Slippery floors are hazards, but they have nothing on slippery stairs. One wrong step on a slippery staircase can land you in the emergency room. You need to watch out for those slick stairs and save yourself from potential injury. If you have laminate flooring over your staircase, you may have dealt with grip-related issues in the past. Addressing that should be your priority as a homeowner.
You can reduce how slippery your laminate flooring stairs are by using anti-slip treatment, installing edgings, or cleaning regularly. Adding a stair runner is also a good temporary fix for the aforementioned problem. Long-term, you may want to consider installing laminate stairs with a higher wear rating to prevent slipping.
A slippery staircase is a genuine hazard in any home. Find out what you can do to fix your slippery laminate stairs by continuing with this article.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Laminate Stairs Become Slippery?
- How to Reduce the Slipperiness of Your Laminate Stairs
- Related Questions
Why Do Laminate Stairs Become Slippery?
Laminate flooring tends to naturally be slippery. That’s due in large part to the topmost coating over the floorboards.
Manufacturers need to consider numerous factors while creating that external layer. For instance, they need to consider the fact that it will be exposed to plenty of wear and tear. You can’t make that layer too sticky or else it will be tough to move things over it. A balance must be struck when creating that topmost layer. In some cases though, that outer coating still tends to be a bit slippery.
The slipperiness of the laminate flooring only increases after you wax or polish it. Waxing or polishing the laminate material further decreases the amount of friction it generates. That’s why waxing and polishing are not recommended for laminate flooring.
Allowing dirt particles to accumulate over your laminate flooring is also not ideal. The layer of dirt can contribute to making those stairs even more slippery.
How to Reduce the Slipperiness of Your Laminate Stairs
One near slip on a staircase is enough to make you very aware of how slippery they are. Don’t hesitate to take action if that happens to you. Try out the different methods for reducing the slipperiness of your laminate stairs and make your home safer in the process.
Choose Higher Rated Laminate Flooring
You will have a choice to make when it comes to which materials are used to build your staircase. To be more specific, you will have to choose what type of abrasion criteria rating you want for the laminate stairs.
The abrasion criteria or wear rating corresponds to the topmost layer covering the laminate flooring. The rating specifically hints at just how durable that outermost layer is. While looking through the available options, you may also notice that the abrasion criteria rating breaks down into different levels. There are five levels available going from AC1 all the way up to AC5.
The rule for AC ratings is that the higher the number, the greater the amount of wear the layer can take. Basically, AC2 can endure more traffic than AC1 and it goes on from there. There’s a 60 percent increase in how much wear the layer can take as the ratings go up by each level. That means we’re talking about a significant increase in durability here.
Now, the key thing for us to note here is that the higher-rated layers are less slippery. If you want stairs that are very slip-resistant, you should choose the AC5 laminate. Going that high may not be necessary though.
For the average household, AC2 or AC3 flooring should suffice even for commonly used areas like staircases. AC2 and AC3 flooring is also a better fit inside homes from an aesthetic standpoint. That’s because they feature a more distinctive look compared to the higher options.
One more thing to note here is that the laminate stairs with higher ratings are more expensive. Paying extra for safer stairs is worth it though.
Use Anti-Slip Treatment
Perhaps you already chose your laminate flooring before you were aware of the difference AC ratings can make. That’s fine because you can still do things to make your staircase less slippery. Applying some form of anti-slip treatment is a potential solution you can try.
Anti-slip treatment can come in the form of a spray or a floor finish. Either one will work for your laminate staircase. Before you coat your entire staircase with the treatment, try it out on a small spot first. See how it looks and feels before deciding if you want to use it. If you ultimately decide to use the anti-slip treatment, the application is very simple.
Start by mopping the laminate flooring and then letting it dry. Once the laminate has dried, you can start applying the anti-slip treatment with a roller. Get the coat as even as possible.
Let the first coat of the anti-slip treatment dry then check how many layers are recommended by the manufacturers. Keep applying the anti-slip treatment until the instructions indicate that you’re done.
Install Stair Edgings
Some staircases in office buildings feature strips of materials over their steps. Those are known as stair edgings.
Apart from being decorative elements, stair edgings serve the more important purpose of preventing slips and falls. Consider having some of those stair edgings installed if you’re dealing with slippery stairs at home.
Stair edgings are made from different materials including aluminum, bronze, and PVC. Flexible PVC should be good enough for a home setting. The edgings with ridges also provide more traction, thus making them more suitable for slippery staircases.
Add Strips of Tape to Your Staircase
This suggestion is essentially a riff on stair edgings. Stair edgings can be somewhat costly so you may not be able to afford them right away. In that case, you may want to go with a temporary fix.
Strips of tape can work as temporary stand-ins for stair edgings. They definitely won’t look as nice as stair edgings, but they can still make your stairs safer. You should use textured tape for your staircase. If you cannot find that, masking tape can work as well.
Cover the Laminate Stairs with Stair Runners
Another way to remedy the problem related to the slippery staircase is to use a stair runner. Stair runners are similar to carpets. The main difference is that they’re designed to be used on staircases.
Stair runners are long but narrow. They cover the majority of each step along the staircase while leaving the two sides bare. You’re less likely to slip and fall with a runner in place. Runners are also great because they give you another opportunity to decorate your home. Choose stair runners that blend into your home’s color scheme or create some contrast with them.
By the way, when shopping for stair runners, remember to pick one with rubber backing. The rubber backing helps the runner cling better to the stairs. Without it, the runner will be slippery as well.
Alternatively, you can also place a floor mat below the stairs. That should prevent anyone from going up the stairs with wet feet and slipping in the process.
Clean the Laminate Stairs Regularly
Lastly, homeowners should also clean their laminate stairs regularly if they want to make them less slippery. Cleaning the stairs should be done in two stages.
Start with either sweeping or vacuuming the stairs. We recommend vacuuming because it’s more thorough and works better on those small dirt particles. Remember to use the softer attachments when vacuuming your laminate stairs in order to preserve their appearance.
After vacuuming, you can proceed to mopping. Go ahead and mix two parts of water together with one part of vinegar. You’ll be using that mixture as the cleaning agent because it excels at removing waxy residue.
Go over the steps carefully then drain your mop. Soak your mop with some water then go over the steps again. To finish up, squeeze the mop dry before using it to remove the excess water from the stairs. You can also let the steps air dry.
You can also use a commercial cleaner if you prefer. Just avoid cleaners that contain oil, wax, or some other kind of polish because they’ll end up making the stairs slippery.
Will Acclimating the Laminate Flooring Make Your Stairs Safer?
Acclimating laminate flooring entails allowing the floorboards to remain unused for a short period of time. Typically, manufacturers will recommend leaving the floorboards alone for at least 48 hours before you install them.
Acclimation allows the floorboards to adjust to the conditions in your area. By acclimating the floorboards, you significantly lower the chances that something will go wrong during installation. That’s because all the planks will not suddenly swell up or contract after they’re already installed.
You should also acclimate any floorboards you intend to use for your stairs. Since acclimating the floorboards keeps them from buckling or breaking, big gaps won’t form along the steps. You won’t accidentally trip on a gap that emerged over one step of your staircase.
What Type of Footwear Should You Use on Laminate Stairs?
Shoes with thermoplastic rubber soles are good to wear on laminate stairs. They grip the laminate material better so they will help steady your movements. If you cannot fix your stairs just yet, wear those shoes instead in order to avoid slipping.