Step Repair: Fix Slippery Stairs

The key to adhesion is sealing the substrate

Slippery steps can be made safe with traction tape, but the steps themselves must first be sealed well to prevent water from getting under the tape and breaking the adhesive bond.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Prepare the steps for traction tape

Traction tape is a quick and easy solution for slippery steps, whether they’re wood or concrete, but you have to seal the pores so the adhesive will hold. Sealing the pores prevents water from getting under the tape and breaking the adhesive bond.

If the steps are painted and the paint is in good shape, just clean it well and apply the tape. If the paint is chipped or peeling or you have raw wood or concrete, clean the surface with lacquer thinner. Then seal it with the recommended primer or contact adhesive, let it dry and apply the tape.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Painters tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Utility knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Lacquer thinner
  • Contact cement or primer
  • Traction tape