There is nothing like the gleam of a wooden floor to make a home look warm and sophisticated. However, your gleaming floor may be a safety hazard to your family and visitors due to its slippery surfaces.

If your lovely wooden stairs are becoming a potential hazard, this post is for you. Read on to learn the 10 best methods to make your wooden stairs less slippery.

1. Apply an Anti-Slip Floor Finish

Anti-slip floor finishes are a great way to make your wooden stairs safe for foot traffic without altering the natural appearance of your wood. With treads and carpeting, you may lose the beautiful natural look of your natural wood or stain. An anti-slip wood finish allows you to protect your family from falls while still revealing the beauty of the underlying wood.

Anti-slip finishes come in a variety of forms and may be oil or water-based, depending on your particular preference. A highly rated anti-slip floor finish is the Bona Anti-Slip which is a waterborne wood finish that rivals even the toughest oil-based wood finish.

The Bona Traffic Anti-Slip Floor Finish is a clear two-component cross-linked finish that offers added aluminum oxide to resist the deterioration of your wooden staircase. Bona engineered their anti-slip finish for maximum grip and moisture resistance, perfect for households with younger children who may be prone to spilling.

The best part of the Bona finish is that you need not compromise the natural beauty of your wood to provide safety in your home or office. After all, you need not sacrifice your home aesthetics to provide a safe environment for your family and guests.

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2. Coat in Anti-Slip Paint

If you are happy to introduce a color change to your slippery stairwell, there are a variety of anti-slip paints for wooden surfaces to provide enhanced grip and safety. High-textured paints have the bonus of being durable and weather-resistant so that you may use them for both interior and exterior applications.

Suppose you have a wooden stairwell that sees a lot of foot traffic. In that case, you need a high friction non-skid urethane paint that provides aggressive traction in any interior and exterior stair surface, such as SlipDoctors Tuff Grip.

The SlipDoctors Tuff Grip Paint allows you ten color options, including a clear coat, with enhanced traction with a 4-6 hour dry time. The paint offers UV protection and chemical and corrosion resistance for more outstanding durability for interior and heavy-duty exterior use.

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3. Use Anti-Skid Additives for Sealers

Anti-skid additives are another excellent option for creating a safer wooden stairway. You may add the additives with epoxy, latex, or oil-based paints, stains, or sealers to create a skid-resistant coating in your home.

The beauty of these additives is that you can choose how much texture you would like for your particular stirs by overlying layers.

One of the top-rated anti-skid additives for multiple surfaces, including wood, is the Rust-Oleum Anti Skid Additive. It has a highly durable bare-foot grade texture that’s easy to apply and keep clean.

The additive also offers the advanced protection of aluminum oxide, which gives a diamond-hard finish for extended protection of your wooden stairwell. You can mix in the additive with one gallon of your chosen epoxy, latex, or oil-based paints and sealers.

You may also like: The Pros and Cons of Painted Wooden Floors

4. Spray With Non-Slip Paint Aerosols

As a less expensive quick fix, you may opt for an anti-slip spray for your wooden stairs. Manufacturers precisely formulate these sprays to increase slip resistance in a variety of surfaces and stairs and provide a lighter textured paw and foot-friendly finish than the more commercial anti-slip alternatives.

A top-rated aerosol alternative for slippery stairwells is the Rust-Oleum Clear Anti-Slip Spray. The oil-based formula provides enhanced traction in a low luster finish to reveal the beauty of your natural wood stairs. The spray offers interior and exterior protection for improved traction, and the clear finish allows the beauty of the wood to show through.

Another advantage of ant slip sprays is their relatively quick drying times. Unlike anti-slip finishes and paint, which may take up to 24 hours to dry, sprays such as the Rust-Oleum dries to the touch in under 30 minutes and offers 15 sq. ft coverage.

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5. Apply Anti-Slip Stair Tape

Anti-slip stair tapes are durable, relatively easy to apply, and come in a number of shapes and sizes. They are a more economical option for a problem staircase and provide long-lasting traction in various grit, from child-friendly to coarse commercial grade finishes. These tapes may be used indoors or outdoors and provide excellent slip resistance, but they also have a downside.

The adhesives in these stair tapes may damage your underlying wood should you choose to remove and replace them, and they are not the most aesthetic of stairwell choices. For that reason, they would suit wooden stairs in commercial settings, schools, and offices more than your family home, depending on your design criteria.

Although the stair tape is available in a transparent finish, this isn’t necessarily the best option for a high-traffic stairwell. The transparent tapes tend to show dirt and may be challenging to keep clear and clean. The matte black and darker colored stair tapes require less attention and are rugged and durable. A well-priced and highly rated anti grip tape is the Trazon Tape.

Trazon Anti-Slip Grip Tape is a durable waterproof anti-slip tape that suits interior and exterior applications. Trazon offers a rugged 80 grit finish for maximum slippage protection and enhanced peel resistance. As Trazon designed this tape for commercial, heavy traffic areas, the tape suits industrial applications or busy workspaces.

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6. Use Non-Slip Carpet Treads

Non-slip stair treads are a more child and pet paw-friendly option than anti-slip tapes. The softer finish still offers a superior grip but protects your children and pets from the effects of coarse grit.

Available in a variety of designs, colors, and finishes, the carpet strips can also add an element of beauty to your home while still protecting your family from unforeseen slips and falls.

CrystalMX Non-Slip Carpet Stair Treads offer anti-slip protection with aesthetically appealing designs for the wooden staircases on your home. Their treads have a secure, non-slip backing and won’t leave any residue on your precious wooden surfaces. The tread’s multiple-layer design reduces noise on your stairs and offers a soft touch for younger children and pets.

A bonus is that they are fully machine washable, and you can move them as you wish without time-consuming application. Unlike the tape treads, these carpet steps won’t damage your wood finish underneath them as they don’t require any sticky adhesives to work. The downside is that these threads are not as secure as their adhesive-backed tread counterparts.

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7. Put Down Clear Anti-Slip Stair Strips

Clear anti-slip strips allow you to retain the natural look of your wooden stairs while still protecting you and your family from slipping. Although some users complain about the tendency of the clear finish tapes to attract dirt and debris, there are easy to clean options on the market that eliminate this problem.

Clear stair strips offer a slip-resistant surface without the high abrasion potential of the commercial high grit stair slips and are pet and child-friendly.

EdenProducts Transparent Anti-Slip Strips are made from an environmentally friendly PEVA material for easy cleaning and maintenance. The clear surface is textured to prevent slipping yet gentle enough for bare feet and doggy paws. The durable materials are waterproof, suitable for interior and exterior use, and easy to clean with a damp towel or outdoor hose.

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8. Use Old Fashioned Stair Runners

Old fashioned carpet runners can provide a safer wooden stairwell with a gorgeous aesthetic appeal. There are a variety of textures and designs to choose from to suit your decor and your budget. Stair runners run the entire length of your stairs, and one often sees them in lavish hotels as a red carpet descending a grand wood staircase.

Nonprofessionals may find the proper installation of a full-length runner challenging. The carpet must match your exact stair measurements and requires a pneumatic stapler and a knee kicker, amongst other specialized tools for the job. You would also need the correct underlays to ensure the carpet fits securely to your wooden floor.

If you have a beautiful hardwood staircase, only the edges of the stairs will remain visible when you install a runner, which isn’t always ideal. Often homeowners wish to reveal the natural beauty of the underlying wood without covering it up with a carpet runner. The carpet itself and the installation make this option one of the more expensive options to eliminate a slippery wood surface.

The high-rated Westerly Stair Runner Rugs offer a variety of base colors for their elegant Persian-style stair runners. The Westerly designs their runners to fit most standard staircases and use 100% heat-set Olefin to ensure a snug fit.

The luxury carpet runners offer 336,000 fabric points per square meter (10.76 sq ft) and a plush pile of 8mm. These Turkish-made runners also offer enhanced stain and wear resistance for durability. The beautiful eastern design gives a sophisticated air to any home while eliminating potential accidents on a slippery stairwell.

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9. Attach Overstep Stair Treads

If protecting your hardwood floors is your priority, the stair tread and strips may not provide complete protection for the edge of the step, also known as the stair nosing. Constant foot traffic and pets may eventually wear down your stair nosing over time and damage the surface of the underlying wood.

Overstep carpets, also called bullnose, attach similarly to treads and strips but fold over the vulnerable step edges to protect the underlying wood better. Overstep treads are easy to install in between 10 to 15 minutes and release no hazardous fumes and chemicals as some oil-based non-slip finishes for wood.

Amazon offers high-quality overstep stair treads in a selection of colors with a protective fold over the vulnerable nose area of your steps. The durable and highly rated protectors are compatible with all wooden stairs and are washable and reusable.

Patavin Bullnose Stair Treads employ a self-adhesive system that requires no tape or glue to adhere. They have the added advantage of reducing the sounds of foot traffic on your home or office stairs and are pet and child friendly.

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10. Keep Your Wooden Stairs Clean

Dust and debris are potential slipping hazards on your wooden stairs. Although wood is a naturally rough texture, varnishes and waxes may create a slippery surface on your wooden stairs. Dry contaminants may also seal up the natural peaks and troughs in your wooden stair surface that cause friction making it a potential slipping hazard.

Because of this, you should regularly sweep your stairs and mop well. Mopping, in particular, is essential to keep the grime from building up on your wooden stairs, especially in high-traffic areas in your home.

Microfiber mops are great to clean wooden floors and use in tandem with several high-quality wood surface cleaners on the market that clean without affecting the wood surface or underlying wood.

And although you may have seen one of the many DIY blogs that tout a home wood cleaning remedy of vinegar and water, experts advise against using acid on a wooden surface. Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid which may break down dirt but may damage waxed wood surfaces.

Furthermore, you should always dry your wooden stairs thoroughly after mopping with a designated wood cleaning agent. Wet wooden floors and spills can cause accidents and should always be cleaned and dried when they occur. A designated dry towel is great to use on your stairs after you have mopped the surfaces of dirt and debris.

Common Reasons Why Wooden Stairs Are Slippery

Wooden floors are naturally porous and aren’t usually a slipping hazard on their own. There are several reasons why your wooden stairs may pose a slipping hazard and most of them are due to insufficient cleaning or using incorrect products on the wooden surface. If your stairs are becoming smooth and unsafe, here are the most likely causes of the problem.

  • You used the incorrect product or an inferior product. Cheaper no name brands can wear down easily and offer reduced slip resistance. It’s worth the investment to buy a rated and established product, after all safety is paramount.
  • You applied the wood finish incorrectly. Too few coats of a particular finish, or too many may expose the occupants of your home to slipping accidents.
  • You used the wrong floor cleaning treatment. Oil based mop treatments may turn your wooden stairs into a disaster area.
  • You have left some form of residue on your wooden stair surface. Moisture, grease and an excess of polish or wax alter your stair surface. Talcum powders and soap residue could also exacerbate a slippery surface.

Stairs May Require Fixing

Sometimes stairs may appear slippery or unsafe when the reality is that some of your risers and treads are not even. This occurs frequently in older houses where the house may have settled over time or the wear of many years of foot traffic. Your riser and tread should always be uniform.

Even if one of your risers is taller or shorter, it may trick a person’s eye when they are using the stairs resulting in potential slips or falls. The human eye perceives the risers and treads to be uniform and when they are not they may misjudge their footing.

Research shows that people only view the first and last three stairs and the rest is negotiated without viewing. This it’s essential that your wooden stairway should be even along its extent. Most building codes require risers not to vary more than ⅜ of an inch between the tallest and shortest riser on a set of stairs.


There’s no reason why your wooden stairway should be a potential hazard in the office or your home. With a variety of solutions on offer, you may choose an anti-slip product that is safe and does not detract from your decor. Always follow the instructions on the label to ensure that the installation is secure to ensure your stairs are safe to use.

Related article: How to Make Carpet Stairs Less Slippery

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