Slippery concrete steps can be a big hassle during unpleasant weather. Instead of paying someone to come and fix them for you, this article will give you a few tips on doing the job yourself. Whether you’re pouring new concrete or working on existing concrete steps, there are many different options available.
For New Concrete Steps
Adding a decorative finish to your concrete can help add friction and texture so that your steps aren’t as slippery. There are many different types of finishes that you can use to make freshly poured concrete steps safer.
Wood Float and Broom
Using either a wooden float or a broom to add a finish to outdoor steps is a common approach to making them non-slippery. This option is perfect for beginners as it is easy to create and also makes the steps easy to clean.
Rock Salt Finish
Rock salt can also be used to help add texture to your concrete before it has cured. It is considered one of the more attractive concrete finishes. To do it, sprinkle the salt over your wet concrete and smooth it out with a trowel. Once the concrete has completely cured, the salt will wash away, leaving a more attractive texture behind.
Porous Trowel Finish
You can use a trowel to add the finish to your concrete as well. This is best for minimal skid resistance. It is often used on porches and patios, but if you want something that is aesthetically pleasing, this may be the option for you over a broom finish.
Using the seeded aggregate technique can be a very beautiful and efficient way of making your steps slip-resistant. Small stones are packed into finished concrete, and once completely dried, the top layer of concrete gives way to a beautifully decorated and functional concrete finish.
Silica sand can be used over the top of a wet sealer on your new steps. Put a second coat of sealer on after putting the silica sand down, and you’ve now got a slip-resistant finish.
For Existing Concrete Steps
Luckily, there's no need to remove and replace your old steps if they have a problem with being too slick. There are various ways to create traction on old steps as well.
Painting concrete steps can help make them less slippery. This tends to be a temporary fix since paint does peel over time. If your steps tend to freeze painting them will help but only minimally so this may not be an option for you.
Tape is an inexpensive, quick solution for slippery steps. The tape comes in an array of colors and is easily applied to clean concrete. The ideal temperature when applying primer and tape is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Artificial Grass Carpet
Grass carpeting is a common solution for slippery stairs. Most outdoor carpeting is resistant to color fading from the sun, and some even have small holes within that carpet that allow water to drain, making them even more effective at being slip-resistant.
Silica sand can be used in the same way on existing concrete steps too. Again, put a second coat of sealer on after application and you will have a slip-resistant finish. The downside is that it will often make your sealant turn milky or cloudy in this case.
Clear grit resembles silica sand, except it won’t make your sealant cloudy. You can buy it in most home improvement stores and apply it just as you would the sand.