Secrets to Slip-Resistant Concrete
Play it safe with your concrete and make it slip free. Photo Credit: jessicafm
As responsible homeowners, we want our homes to be safe for our family and guests. We go to great lengths to maintain a level of security – from installing home fire alarms to installing GFI outlets in our bathrooms and kitchens. But what about smooth concrete commonly found in garages or on driveways and patios; how safe is the surface and what can be done to make those areas safer?
Let’s face it, smooth concrete, especially color hardened or sealed concrete, is slippery, especially when wet. Dust, which isn’t as obvious as water or oil, can also create a slip hazard. You might not think of preventative measures until someone slips and gets seriously hurt. Let’s take a look at the statistics.
Slip and Fall Statistics
Slips and falls are the:
- Second leading cause of injuries in the U.S.
- First leading cause of accidents in homes.
- Second leading cause for liability claims.
- Of the 9 million slips and falls each year, 25,000 per day require hospital care.
- According to an AARP report, slip and fall accidents account for over 60% of all accidents among adults 65+.
- Of all the slip and falls, 70% happen on flat surfaces.
So, what can you do to prevent injuries and hefty lawsuits? You have a few options.
To increase slip resistance, you need to increase the coefficient of friction of the surface. Freshly poured concrete can be broom finished or textured. Here are your options for existing concrete surfaces:
- Apply a polymer grit additive to the surface; mix gritty material with a sealer before it’s applied.
The quickest and easiest way to create slip resistance is to use polymer grit additives with a sealer. The additives are made from the same plastic used to make 2-liter soda bottles. The plastic is ground into a fine, rough-shaped powder (resembles sand but translucent) that is light and suspended in the sealer. Once the sealer dries, it creates a rough, slip resistant surface. Polymer grit comes in various sizes for varying traction needs. Just like any sealer you will need to reseal occasionally as it does wear over time.
- Apply a textured overlay.
Concrete overlays can be textured or polymer-modified and are commonly used to cover up cracked or stained concrete. They come with decorative options, adhere nicely to existing concrete, and can be applied as thin as 1/16 inch layers or several inches thick. The types of overlays for floor surfaces include decorative interior, concrete resurfacing, self leveling, stamped, and spray-on.
Pros & Cons
The concrete overlays are more expensive but you get a fantastic look with endless possibilities. The grit & sealer provides instant protection that is cost effective but demands maintenance attention.
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