Slip-Resistant Flooring

When selecting a floor finish one of the most important issues to be addressed is safety. Seamless floors composed of epoxy or urethane polymers are ideally suited for environments with high traffic loads (either foot or wheeled) due to the long term wear and ease of cleaning. When selecting these systems in both decorative and industrial environments, slip resistance must be considered in determining the flooring system itself and the maintenance procedure.

Highly aggressive surfaces as required in parking decks and some wet environments utilize aggregates incorporated into the flooring system to maximize the peak-to-trough differential. Aggregate selection in these systems will affect the long-term slip resistance. Sand is typically used as an inexpensive aggregate in textured floors, but aluminum oxide can be substituted to provide a much harder, longer lasting profile. Aluminum oxide is available is several different size ranges to yield a slight texture (220 mesh) to extremely aggressive (46 mesh) finish.

The binder resin itself plays an important role in maintaining long-term slip resistance. Polyurethane elastomers provide flexibility but cannot hold the aggregate as well as internally flexibilized epoxies. Urethane enamel topcoats are inherently less slippery than epoxy finishes. Utilizing silica, polypropylene or aluminum oxide aggregates in the topcoats can provide a relatively smooth (and cleanable) finish with a modest degree of slip-resistance.

When selecting a flooring system consider performance first followed by appearance and design. Your floor system must withstand the chemicals of exposure, the abrasion anticipated, and any temperature variations. Within this selected group the appearance (color) and texture (finish coat) can then be specified.