Choosing the Best Slip-Resistant Flooring for Your Business

Denver business owners are growing more safety-conscious: installing guardrails, hazard prevention systems, and slip resistant flooring. This is an effort to reduce workplace injuries such as falling or slipping, which are the leading cause of worker’s compensation claims, and to comply with the guidelines set by OSHA.

However, a wide array of slip-resistant flooring materials, accessories, and modifications are available to select from. Some provide more functional safety or are more suitable for different workplaces. So, how can you determine the best choice for your business?

Anti-Slip Solutions

When it comes to finding the right slip resistant solution for your flooring needs, there are a few types to consider.

Anti-slip Coatings

Many businesses opt for using anti-slip coatings on their flooring because they want to improve safety without sacrificing visual appeal. High-gloss, polished flooring is common in commercial buildings like retail stores, government buildings, office workplaces, and more, but these floors provide very little traction, making them prone to slippage. That’s where anti-slip coatings come in. Non-skid wax and other grit coatings increase the slip resistance while keeping that glossy finish. However, these may wear down over time and will need to be reapplied. These coatings also can become more of a hazard than a help as the abrasive surface materials they rely on can wear away quickly, leaving behind a slippery coating that may be expensive to remove.

Mats and Carpeting

Placing a non-slip mat or installing carpet can increase traction in high-traffic areas. Mats should be slip-resistant on both sides to avoid coming loose and becoming a slip hazard. Carpeting, on the other hand, stays in place but can be expensive to install and upkeep. Dirty mats and carpeting are not only unsanitary but can lose their roughness, so they should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Anti-slip Flooring

Installing anti-slip flooring can be an expensive option, but once installed, slip-resistant flooring can be more cost-effective in the long term because many of the materials used for flooring are durable, so they require less maintenance and upkeep than coatings or carpets.

Things to Consider About Flooring

Different flooring materials (and anti-slip modifications) provide unique benefits but can also have significant drawbacks. It is important to consider all of these pros and cons before making a decision.

Cost

Cost is not merely a factor of what is more or less expensive because an anti-slip product such as coatings or flooring material that may appear less expensive upfront can lead to frequent repairs and upkeep later on. Consider all initial, recurring, and needed repair costs before making a selection.

Application and Installation

The ease of installing your flooring also adds to costs, both time and money. It is recommended that you use a professional installer to ensure it is done correctly.

Environment and Visual Appeal

Where flooring will be installed plays a vital role, as the temperature of the environment can affect the effectiveness of the material. Some surfaces can become more slippery when heated or cooled. Additionally, if the area is or will be prone to getting wet, it is better to consider non-slip flooring.

Lastly, the aesthetics of the flooring can increase the comfort your workers and consumers feel in the environment. A textured surface with high slip resistance may have less visual appeal than a smoother alternative. Ideal anti-slip surfaces should have some “give” as they allow users to stand and walk comfortably without soreness and prevent serious injury should an accident occur.

Durability, Maintenance and Sanitation

If the flooring material is highly durable, it is more likely to be low upkeep while ensuring the product’s long-term attractiveness. This means it requires little to no maintenance or repairs, keeping costs down. In addition, non-slip flooring should be easy to clean and dry to prevent mold and harmful bacteria from building up.

Slip-resistance Rating

Slip-resistance rating is determined through various Coefficient of Friction (CoF) testing. While different organizations worldwide have different preferred testing methods, such as the pendulum test, the slip alert and the three pedestrian floor friction standards of testing, they all classify flooring materials based on their slip resistance rating into grades, with higher numbers closer to 1 being extremely slip resistant – suitable for areas with high risk of slipping – and lower numbers (like 0.0 CoF) being very slippery.

Flooring Materials

There are a wide variety of anti-slip flooring materials. Below are just a few of the more common types for you to consider:

Porcelain Tiles

Textured porcelain tiles offer good slip resistance and can simulate mineral floors like slate and stone. They are clay products baked at extremely high temperatures for density and strength. They can be found in lobbies and hallways.

Vinyl Composition Tile

Vinyl composition tile is relatively inexpensive and made of limestone and other materials. It can withstand heavy foot traffic, and many come with a finish that makes initial upkeep quick and easy. However, it becomes very slippery when wet. It is commonly used in schools, hospitals, and offices.

Ceramic Tiles

Another clay product which has ceramic baked into it. It comes glazed and unglazed and is heat-resistant and easy to clean. When dry, ceramic tile with grit offers CoFs of 0.62; when wet, it drops to 0.34. However, the smooth-glazed tiles offer little slip resistance when wet. Ceramic tiles are often found in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

Concrete

Concrete offers good slip resistance when dry and unsealed. Unfortunately, it is difficult to clean and generally considered unattractive. Sealed concrete floors are more aesthetically pleasing but have a lower CoF, especially when wet. They are typically seen in industrial buildings.

Steel Grates and Plates

Steel may not be the first material that comes to mind, but some anti-slip grating offers CoFs of up to 0.8 and is often used in factories and industrial workhouses. Alternatively, textured steel plates like Algrip offer CoFs of 0.86 and higher, depending on their thickness. They are durable and allow for a custom texture pattern to add traction and visual appeal. Currently, they are used in the automotive, food processing, and petrochemical industries.

Overview

In our growing economy, safety is the word on everyone’s minds, and that starts with the ground up. While there are alternatives like anti-slip coatings and floor mats, the right slip-resistant flooring could increase safety for your workers and customers who come to your business. It could also lower your long-term your long-term repairs and maintenance costs without sacrificing comfort or visual appeal.