Tile floors are beautiful, fashionable, and durable. But tile floors can also be slippery, which is a problem if you live with enthusiastic toddlers or fragile older people. So how can you make your tile floors less hazardous?
Here are 7 ways on how to stop floor tiles from being slippery:
- Keep slippery substances off your tiles.
- Use anti-slip treads.
- Use an anti-slip mat.
- Slip-proof your rugs with rug pads.
- Apply an anti-slip treatment on your floor.
- Use slip-resistant floor coatings.
- Replace old tiles with non-slip flooring.
If you’re dealing with slippery tile floors, worry no more. Slippery tile floors can be a dangerous problem, but by the time you’re done with this article, you’ll have solutions galore to this problem.
1. Keep Slippery Substances off Your Tiles
Tile floors and spills are like pride: they go before a fall. If you don’t want to be the one falling, make sure your tiles are kept free of anything that might make them slippery. Some of the substances you need to keep off your tile floors include:
Because they don’t warp in damp conditions, tile flooring is very popular in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. But the water resistance which makes tiles so useful also means that water will pool and bead on their already slick surface and make them slippery as waterslides.
A dehumidifier such as the Waykar Home Dehumidifier (link to Amazon) will help ensure your steamy showers don’t lead to slippery conditions. This dehumidifier can remove up to 34 pints (544 oz) of moisture from the air in 24 hours. If dampness is making your tile floors dangerously slick, it will help you tread safely again.
To quickly take care of spills, you should also make sure you have a mop on hand.
I recommend the O-Cedar Easywring Spin Mop (link to Amazon). This mob allows you to soak up water before it becomes a health hazard. It is a microfiber mop that absorbs liquid, and the bucket comes in a built-in wringer, so you don’t need to bend constantly to wring the water out of the mop.
If you do a lot of frying in your kitchen, your tile floor may wind up covered with a thin layer of grease. You might not see it, but step carelessly, and you’ll have a new appreciation for the phrase “slippery as a greased pig.”
Washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate) will make degreasing your tile floor a lot easier. Homemaking blogger Jillee Nystul offers this grease-cutting floor regimen, here are the steps:
- Mix ¼ cup (59.15 ml) of white vinegar, one tablespoon (14.79 ml) of liquid dish soap, and ¼ cup (59.15 ml) of washing soda in a bucket.
- Add 2 gallons (7.57 L) of very warm tap water
- Mop the floor with a microfiber mop.
The vinegar loosens the grease, and the alkaline washing soda turns it into a soapy substance that dissolves in water.
Source: One Good Thing by Jillee
If you don’t clean your tile floor regularly, you’ll find there’s a greasy buildup on the surface. But if you clean your tile floor with a dirty mop, you may wind up spreading the mess around. Your best bet for cleaning a tile floor is a microfiber mop.
Sponge mops and string mops may soak up spills, but they can also spread dirty water around and rub it into the grout between your tiles.
To clean your tile floor properly and get rid of grime, follow these steps:
- Brush the tiles to loosen dried-on dirt. I recommend using the Sevenmax Floor Scrub Brush (link to Amazon), which has stiff PVC bristles that’ll loosen grime without scratching your tile.
- Vacuum your floor. Vacuuming removes dirt that would otherwise get spread throughout the room with a wet mop.
- Mop the floor with warm water. Don’t add any soap or other cleaners yet.
- Pour out the dirty water in a toilet, then rinse and wring out your mop.
- Mop the floor again, this time using a cleaner. I prefer the Black Diamond Stoneworks Marble and Tile Concentrated Cleaner (link to Amazon), which is designed to use on tiles. You only need 2-4 ounces (59.15-118.29 ml) per gallon (3.79 L) of water, so one container of the cleaner will last you a long time.
- Buff the floor dry with a microfiber cloth. Letting your tile floor air dry can lead to streaking. Buffing also gets rid of any remaining traces of grime.
2. Use Anti-Slip Treads
Anti-slip treads stick to your tile floor and provide a rough surface for your shoes to catch on. They can be especially useful on tiled stairs and in smaller areas like a tiled shower floor. You can find anti-slip treads in many different colors, lengths, or widths.
If you’re looking for anti-slip treads, I recommend the EdenProducts Transparent Non-Slip Strips (link to Amazon). These discreetly provide you with more traction in treacherous tile spaces and are also useful on slippery wooden, plastic, or metal surfaces.
Anti-slip treads are easy to use, so long as you follow the manufacturer’s directions and pay attention to a few simple rules. These are:
- Only apply anti-slip treads to tile, not across the grout. The treads won’t stick well to the grout. They may begin peeling or gathering unsightly dirt in the space between the tiles.
- Make sure you lay the anti-slip treads completely flat. Air bubbles can become trapped between the tread and the grout. These will become failure points that cause the treads to become increasingly detached from the tiles.
- Clean your tiles thoroughly before applying anti-slip treads. Any dirt left behind will interfere with the adhesive and could lead to premature peeling.
Anti-slip treads are relatively inexpensive and can be removed without damaging the tile. If your slippery tile problem is confined to one or two small spots, anti-slip treads may be all you need. If you need to make a whole room or hallway safer, anti-slip treads won’t be the right tool.
3. Use an Anti-Slip Mat
If you have a tile kitchen floor, you may find things get slippery every time you wash dishes or prepare a meal. An anti-slip mat will give you the traction you need to wash your pots without fear of pratfalls.
For your kitchen, I recommend using the Rubber-Cal Anti-Slip Kitchen Mat (link to Amazon). This option is similar to the mats restaurants use during busy shifts. It’ll keep you on your feet during cooking and cleanup and comes with a three-year warranty.
Tile porches are striking and stylish, but they can get slick when it rains. A rubber anti-slip doormat such as the Tindbea Doormat (link to Amazon) will let visitors and delivery people visit your doorstep without injury, even on the wettest days.
And, of course, you can’t forget about the bathroom. If your tiled bathroom floor gets dangerous every time you get out of the shower, I recommend using a Gorilla Grip Bathtub and Shower Mat (link to Amazon). It’s available in a variety of colors and comes equipped with over 300 suction cups to ensure it stays attached to the floor even while the shower is on.
4. Slip-Proof Your Rugs With Rug Pads
Rugs can also help provide traction on a slippery tile floor. Additionally, because they come in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes, rugs can be an effective and aesthetically pleasing way of making your tiled space safer.
However, if your rug has a smooth back, it can go sliding like a banana peel as soon as you step on it. While this may be funny in cartoons, landing on a hard tile floor is no laughing matter.
You can secure your rug with double-sided tape, silicone caulk, velcro, or glue. But those “solutions” won’t hold up to regular use. If you want to stop your rug from slipping on tile, you need a rug pad.
Rug pads don’t just keep your rug from sliding. They stop bunching, provide another layer of buffering between your rug and floor, and can extend the life of both your tiles and your carpet! And if your rug has an unusual shape or size, you can cut rug pads to fit.
While inexpensive “non-stick” rubber pads are widely available, they can disintegrate and adhere to the tile surface with time. I find that a better solution is the RugpadUSA Non-Slip Rug (link to Amazon). This pad comes in various sizes and uses rubber-coated jute to provide durable, lasting, and all-natural carpet cushioning.
While rug pads can stop your rug from sliding, they also raise the rug’s height and can create a tripping hazard. The best way to avoid this is to cut the rug pad to be a few inches shorter on each side than the carpet. This allows the rug to drape naturally over the pad and results in less obtrusive edges.
5. Apply an Anti-Slip Treatment on Your Floor
Tiles are slippery because they’re smooth. Anti-slip treatments make tiles and other hard materials less smooth by etching tiny grooves into their surface.
When the anti-slip treatment is applied to the floor, powerful acids break down the bonds cementing calcium and silica together. This chemical reaction makes the surface rougher, which means more friction for carpets or the soles of your shoes.
You’ll need rubber gloves, boots, safety goggles, and a mop you won’t mind throwing away afterward before starting this project. You may also want to protect cabinets or other vulnerable areas with masking tape, as this treatment might stain them.
Test this product on a small and preferably hidden area of tile first. Your floor’s appearance shouldn’t change after anti-slip treatment, as the grooves are microscopic. But it’s better to find out ahead of time if your tile will be stained or damaged by this treatment rather than finding out after you have applied it to your floor.
A few minutes after applying the treatment, you’ll put a neutralizer on the floor to stop the etching. At this point, the tile will be considerably rougher and less slick than it was before treatment, yet it should look exactly the same to the naked eye.
If you’re looking for an effective anti-slip treatment, I recommend the Slip Doctors Stone Grip Non-Slip Floor Treatment (link to Amazon). A gallon (3.79 L) of this product will treat up to 400 square feet (37.16 sq m).
When using anti-slip treatments, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. These are strong chemicals and could be hazardous to your floor or health if used improperly.
6. Use Slip-Resistant Floor Coatings
Anti-slip treatments work by making your tile floor rougher. Slip-resistant floor coatings make your floor stickier. Slip-resistant floor coatings cover your floor in a urethane coating that remains very slightly tacky even when dry.
You won’t feel the coating if you touch the floor with your finger, though you might notice a bit of friction when you rub the tile. But that urethane coating gives you additional traction even when wet. Slip-resistant floor coatings are used in locker rooms, gyms, shopping centers, and other places where falls can be painful and costly for clients and businesses alike.
I’ve found that GlazeGuard Plus Anti-Slip Floor Coating Sealer (link to Amazon) is really effective. This coating comes in gloss, satin, and matte finishes to ensure your tiles keep their aesthetic. Additionally, it is almost odorless and can be used easily by amateurs.
Slip-resistant coatings can be an alternative to anti-slip treatments, or they can both be part of a tile safety project. Because urethane sometimes has difficulty bonding to extremely smooth tiles, you may find it useful to first roughen the tile surface with an anti-slip treatment before applying a slip-resistant coating.
7. Replace Old Tiles With Non-Slip Flooring
You can always tear out the old floor and replace it with a less slippery surface if all else fails.
However, keep in mind that this isn’t something you should do lightly. Replacing a floor will be an arduous, expensive project. And if you want to replace slippery tiles with non-slip tiles, you’ll almost certainly need to hire a contractor.
Laying tile demands exacting precision, and working with grout and mortar requires skill and timing. Mistakes could lead to misaligned and cracked tiles and an even more hazardous space. Unless you are confident in your tile-laying skills, you may want to
Tile floors have many advantages, but they do get slippery. Luckily, there are a number of options to make these floors safer, including using a variety of anti-slip products like anti-slip treads, mats, and treatments.
Now that you know your options, you can decide what approach will help you get over your case of the slick tile blues.
As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.