Adding rubber anti-skid tread to your home’s indoor or outdoor staircase is an easy DIY (Do-it-yourself) project that will make your stairs safer for family and guests. We all fall sometimes but a fall on a staircase can lead to more serious consequences including serious injuries or even fatality. Stair safety is a big issue that should be taken seriously, especially for business owners, the elderly and families with young children. Rubber anti-slip treads are great, cost efficient ways to keep both indoor and outdoor stairs safe. Both indoor and outdoor anti-slip treads can be easily installed on each individual step with little to no equipment. The rubber material these stair treads are made of are naturally slip resistant making them the perfect addition to making your home safer!
1. Types of Rubber Anti-Slip Stair Treads
There are various styles and designs of anti-slip treads available on the market that is sure to fit your indoor and outdoor staircase safety needs. Depending on what you are looking for, there are different sizes, shapes and designs available for both high and low foot traffic areas. Various surface patterns and textures available for each anti-skid tread provides extra traction and grip to the natural slip resistance qualities rubber offers. These anti-slip treads are perfect for both residential and commercial uses and can be installed using various application methods with little to no equipment.
1(a). Cast Iron Stair Treads
Cast Iron step mats are the most decorative style of anti-skid tread. These types of treads are more focused on style. Cast iron designs not only add a touch of decoration to your home or business, they also provide excellent slip resistance for your stairs. They are made of thicker rubber to prevent the bottoms of your shoes from touching the slick surface of the step underneath each anti-skid tread. The gaps between the intricate designs allow water to drain out, preventing water from pooling and causing unwanted danger. They are great for both indoor and outdoor use and are very affordable. For this type of anti-skid tread, no installation is needed and you may loose lay your anti-slip tread onto each step; however, this is not recommended because it may become unstable after use.
1(b). Stair Treads with Nosing
Anti-slip treads with nosing provides extra protection around the edge of each step. This type of anti-skid tread is made of thinner rubber but provides more protection than the decorative cast iron stair treads. These treads come in various different designs that increase traction with each step. Thanks to the natural and reclaimed rubber of these products, rubber stair treads are very affordable, eco-friendly and durable enough to be used both indoors and outdoors and in commercial settings. For residential installation, it is recommended to use double sided tape adhesive because it is less permanent and allows for easy removal for replacements or repairs. However, you may use glue for a more permanent installation for commercial areas with heavy foot traffic.
Modern designs of rubber stair treads, such as block or coin patterns, enhance the natural traction abilities of rubber and are popular anti-skid tread choices for those looking for protection on heavily traversed staircases. Block surface patterns are inspired by sand-set cobblestones dating back to the third and fourth centuries which were proven to be excellent for road surfaces due to its flexibility. Taking inspiration from the 1950s, coin surface patterns take their inspiration from a more modern time period that celebrated a more industrial style of architecture. No matter what aesthetic you choose, both modern anti-skid tread designs are made specifically for increasing traction with each step. For those looking for extra grip, there are several surface textures available on the market that you can choose from. Two examples of such textures are Grip-Tight and Safety First. The raised and dotted surface texture of these anti-slip treads are added to ensure extra grip to each step.
1(c). Commercial Anti-Slip Treads
Commercial step mats are anti-slip treads that are made specifically for commercial use where there is heavy foot traffic. Commercial step mats are available in two sizes: 10 inches by 36 inches and 10 inches by 28 inches, both having a 1.6-inch nose for safety along the edge of each step. These provide extra grip around the edge of each step as well as adding more grip. Since commercial anti-slip treads are usually used in highly traversed areas, they can be installed permanently by using glue. However, if you want a more temporary installation, you may use double sided tape for easier removal or replacement.
Commercial anti-slip step mats are also available in various different surface patterns for added traction. Coin top and diamond plate are two popular patterns that offers more traction due to its slightly raised surface pattern further enhancing rubber’s natural anti-slip features. Both patterns provide superb grip and traction for step mats in areas that are heavily traversed. For surfaces needing extra grip, surface textures are available with a grit surface. Grit is a sandpaper-like surface pattern that increases grip and traction using its rough surface to grip onto the bottoms of your shoes.
Qualities of Rubber Anti-Slip Stair Treads
Anti-slip treads are made from reclaimed rubber from unused or discarded tires which makes them extremely durable and weatherproof. Rubber, unlike any other material, is naturally resistant to moisture making it the perfect material for making slip resistant steps. Vinyl anti-slip treads, or treads made from any other material, do not have this same ability and may become slick when coming into contact with moisture. Since rubber is naturally a very durable material, it is impervious to the harsh UV rays of the sun, preventing them from discoloring. Unlike stair treads made from other materials, rubber stair treads are designed to last a long time, even when exposed to the elements. There is also the added assurance that the color of each anti-skid tread will not bleed onto the actual step itself. Another advantage of reclaimed rubber, compared to recycled rubber, is that it will not peel or flake after significant use, as recycled rubber would after considerable use, while being ultra affordable at the same time. A win-win!
Why Use Anti-Slip Treads?
The addition of anti-slip treads to your home or business can help you avoid costly liability issues. Slips and falls in or on privately owned property can become a huge liability issue that may lead to lawsuits or hefty fines. The cost of accidental slips and falls in the workplace not only affects the employee, who is probably injured, but the employer as well who has to face the backlash of a possible liability lawsuit as well as losing an employee for an indefinite amount of time. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, accidental slips and falls that result in injury can lead to substantial costs to both employer and employee. For the employer, it can mean the loss of productivity and business along with the cost of training a replacement employee. For the employee, it can lead to a lost wages and other miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills (osha.gov). Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your staircases accident free with the addition of non slip rubber stair treads to avoid liability expenses and consequences, especially in the workplace.
Consequences of Staircase Slips and Falls
Staircases in general will benefit from the addition of an anti-skid tread. One of the most likely conditions that contribute to accidental slips and falls include staircases. About fifteen percent of accidental deaths can be attributed to slips, trips and falls making it the second leading cause of accidental deaths behind motor vehicle accidents (osha.gov). Stairs can be more dangerous for children and older adults who may have difficulties getting around. Falls on stairs can cause serious injury that can lead to fatality, especially for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three million older adults are being treated each year for fall injuries with at least 300,000 being hospitalized because of a head or hip injury (cdc.gov). The frustrating part is that most of these falls could have been avoided using the correct safety measures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends using anti-slip treads on all surfaces where slips and falls are likely to occur to prevent these types of accidents from occurring.
The Dangers of Outdoor Staircases
Outdoor staircases, in particular, are even more prone to being the cause of accidental slips and falls than indoor staircases due to their location outdoors. These staircases can be located outside stores, parking structures, businesses or homes and can become dangerous when exposed to the elements. Moisture can make steps slick and dangerous, especially stairs that are made from smooth materials such as laminate or metal. Staircases that are exposed to such elements will benefit greatly from the addition of anti-slip treads. The rubber material will keep its traction abilities, even when wet, making them the perfect safe guard against unwanted slips and falls.
Increase Traction with Rubber
According to the Webster’s dictionary, “traction” is defined as “the adhesive friction of a body on a surface on which it moves.” To put it simply, traction is the gripping force between two surfaces. Rubber naturally has amazing traction abilities, even when wet, due to it high coefficient of friction. The more you move, the more friction is created giving your feet grip with each step. Anti-slip treads are made from reclaimed rubber which makes them the ideal material for outdoor stair treads. Reclaimed rubber is made through the process of vulcanization using rubber from unused or old tires. The process of vulcanization heats the rubber with sulfur to bind them together giving reclaimed rubber a more solid finish than recycled rubber. The solid finish of reclaimed rubber makes them more resistant to moisture, further preventing slips on stairs while also preventing mold and mildew from forming on each anti-skid tread.
Why Anti-Skid Stair Treads are a Safety Must-Have
An anti-slip tread on each of your steps will increase traction and prevent accidental slips and falls. The rubber material of these safety stair treads makes them extremely durable making them impervious to weather and other damaging forces. Their durability makes them extremely versatile, being able to be used both indoors and outdoors and in residential or commercial areas. The durable rubber material also makes them easy to clean and maintain with a dry mop or broom. Non slip treads for stairs also come in a variety of designs to fit a specific aesthetic so there is no need to forfeit décor for safety. Non slip treads for steps are a cheap insurance policy against injuries, especially for those dangerous outdoor steps.
How to Install Rubber Stair Treads
The installation process of each anti-slip tread is simple and easy enough for anyone to install themselves making it the perfect DIY project. There are three different methods of installing your stair treads depending on where you choose to apply them: loose laying, double sided tape adhesives, and glue. Loose laying is always an option for those who may not have adhesives on hand or for less frequently traversed areas; however, it is not recommended due to its instability. Double sided tape adhesives are recommended for those who want a more temporary installation. This method is for areas with lighter foot traffic such as residential areas and may have to be re-installed seasonally since wet seasons may affect the tape’s adhesiveness. For a more permanent and sturdy installation you may use glue to install your stair treads. Glue is recommended for commercial areas where there is heavier foot traffic since it is sturdier with less of a chance of shifting. However, since the product is glued down, it is harder to remove and replace an anti-slip tread if it is damaged.
What to Do Before Installing Anti-Slip Treads
To ensure the safety of your staircase, it is extremely important to follow the correct steps in preparing your stairs for the installation of anti-slip treads. Before installing a stair tread, it is important to sweep away any loose debris from the step to ensure a sturdy application since extra debris and dirt can increase the chances of slipping and falling. Fixing damaged steps is also an important factor to remember before installing these step mats. Damaged or broken steps can contribute to other dangers that can cause falls. According to OSHA, one of the leading causes of falls on staircases, aside from slipping on smooth surfaces, includes tripping on broken or uneven steps (osha.gov). Fixing broken steps will ensure that each tread is fastened securely on each step to prevent accidental falls. Since anti-slip treads are made using solid reclaimed rubber, moisture is susceptible to pooling and may contribute to unwanted slips. Therefore, it is important that outdoor staircases have a good drainage system before installing slip resistant treads to prevent this from occurring.
How Long Will Rubber Anti-Slip Stair Treads Last?
Rubber is an extremely durable material. As mentioned before, rubber step treads are made from vulcanized reclaimed rubber from unused and old tires which allows them to stay unaffected by moisture. The durability of the vehicle tires reclaimed rubber is made from is reflected in the performance of rubber anti-slip treads in various different conditions. Rubber has excellent indoor and outdoor life that is impervious to harsh weather conditions, heavy foot traffic and other damaging forces making rubber treads for stairs a long-lasting solution to stair safety.
Adding an anti-slip tread to each of your steps at home or at your business can prove to be a safety measure that is worth the investment. Not only will these rubber step treads provide safe travels up and down your family stairs at home, they can also prevent accidents in and out of business buildings that can potentially lead to a lawsuit. Not only are rubber anti-slip treads easy to install and maintain, the rubber material of these treads also adds to its durability, even in unforgiving weather conditions. You do not need to sacrifice your home’s décor for safety as these stair treads come in various different designs that can provide extra protection against moisture. Therefore, anti-slip treads are the best option for you to keep you and your family safe!