How to Make Porch Steps Slip Resistant

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Porch steps receive repeated daily use from homeowners and visitors coming and going. Concrete, wood, metal and composite surfaces can become slippery and pose a hazard. Falls account for more than 40 percent of nonfatal home injuries, with senior citizens and children making up the majority of these injuries, according to the nonprofit Home Safety Council. Homeowners can protect themselves and their guests by applying products designed to make porch steps safer and slip-free.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Detergent
  • Adhesive strips or tape
  • Textured paint
  • Outdoor carpet
  • Carpet tacks or staples
  • Rubber or vinyl stair treads
  • Contractor's cement
  • Ice-melting granules
  • Large container
  • Sweep or vacuum loose dirt from porch steps. Clean them with a detergent-based product or degreaser and rinse thoroughly with clean water. A high-pressure washer is ideal for this job. Allow the steps to dry completely before proceeding with the safety project of your choice.

  • Apply nonskid adhesive strips across the stair treads. Cut them to the appropriate length, remove paper backing and press them firmly onto the steps. Apply one strip to the nose of the step and a minimum of two more evenly spaced across the tread. Strips come in several colors, including glow-in-the-dark types, and are available at home improvement stores.

  • Roll on a gritty, waterproof paint across the surface of the steps to create more traction. Buy a paint designed for this or make your own by adding a medium-grit playground sand to a premium-quality paint brand. The paint can be tinted to blend with existing home decor or to contrast for better visibility. Paint with reflective properties is also an option.

  • Staple or tack an outdoor-grade carpet to wood or composite steps to prevent slips. Inexpensive carpets are sold by the linear foot and come in a variety of complementary colors and patterns.

  • Measure and trim textured rubber or vinyl treads to cover the stair surfaces. Spread an even layer of contractor's cement or floor glue onto the back and press the treads into place. Make sure all edges are secure to prevent a tripping hazard. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the right temperatures and drying times for this project.

  • Sprinkle steps with potassium-based ice-melting granules instead of salt products, which damage and weaken concrete. Fill a small trash can or other lidded container with the granules and place it beside porch steps that are likely to face icy weather. This makes it easy to apply the granules as needed.

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