Anti-slip Floor Treatments
Anti-slip floor treatments are a proven, cost-effective way of making existing floors safer if it is shown that the inherent floor surface itself is slippery when wet.
We conduct 10,000s of m2 of anti-slip treatments each year. Because we are not a manufacturer, nor tied to any particular supplier, we can choose the best-in-class treatment for a specific floor’s requirements.
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How do I know if I need an anti-slip treatment?
Treatments should only be used on floor surfaces that are inherently too slippery for their environment. We’ve seen cases over the years where a harsh, acid-based treatment has been recommended when in fact a good deep clean would have been sufficient without needing to damage the surface of the tiles.
The only way to know for sure if you need a treatment is by using pendulum test data. Without this, you are simply guessing and may get it wrong.
On an existing, used floor, the test should measure the “as found” slip resistance but in the event that this is below where it should be, a thorough deep clean test should then be undertaken. Be aware that it is possible to aesthetically clean a surface but leave it nonetheless slippery, so we suggest you consult a specialist to ensure that the cleaning methodology chosen is appropriate.
If, even after an effective deep clean, the floor remains slippery, that’s when a treatment can be used.
Anti-slip treatment versus replacing the floor
The rationale for a treatment instead of replacement is based mostly around cost. To rip up and replace 200m2 of tiles, for example, would take several days of business interruption therefore loss of revenue but also in materials alone cost perhaps £40-50 per m2 not to mention labour.
An anti-slip treatment, conversely, can be done out-of-hours with no impact on your operations and for under £20 per m2.
How do chemical anti-slip treatments work?
Chemical treatments are designed for tiled and stone surfaces. They do not work on wood, vinyl etc. A chemical reaction causes a change in the surface of the floor, thereby increasing its slip resistance.
As we are not tied in with any particular supplier we are able to scour the market for all the different types of treatment available. The most common type of treatment by far are acidic treatments, though often installers or manufacturers will try to claim that their products are not in the acidic category. These work by attacking the surface of the floor to change its micro-texture. There are varying degrees of strength – and therefore outcome – of acidic treatments available.
We also have access to other chemical-based methods of achieving the same kinds of PTV results but without attacking the surface which also enables the shine to remain in place.
We use various types of treatment depending on the specific requirement of the client and the floor.
How do anti-slip coatings work?
On surfaces where a chemical reaction isn’t possible, a coating including some kind of aggregate must be used to increase the slip resistance.
The predominant types of coatings are polyurethane and resin-based.
Coatings typically require both more intensive floor preparation and longer curing times than chemical treatments.
What other methods are available for anti-slip treating floors?
On tiles and stone, there are mechanical methods to increase slip resistance. The two most common are blasting and honing. Both work by attacking the surface to roughen it up and thereby increasing its slip resistance.
Neither are recommended by any floor suppliers that we are aware of due to the huge changes they produce to the surface.
What are the pros and cons of anti-slip treatment?
We can help you to assess in detail the pros and cons of different options. As with many things in life, it often comes down to a balanced approach to find the right outcome to suit you and your needs.
How long do anti-slip treatments last?
All floors wear and all new floors come with an expected lifecycle – for example a tile might be 20 years. During that 20 years the top micro surface of the tile will wear away with traffic and use.
Given treatments are attached to the top surfaces of floors, they too will wear away.
The expected lifespan of a treatment can vary from under 1 year for some acidic treatments to 10 years for some resins.
However, the effectiveness of all treatments will depend to a large extent on how well they are maintained post-installation. Again, as with a non-treated floor: if you don’t clean it effectively it may become slippery and / or contaminated.
Are treated floors harder to clean?
It is a myth that anti-slip treatments make floors harder to clean. This simply isn’t the case if you compare apples with apples.
Yes, if you have a smooth vinyl and then introduce a textured anti-slip coating on top of it, the treated area will attract more dirt than the smooth section – because it’s got more grip.
Yes, if you have a polished marble and treat half the floor to make it safe whilst still maintaining its sheen, the treated part of the floor is likely to collect dirt more than the untreated part.
But we shouldn’t compare treated and untreated: we should compare treated to be anti-slip with inherently anti-slip…
It is no more difficult to clean a vinyl coated with an anti-slip polyurethane than to clean a brand new anti-slip vinyl floor with the same slip resistance.
It is no more difficult to clean a smooth, polished treated tile than it is to clean a rough anti-slip tile with the same slip resistance.
Where problems arise is that people forget that the floors are now anti-slip and expect them to be as easy to clean as a smooth, slippery floor.
How must we maintain our floor after an anti-slip treatment?
Many installers and manufacturers will recommend proprietary chemicals for you to use post-treatment. Often, in the case of tiled and stone floors, these are simply diluted down versions of the acidic treatment itself because the supplier knows that the treatment will only last if topped up.
We at Slip Safety Services do not recommend specific products. We will help you to assess the best cleaning methodology using the tools and products available to you.
We can help you to assess where to start
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