern on the runners, the more difficult it will be for wheelchair users to climb the ramp.
While rubber runners handle moisture with ease, they must be kept free of snow if they are to be effective in the winter. The channels or cut outs that provide traction in the wet can also hold ice and snow. Care must be taken when using a snow shovel with rubber runners as even a plastic blade can cut the rubber. Snow is best removed from the heavy duty rubber runners by picking them up off the concrete ramp and shaking the snow off. This procedure must be repeated several times during a heavy snow, increasing both the time and cost required to use them as a slip-and-fall solution.
Rubber mats must also be cleaned fairly frequently as dirt and debris are easily caught and captured in the grooves or holes that provide traction and drainage.
There is no installation required with mats as they can be laid down in the area where you need the extra traction.
Depending upon thickness and quality of the rubber mat material you can expect the mat to last 2 to 4 years.
Total Score: C-
Installation & Maintenance: D
Initial Price: B
Long-Term Value: C
Grit Paint: B+
Grit paint is an excellent way to reduce slipperiness on both bare concrete and finished concrete ramps. A high quality grit paint, like Slip Doctor’s Dura Grip and Tuff Grip epoxy paints, can greatly improve the safety of a concrete surface if it’s 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 are encapsulated in the paint and create a rough, slip resistant surface. We rate the effectiveness of grip paint very high for wet weather, frost, and light snow.
The quality of the paint used and proper application is critical to the longevity of anti-slip paint. If the concrete is in good shape, it is cleaned and prepared properly, and the paint is applied according to instructions, you can anticipate that grit 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 ramp 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 length of the ramp, grit paint can be a cost effective solution, even with the need to repaint.