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shark grip or other anti-slip on stairs

I have a 2 story house, approximately 30 years old. 1st floor has hardwood floors. 2nd floor will have hardwood floors in about 6 weeks. Stairs between first and second floor have carpet and my budget says I can't afford to have the flooring people do anything to them. Stairs down to the garage/basement had carpet until yesterday when I ripped out the filthy, nasty, allergen laden stuff. I am hoping to do something to the basement stairs partially to get them back in a more useful state but also as a learning vehicle before I possibly do the main stairs myself. The treads are bullnose pine and the risers are 3/4" pine boards. I'm leaning towards painted stairs. Probably white for the risers and trim and something dark for the treads. I'm a little concerned about them being slippery although the outside steps up to the front porch use a pigmented stain and they're not bad.

I've seen suggestions about using H&C Shark Grip as a paint additive to make stairs less slippery. My biggest concern about this is if it will make the stairs hard to clean. I'm picturing trying to sweep/mop a big piece of 100 grit sandpaper and it just holding all the dust and dirt.

Any experience in this area? The stairs are not particularly steep. We do have kids in the house and sometimes have some older family members come visit. I'm not totally convinced that the carpet is really all that less slippery.

While the basement is not finished, that same stairway goes to the garage and so we often times use that entry way into the house.


Re: shark grip or other anti-slip on stairs

Seems nobody wants to take this on so I'll give it a shot. First I am not familiar with the product you describe. Before I use something new I want to see it for myself somewhere else after a reasonable period of wear and tear. If I like what I see I may try it. If I cannot find that sample then I let someone else be the guinea-pig or I try it on my own. I refuse to use untried products on a customer's home unless I have a long history of using similar products from a manufacturer I have found trustworthy in the long-term already.

In your case you need to decide what level of traction is appropriate first, then what aesthetic values you can tolerate from those options. Yes, painted stairs are slick. That's why we're careful on the stairs, right? But sometimes that's not enough- especially if the stairs may get wet or muddy. Sanded paint gives really great traction but it's not the Mona Lisa to look at plus it's tough to keep it really clean. The reason so many stairs are carpeted is that it falls between these two extremes, looking good while offering improved traction and it can be kept reasonably clean with a little effort. If yours was, as you say, "filthy, nasty, allergy laden stuff" then it wasn't being cared for properly. Fix that and carpeting will do well on your stairs. As to it being slippery, if it is short-napped, matted down, and full of dirt then yes- that may be slippery. Same solution as before.

Carpet is really your best solution here unless you like they look of sanded paint or the self-adhesive traction strips that are sometimes used on public stairs in old buildings. The only other alternative I can think of is to use glued-down rubber matting. Me? I'd go with carpet in a strip over painted stairs. If the carpet gets too worn or ugly it's easy to replace. It doesn't have to be fitted to everything as it's only in the middle. Plus it could come from cut-offs where all you'd need to do is overlay the edges with a binder to prevent fraying. There are specially made rods that allow easy installation and removal of stair-runner carpeting that fit at the junction of the tread and the riser above it. With those, even a cheap hall-runner carpet would work here. Whatever you use, it is going to require maintenance of some kind to keep looking and working good so I'd just get used to dealing with the carpet.


Re: shark grip or other anti-slip on stairs

I didn't see this post before, but here we go: choose an easy to clean and maintain carpet. With carpet, you minimize the chance for falling down the stairs. Why take an unnecessary risk here?

Re: shark grip or other anti-slip on stairs

1) Take a piece of wood, and paint it with the desired product (including the anti-slip additive), and then let it dry. You might be surprised that it will not come out "looking like 100 grit sandpaper". Follow the mixing instructions/ratio.

2) There are numerous non-slip sprays available in the paint section which are clear.

Nothing like real wood on any surface, including stairs...

Re: shark grip or other anti-slip on stairs

Regarding maintaining the carpet and why it is so nasty: No idea how old it is but it was old when I bought the house a decade ago and the previous owners had dogs and I had cats for a while. Also it is basement stairs to the garage so it gets the worst of the worst. I tried to shampoo a few times and found it released the smells of a long life.

I'm going to take the advice of painting a scrap piece of wood to see how the texture feels. If it doesn't seem to rough I will paint the stairs and then do some careful tests about how slippery or not. If it doesn't seem safe, I'll put a carpet runner down the middle. At least then I'm starting with carpet which is clean and can maintain.

Since I opened this thread I found that a neighbor whose house is similar in construction pulled out the carpet between first and second floor and stained the pine treads and it doesn't feel bad at all underfoot.

I still dislike carpet and in about 6 weeks the floor guys are coming to remove all of the upstairs carpet :) Downstairs was done before I bought the house.

For the record, what I am going to try is Sherwin-Williams porch and floor enamel with shark grip additive. Will update with results.

I am sensitive to slippery though. The tile in the master bath was a hazard when wet. I busted it all up and put in natural stone tile which is much much safer than what probably was intended to be used on walls not floors.


Re: shark grip or other anti-slip on stairs

Just a couple thoughts on painting the steps: Don't use the high gloss urethane paints. The hard, slick urethane is really treacherous when wet. Go with a lower sheen acrylic floor paint. To simplify cleaning, don't use the sand texture on the whole tread. Your foot slips off the nosing and first couple inches of the tread, not the back of the tread. After painting a couple coats on the entire stair structure, mix up a little of the same paint and just paint the nosing and a couple inches toward the risers with the sanded texture paint mix. It is also not neccessary to go wall to wall. Only paint where people actually step. In any event, don't put the sand in all the coats, only the last coat. Addtional coats over the sand texture will just cover the sand and lessen its effectiveness. Use a little blue painters masking tape to give it a nice, neat uniform look.

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