Slippery bathroom tiles are one of the most dangerous things in the home environment. Traditionally ceramic, often glazed these surfaces are particularly dangerous when exposed to water. The major concern with bathroom tiles is what is termed “transitional traction”, this is where the SCOF (Static Coefficient of Friction) varies across a surface. This is best demonstrated where a towel or mat is used when exiting the shower or bath, you feel very safe and then take your first step off the towel onto the slick tile surface and because there is such a dramatic surface transition you’re not always ready for this, and a slip fall often results.
All types of non slip floor coatings are available from Ramp rated abrasive coatings used in industrial environments to acrylic and epoxy sealers sometimes containing anti slip media like grit or micro beads. Most of these coatings work well, and applied to the surface correctly, will reduce the risk of a slip fall accident.
These products applied to the surface of a floor whether tiles or vinyl are termed “maintenance” products meaning they require re coating at regular intervals to maintain the desired SCOF. In most instances this re application may only be necessary in the heavily trafficked areas such as doorways or around the vanity where most of the foot traffic is concentrated.
One of the most effective long term solutions to slip reduction on hard floors like ceramic or porcelain tiles is “surface modification”. This process involves a professional treatment that creates micro channels in the hard surface, allowing surface water to be displaced as the foot or shoe presses down. This process is far more permanent and on some types of tile can last for many years. Re treatment of this solution only being required when the actual tile surface wears down past the depth of the micro channels.
Surface modification should be always be carried out by a professional as the optimum depth of these micro channels needs to be controlled and post tested to ensure the maximum benefit is achieved.
Once the coating or treatment is completed it is then very important that these surfaces are maintained correctly. One of the biggest mistakes made is in the cleaning of a treated surface is the over use of detergent surfactants which create a film on the surface build up in the grout lines and fill up the micro channels. The best way to maintain a treated floor is to always use hot water, minimum detergent and to follow up with a clean hot water mop rinse. We often recommend the use of a wet vacuum if the grout lines are particularly deep.
These recommendations are a guide only, choosing the correct solution for your environment should be carried out by a professional who will take into consideration all the physical requirements, as well as your overall objectives, they will test the surface pre and post treatment to ensure you receive the most appropriate and effective solution to fix your slippery bathroom tiles.
If you would like further information on what non slip tile coating is appropriate for your floor, please contact us at www.frictionsystems.com.au