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Making Concrete Slip Resistant

Slip-Resistant Tape

In some cases, you may be faced with concrete that is slippery but only needs slip resistance in certain spots. Or your customer may want to draw attention to certain spots, like stair steps. Anti-slip tapes may be the solution.

Pressure sensitive anti-slip tape comes in an incredible variety of configurations. Nearly any size or shape can be supplied (or you can cut it yourself) and the tape is available in a wide variety of colors—even custom colors can be ordered and tape is available that is reflective or that glows in the dark. Some tapes are flexible to conform to uneven surfaces or even to bend around corners while still adhering well.

Installation of these tapes onto concrete requires a clean, dry, smooth surface that is warmer than 65 F—you should shoot for 70 F ambient temperature. The surface should be cleaned with an industrial cleaner to make sure all soap and wax are removed then rinsed well to get rid of the soap. Wait long enough to let the concrete dry well. The final, critical, step for concrete is to apply a primer. 3M's installation instructions say to paint on the primer over a clean concrete surface. It can be used over sealed or painted surfaces.

"Since concrete isn't smooth, the primer smoothes the surface and creates double the adhesion," said Dan with Martinson-Nicholls, a 3M distributor and installer of anti-slip products ( "The primer is put down first and dries in 4 to 5 minutes, then the tape. This makes almost a fail-safe installation. Just about every failure we have is either a temperature problem---putting it down when it's too cold—or failure to use the primer."

Cut the tape to the size you want and round the corners. The tapes come with a paper backing that you then have to peel off without touching the adhesive. Press it into place, pushing it down starting in the center to get the air bubbles out. To get the best bond, use a rubber roller.

There are several manufacturers of anti-slip tape. 3M is the biggest and makes a huge variety of tapes. The primer that Martinson-Nicholls recommends is also a 3M product (3M Safety Walk Primer 901.) Another good selection of anti-slip tapes is available from Sure-Foot Industries ( They were even willing to send me some sample tapes to test on a concrete application.

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