Tile Floor Anti-Slip Treatments

Anti-Slip Tile Treatments

By Troy Cantini

Tile floors have a measure of slip resistance termed the Coefficient of Friction or COF.  COF is a number from 0 to 1 where the higher the number the greater is the tiles slip resistance. It is best to choose a suitable type of slip resistant tile for your particular tile installation. Adding a slip resistant application to tiles is possible but it is better to choose a slip resistant tile in the first place.

black slate tiles with glossy sealer

The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act recommends having a COF of greater then .6 for all types of floors when they are dry as well as wet.  A COF of greater then .6 will substantially reduce the risk of someone slipping and falling on your tile floor. Having a tile floor with a COF of greater then .6 can also reduce your risk of potential litigation should someone actually slip and fall on your tile floor.

  • Topical non slip tile treatments.

  • Non-Topical non slip tile treatments. 

Topical non slip tile treatments have many potential problems.  The topical treatment over time will get dirt and grime trapped in it causing it to look dull and lifeless. Additionally there can be adhesion problems where the topical coating delaminates from the tile surface and peels away. Also these types of topical treatments can yellow when exposed to sunlight.

With all the potential problems with topical anti slip tile treatments it is easy to see why a non topical anti slip tile treatment is the latest and best approach to making your tile floor slip resistant.  Non topical anti slip tile treatments work by micro etching the tile surface creating millions of tiny holes in the tile surface. When the tile is dry you will not feel much of a difference in the slip resistance. It is when the tile gets wet and the potential for slipping on the tile surface increases that these non topical anti slip tile treatments excel. The micro etching holes act like millions of tiny suction cups essentially gripping any object that comes in contact with it. The effect is that the slippage is greatly reduced on the treated tiles.

The companies that produce the non topical anti slip tile treatments have slightly different formulations for their products.  All of these formulations use acidic formulations to create the micro etching. The acid is specially formulated to etch the tile surface in a way that does not damage or significantly alter the appearance of the tile. Additionally these treatment products are made to only react with the tile surface and not harm the grout. There are different formulations for the various types of stone tiles and there is also a significantly different and stronger formula for ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Typically there will be a slight difference in the appearance of ceramic and porcelain tiles when the non topical anti slip tile treatment is applied. The more glossy the tiles are to start with the greater the difference you will see when the anti slip treatment is applied. The micro abrasions in the tile surface will serve to dull and diminish the glossiness of the ceramic or porcelain tiles.

non slip tile treatment on ceramic tiles

The greatest difference in appearance to the tile surfaces occurs when the non topical anti slip treatment is applied to glossy stone tiles such as marble, granite or limestone.  The micro etch process will cause the tiles to take on a more honed look where the tile surface looses its glossy appearance.  The change in look of the tile surface is something you should consider when you are thinking about applying a non slip tile treatment. Many anti slip tile treatment contractors will do a demonstration on a spare or out of the way tile so you can see first hand how the tile surface will look and feel after the anti slip tile treatment is applied.

anti slip tile treatment on stone tiles

Anti slip tile treatments can be a great way to reduce your risk of injuries and potential litigation.  Some companies will sell you their non slip tile treatments for you to apply by yourself. These products do contain potentially harmful acidic products that can cause injury so you may want to consider hiring a contractor to apply the non slip tile treatment. Additionally most contractor have professional cleaning and extraction equipment to apply and rinse away all the residue from these non slip tile treatments without damaging your home or business.

Applying a non slip tile treatment can be a dangerous task.  Non slip tile treatments use dangerous acids that can cause physical harm if not applied correctly. Applying non slip tile treatments should generally be left to professional tile cleaning and restoration contractors.

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