Saturday, December 11, 2010

solving slippery stairs

One of the reasons that I fell in love with our house is the hardwood staircase in the front hall. Of course, the reality of hardwood stairs is that they are quite slippery.

We have a toddler who just loves testing out her stair-climbing abilities, so something must be done. But what? I took a trip to the carpet store and even came back with some rug samples, but... oh I just think a stair runner would be hideous. The carpet folks, while perfectly nice, did not really get my vision at all. 

The only thing that I've really seen that I've liked is something sisal and stripey. Like this:

But the carpet store told me that sisal is actually terrible for stairs. (So why do I see sisal runners everywhere when I look online?)

After a google search, I found an old post over on Apartment Therapy asking the same question: "How can you make wood stairs less dangerous in a way that is attractive?"

I saw two potentially viable options in the comment section. 1) Mixing some clear sand with varnish and brush onto the treads. 2) Clear anti-slip tape along the edge of each step. 

What I certainly like about each of these options is that, along with being more attractive, they would be far, far cheaper than installing a runner. Plus, not having to vacuum carpet on stairs!

If anyone has done either of these options, I'd love to hear about it.


  1. We have a couple of steps up to the master bedroom. They're bamboo and a bit slippery, especially first thing when you get up to make coffee (and hence may not be fully awake). So I put some clear anti-slip tape along the edge of each step. It's worked great, and doesn't stand out too much color-wise.

  2. Thanks, Gene! Just the kind of feedback I was hoping to receive. :) I'm definitely going to pursue this option.

  3. here's my feedback - vacuuming stairs really really sucks!

  4. My husband sanded our stairs last June, and this is what he did: used a rougher sandpaper than on our floors; and then varnished over that. You may not want to sand all your stairs, but honestly this is so great. Not a bit slippery. I so wish we had known this when my kids were little, before they fell down the stairs.

  5. I love those stairs and I completely agree with you on covering such gorgeous wood!!!


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