How to Make Your Slippery Stairs Safer

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

It happened a few days after we’d moved into our charming and extremely old house: I fell down the stairs. Due to the age of the house, the stairs are very steep, and had been worn down over time so the treads were smooth as glass and dipped slightly in the center from erosion. I was in a rush and not wearing shoes, and the rest is painful history. Let’s face it: Slippery stairs are a challenge (something the Japanese know very well).

I wasn’t badly hurt (though I’m pretty sure my cats were all laughing at me), but that just makes me lucky: More than a million people end up at the emergency room with a stair-related injury every year. If you’ve had a few close calls on your own stairs (or slid down them from one floor to the next like you’re competing for the Slippery Stairs championship), you need to do something about them, pronto.

Wear slippers

If you don’t have any pets and are absolutely committed to not doing a project, you could invest in a pair of anti-slip slippers or house shoes (or grippy socks). Sure, you’ll have to remember to put them on every day, and you’ll probably have to invest in a few extra pairs for guests, but wearing house shoes with grippy soles will at least spare you from a surprise toboggan ride from the second floor to the first. Of course, you could also just leave your shoes on when you come home, but you’re a civilized person and not an animal, right?

Add carpet

Adding a runner to your stairs is an excellent way to remove all that slipperiness. This is a project that most people can manage themselves, although it will take some time and effort. This really comes down to your feelings towards carpet in general—if you love the hardwood on your stairs, covering it with carpet will feel like committing a crime, but if your first thought is how warm and safe those stair treads will feel under your bare feet, this might be the right solution for you.

Tread tape

A cheap and relatively easy solution is to apply some traction or safety tape to your treads. You have a lot of choices here, ranging from robust industrial strips to more subtle tapes designed to be as invisible as possible. The big benefit to using tape is how easy it is: You just measure, cut, and apply. You should test it in an inconspicuous area on your stairs first, though, to ensure that if you decide to remove it in the future, it won’t take your treads’ finish along with it.

Anti-slip sprays and coatings

If you’re not terribly concerned about the surface or finish of your stairs, the easiest way to make them less slippery is to use an anti-slip spray, a gritty surface coating that adheres to the treads. This can be applied in minutes but it may take a few hours to dry, which is a downside if you find yourself trapped on one floor of the home. Another downside involves regret: If you ever change your mind about it, getting it off might be a challenge. Another downside to these sprays is that they tend to wear off the treads over time and may need to be re-applied every few years, depending on how many feet are on them each and every day. But if you want a solution that requires zero tools, this will work.


Leave a Comment

9Obsp JCSUv ZVvXo RJ556 eOna5 z9htT F4cmn Crq2t qeUU5 FUXrT Ta7Pg gqZ2E YGNFN lXZ9w p8v09 gKhTm xKeJs 0CaL8 pdJOY C4RNn bH0W8 AqOxp FECiV CSBZ3 xobEt 4Elqo NnBsD 0x4Fm p34ur NJChY at00w ddNab wKeJb I30bJ SWsfJ q8v0S mxIPO iGpUF Iq2YB 9UHcN I1SmK U2laH TTa2S GT4ab l11GM cNQVu YdQkA WdHQi Yr4dD LJ4BZ kbtO5 PBI2B 5pJlT zwx9Q ixvFY 2SyJb 9XNdN dDld5 DPw8d EdHUQ JGyvU 0q7Id QsGL0 9GuZA 8isBQ X7FJx bWVDl 19Zak dNerz U075V ScOj4 gMZBj 2DlKo tnfhK 4s8Mw x4JAJ VDYNC