Concreate, Inc. delivers concrete polishing and custom staining for both commercial and residential projects primarily in Virginia and Maryland (but also up and down the East Coast). We work hand in hand with with designers, architects, project managers, general contractors, tradesmen, and home owners alike from start to finish. We welcome the opportunity to serve your polished concrete needs in every way possible.

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Is Polished Concrete Slippery?

Is Polished Concrete Slippery?

A slip-resistant concrete floor.

Despite its appearance, polished concrete is more slip-resistant than many other flooring types on the market

Key Takeaways:

  • Polished concrete isn’t slippery in most conditions
  • Even when wet, the material is more slip resistant than many other options
  • You can add slip-resistant properties for additional traction
  • Anti-slip floors can help businesses avoid lawsuits

There’s a common misconception that polished concrete floors are slippery, and it actually makes a lot of sense because of its smooth appearance. Still, this material remains slightly porous after completing the polishing process, giving it about as much grip as regular concrete. 

Polished concrete even retains most of its traction when it’s wet. The way the water reacts with the concrete’s surface helps your shoes grip it while walking, reducing slip-and-fall instances.

However, there are some situations where polished concrete becomes slippery, and learning about when these scenarios arise can help you make the necessary adjustments. Here’s a thorough answer to the question, is polished concrete slippery? 

Traction on dry polished concrete

Although polishing your concrete floor compresses its surface and pushes its molecules closer together, it doesn’t completely fill its pores. The result is a floor that retains much of the traction you’d expect from a traditional concrete floor, albeit with a much different appearance. 

The reason is that polished concrete is a flat, porous surface that allows direct contact with the floor, reducing the possibility of a slip and making it more slip-resistant than many other surfaces. 

Floor traction is typically measured by its coefficient of friction rating, or COF. According to the USA Occupational Safety & Health Administration, all walkway surfaces should have a COF rating of at least 0.5 under dry and wet conditions. The Americans Disabilities Act also contains language stating that floors accessible to disabled persons should have slip-resistant properties, but it doesn’t define what that means. 

Polished concrete meets or exceeds a COF of 0.65 when dry, ensuring your floors are as slip resistant as possible. There are things you can do to give these floors even more traction, as well.

Walking on wet polished concrete

Many floors get slippery when wet, which you might have experienced when walking on tile or hardwood. However, polished concrete retains most of its traction when damp, primarily because of its porous makeup. 

In fact, the way moisture interacts with polished concrete and its porous surface ensures your foot stays in contact with the floor. The main issue is that this water can quickly damage the concrete, so you’ll want to get it cleaned up as soon as possible to keep the finish in excellent condition. 

The influence of dust

Polished concrete offers slip resistance in dry and wet conditions, but it isn’t perfect. Slips can happen when there’s dust on the surface because the powder sits over the top of the floor, limiting the contact your shoes make with the concrete.

As a result, polished concrete isn’t recommended in locations that produce a significant amount of dust or sawdust because the floors could become extremely slick over time. You can invest in an anti-slip coating if you’re determined to go with polished concrete, though, which should limit the danger for everyone visiting your property. 

Sealed concrete floors

As you complete your concrete floor, consider adding a sealer or guard. These coatings provide an additional layer of protection for the floor, locking water, oil, salt, and other contaminants out while making the concrete more robust and durable. 

The issue is that sealed concrete isn’t porous because the sealant shields the surface. As a result, the sealer covers the anti-slip attributes that polished concrete provides, and the floor becomes more slippery. 

Sealed concrete is an even more significant slipping hazard when wet because your shoes won’t make contact with the porous concrete. Once again, though, you can take some steps to make your polished concrete less slick and provide safety for employees and visitors to your building. 

How to make polished concrete floors even less slippery

You probably won’t need to make a polished concrete floor less slippery unless you add a sealer. In this situation, there are some steps you can take to add traction and reduce the chances of someone falling on your floors when wet. 

First, you can add rugs or carpet near the building’s entryways. They will remove moisture from people’s shoes, limiting the amount of water that tracks into the building and making the floors slicker. 

You can also add a gritty sealer to your building if slips are a significant issue. Your contractor can use a sealer with polyethylene grit for the final coat, ensuring there’s additional traction when walking on the polished concrete floor.

Slip-resistant tape is another option, although it covers portions of the floor. This material can be helpful when you want to draw attention to certain parts of the concrete surface and provide some traction.

Why traction is important

Of course, having this additional traction is vital because you don’t want anyone to get hurt on your property. Making your floors as anti-slip as possible limits the chances of someone falling on your concrete floors and injuring themselves.

Lawsuits can arise when people get hurt on your property, and avoiding these situations is essential for business owners. A small investment in an anti-slip floor could save you from significant financial issues in the future. 

Creating your ideal concrete floor

Your polished concrete floor is sure to look great and provide outstanding slip resistance, but you might find yourself adding sealers or guards to improve durability. In doing so, you’ll make the floor less slip-proof, but there are some additives you can use to minimize your risk as you develop your desired flooring appearance

Concreate can provide advice as you seek the ideal concrete floor for your purposes. We can also polish your concrete, add sealers and guards, and ensure your project is as slip-resistant as possible. Contact Concreate or visit thisisconcrete.com for more information on slip-resistant concrete for your home or business.