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Making Concrete Slip Resistant

Gritty Sealers

Sealed decorative concrete, either exterior or interior, can become very slippery when it gets wet. But with most decorative concrete, a broom finish is not ideal. Your customer doesn't want that beautiful texture you just created screwed up with a broom-or if he does, tell him you have a better idea.

Several manufacturers sell a grit that can be added to the final sealer coat to increase the coefficient of friction. Chris Sullivan, National Sales Manager for QC Construction Products and one of the Concrete Network's technical experts, says that the best material to use for this purpose is a grit made from ground up polyethylene. He notes that silica sand or aluminum oxide beads have also been used, but these materials can change the appearance of decorative concrete.

The advantages of the plastic grit are that it is nearly transparent and that it is so light it stays suspended throughout the sealer. This allows new grit to be exposed as the sealer wears. It also allows it to stay in suspension during application, although one decorative concrete veteran says that you should still stir the grit up occasionally to make sure it stays completely mixed.

Proper mixing is important for these products in order to avoid clumping. The typical dosage is 1 pound of grit to 5 gallons of sealer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, which usually includes mixing it into a small portion of the sealer with a mechanical mixer then mixing that into the bulk of the sealer. It is possible to spray sealers with grit with the proper high pressure sprayer, but rolling it on is probably safer.

The original product of this type is SharkGrip from H&C Concrete Products. Several other manufacturers provide a similar product, including Proline Concrete Tools (Dura-Grip), Increte Systems (Shur-Grip), and Specialty Concrete Products (Poly Grip). These products usually include spherical plastic beads. "The smooth round shape keeps from wearing sealer as fast as sharp angular quartz," says SCP's Marshall Hoskins.

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