Installing Tile for a Non-Skid Floor: Increasing Slip Resistance and Avoiding Slick Materials

To help prevent falls and keep areas of the home prone to moisture safe, it helps to take steps to ensure a floors slip resistance. Depending on the material, or the area of the home, there are several ways a home owner can install a non skid floor.

Natural Stone Tiles

Polished marble, honed limestone or slate, all of natural stone materials have one thing in common; their porosity. Millions of tiny holes pock the surface of a natural stone floor, most of them so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. The presence of these holes helps to ensure a slip resistant floor in two ways.

Those pores will actually grab and hold a wet, bare foot placed on the tiles surface. So a person exiting a shower and stepping directly onto a polished marble floor is going to find more slip resistance than stepping onto a matte finished porcelain floor.

Natural stone tiles of all types also require sealing with an impregnating sealer upon installation and periodically thereafter. Silicone based impregnating sealers are slip resisters. Meaning that by properly caring for the stone, a homeowner is increasing the slip resistance factor of their floor.

Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles of 2” in size or smaller, no matter what the material are naturally slip resistant as well. This is due to the presence of multiple grout lines which grid the surface of the floor. A mosaic floor should have a grout joint of 1/8” and be filled with sanded grout. This material will help grab the feet and produce a non skid surface.

Shower floors should always use mosaic tiles of 2” or smaller on their surface. Not only will the skid resistance factor be much higher, smaller tiles are able to pitch to the shower’s drain, ensuring that the tiles will not crack over time.

Glass Tiles

Glass tiles used on the floor should always follow one of two models. Either they should be 2” in size or smaller, thereby increasing slip resistance through the use of grout lines, or they should be textured.

Textured glass tiles with a frosted, or sand blasted surface are going to be more slip resistant than polished glass tiles. For floors made of extremely large glass tiles of 24” or larger, a coat of sealer can also be applied to their surface to help increase their slip resistant factor.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

When installing porcelain and ceramic floor tiles, care should be taken in the selection of the tile and its manufacturing process. Color through porcelain tiles, which do not have a glaze on their surface, will frequently have some level of texture, to help increase their skid resistance factor.

  • Porcelain tiles which have been glazed, however, are frequently extremely smooth and may be slippery when wet or dry. To test, take a piece of tile, set it on the ground and step on it in multiple shoes and with wet and dry feet.
  • Glazed ceramic floor tiles are frequently textured to avoid this problem, however if there is any concern, simply test in the same manner as a glazed porcelain.
  • Polished porcelain tiles should always be sealed during installation in the same manner as a natural stone tile. This will automatically increase the slip resistance of these tiles.

Take steps to ensure a non skid floor no matter the tile used, and know that the floor being installed is as safe as it is beautiful.

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