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How to Make a Wooden Staircase Less Slippery

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Pam in Vermont is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you today?

    PAM: I have an oak staircase. You walk in my front door and the slate – there’s a slate walk with an entryway. And then there’s an oak staircase going upstairs. It’s really pretty but I’m scared to death kids are going to just slide right down the whole staircase and end up on the rock. I found some spray stuff. And it looks like they put sand in clear paint. And I’m wondering, if I put that on, am I going to ruin the staircase?

    TOM: There’s a line of products called SlipDoctor and they make products for wood, for vinyl, for stone. And with any of those products, what I would suggest you do – because you want to make sure that it’s going to clean well after it’s on, it’s not going to attract dirt. So, try it in an inconspicuous area, like maybe your neighbor’s house?

    PAM: I could do that.

    TOM: And see how it works. I mean no, try it like, I don’t know, in a closet or even take – get a board, finish it with urethane and spray it on the board, see what it looks like. And really test it out before you commit your staircase to it.

    LESLIE: Yeah, my concern is that – how difficult would it be to clean? It’s like you’re taking, oh, a shiny, wood surface and now making it textured. Is dust and dirt going to stick in there? But it’s a staircase, so how much do you get there? You’ve really got to give it a test run.

    TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t want it to be tacky all the time, you know? You wouldn’t be able to dust.

    PAM: No, I wouldn’t want it to be tacky but I also want to make sure that they – my kids are barefoot half the time, too, so I want to make sure they can still walk on it.

    TOM: Yeah. And the other thing that you can consider doing, though, is you could add a carpet runner right down the middle of the stairs. Have it professionally installed so that the center of the step has a carpet runner on it and the sides are still exposed. That’s kind of the way we did our staircase in an 1800s house and it takes that issue away. It’s not slippery, you walk up the carpet in the middle of the stairs and you can still see the finished railing on the edge of the step – the edge of the treads.

    PAM: Yeah. So I think maybe that would be a good solution if the other doesn’t work.

    TOM: Good luck with that project.

    PAM: Thank you so much.

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