Anti slip Coating or Surface modification?
When you research Anti slip Coating on the internet it’s easy to get confused about what will provide the best solution to reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident.
Among these hundreds of claims of effectiveness there is only two main types of solutions for surface treatment. One adds to the surface the other subtracts. These very different approaches will provide similar results if carried out by an anti slip professional.
This process involves a chemically induced change to the exposed tile or stone. The effectiveness of this treatment is reliant on the skill of the technician to remove the minimum amount of surface material while maintaining its integrity.
This type of treatment has many features and advantages some of which are:
- Long effective service life
- No Color change
- Instant access (no dry time)
- Fast treatment times
For this treatment to work the surface must contain calcium carbonate, fortunately most natural stone and man-made tiles have a consistent distribution of this element. Some synthetic or products that are surface sealed during manufacture may not be suitable for this type of treatment however a good technician will always test the floor prior to recommending a solution.
Application of a surface modification requires the surface to be first treated with a pre cleaner that removes any contamination like dirt, polish or waxes that will prevent an even distribution of the modifier.
The surface is then treated with the caustic to start the process of calcium carbonate removal, this phase of the treatment requires experience and surface testing equipment to ensure the desired result is obtained. Over exposure can damage the tile surface and under treatment will not effectively reduce the COF (Coefficient of Friction)
At some point during the treatment the surface will reach the correct amount of traction. Once this optimum level is reached it is critical to stop the chemical reaction with a neutralizing agent.
The chemical residue remaining should be removed with a wet vacuum system particularly at internal site locations.
Anti slip Coating
Depending on the desired result various coatings with different grades of anti slip components can be added.
This advantages of a coating are:
- Protection of underlying surface
- Can be applied to soft surfaces like Vinyl and Timber
- Traction/Grip can be varied as required
- No surface color change
Suitable for a wide range of surfaces the coating is effective providing adequate preparation is undertaken. Like painting, the end result and life of the treatment will depend on the location, the amount of pedestrian traffic and the product used.
Although priming or an undercoat is rarely required the underlying surface must be abraded to ensure a good bond to the primary coating.
Like the Modification treatment the surface must be clean and dry. Any contamination like dirt, polish or waxes must be removed and the surface lightly roughened to ensure a good bond.
The application of the product will depend on the type of coating chosen. Some products will work better if the anti slip additive is mixed in with the product in the can. Some will require the anti slip be broadcast on the top of the primary layer then locked into place with a top coat. Whichever process is required there will be a minimum of two coats required, with a delay of anywhere between 2 and 48 hours between coats.
Both treatments offer advantages and both have drawbacks, each solution will work well for the right surface however it is not always obvious to the DIY applicator which is which and why you should choose one over the other.
Most clients end up calling in a professional to assess the site and ensure the most effective treatment is selected. An experienced installer will also be able to give accurate information on maintenance of the surface and the effective life expectancy of the treatment.