Think Safety Part I: Making your Concrete Surfaces Slip-Resistant Decorative concrete especially decorative concrete that has been sealed can be extremely slippery when wet or icy. Avoiding accidents and potentially dangerous situations should be a priority when laying a concrete driveway, walkway, patio or other area where foot traffic is likely. Texturing the concrete with a broom, however, is usually not an option because it changes the appearance of the concrete.
Two ideal solutions for making a new cement surface slip-resistant are adding either grit to the sealer or adding anti-slip tape to the surface.
Applying Gritty Material to the Sealer Applying a gritty material directly to the sealer beforehand is an easy way to instantly create a friction-based surface. Polyethylene is usually the material of choice to add to the sealer, as it is nearly transparent and lightweight, allowing it to become suspended in the sealer. Other materials, such as silica sand and aluminum oxide beads, may be used, but they may change the appearance of the decorative concrete surface. It is important to properly mix the polyethylene to the sealer as to avoid clumping. The general mixture ratio is one pound of grit to five gallons of sealer. Check with the manufacturerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recommendations, however, before you begin mixing, and use a mechanical mixer to ensure even distribution of the grit. Some sealers can be sprayed on but, generally speaking, it is best to roll it on to ensure even coverage.
Applying Slip-Resistant Tape to the Concrete Surface If the concrete surface needs to be slip-resistant in certain spots, your may consider the use of pressure-sensitive, slip-resistant tape. Slip-resistant tape comes in many shapes and sizes, and can even be further customized by cutting it to the desired shape. It is also available in a wide variety of colors, and custom colors may also be ordered. In addition, reflective tape, which glows in the dark to provide an added measure of safety, may also be used. Some types of concrete tape are also flexible, thus allowing it to conform to uneven surfaces, bends and corners.
Installing the tape:
The key to installing cement tape is to only install it in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything less and the adhesive will likely not set. The first step to installing slip-resistant tape is to make sure that your concrete surface is clean, dry and smooth. If the concrete is dirty, you can use an industrial cleaner; just be sure to rinse it well and allow it to thoroughly dry. Once the concrete surface is clean and dry, apply a high-quality primer. A good primer is essential to the adhesion of the slip-resistant tape, as it smoothes the surface and doubles the adhesion properties. The primer typically dries in about four to five minutes (follow the directions on the manufacturer’s label). The adhesive tape can then be applied as desired. Creating a safe, slip-resistant surface for decorative concrete surfaces is fairly inexpensive and easy to do. Best of all, the decorative look of the concrete surface is not diminished, thereby keeping the customer happy and your reputation intact.