Laminate flooring can be a great affordable alternative to hardwood floors, providing a stylish look without the high cost. However, laminate floors are notorious for being slippery, which can create hazardous conditions in your home. Falls are the leading cause of injury, especially for seniors, so it’s important to take steps to make your laminate floors less slippery. Fortunately, there are several effective solutions.
Why Laminate Floors Are Slippery
The smooth, hard surface of laminate flooring is the root cause of the slipperiness. Laminate flooring consists of photographic paper images fused to a composite wood backing, with a clear melamine resin layer on top to create the glossy effect.
This plastic coating is very dense and non-porous, so there is no texture or grip for shoes or feet. Any dirt, dust, moisture, or other substances on the floor decrease traction even further by interfering with direct contact between the shoe or foot and the flooring surface.
The first step in making laminate floors less slippery is proper cleaning. Allowing dirt, dust, and grime to build up on the floor creates a film that reduces traction. It’s recommended to sweep, vacuum, or dust mop laminate floors on a weekly basis. Occasionally use a damp mop with laminate floor cleaner to remove stuck-on dirt and stains, but avoid excessive moisture. Always thoroughly dry the floor after cleaning.
Never apply wax or oil-based products to laminate floors, as this will dramatically increase slipperiness. Wax fills in the microscopic pores in the flooring, creating an even smoother surface. In addition, wax builds up over time as new coats are applied without fully removing the old wax. This results in a thick film that reduces traction.
Use Anti-Slip Sprays
Specialty anti-slip sprays are formulated to slightly roughen or etch the ultra-smooth melamine coating on laminate floors at a microscopic level. This restores some of the texture needed for traction, while still maintaining the attractive appearance. Brands like SlipDoctors Floor Grip and Extra Fine Clear Anti-Slip Spray are specifically made for use on laminate and wood floors. Make sure to test a small inconspicuous area first before treating the whole floor.
Apply Anti-Slip Floor Finishes
Another option is to apply a new anti-slip floor finish directly over the existing laminate coating. Bona Traffic Anti-Slip floor finish is a two-part water-based polyurethane product that can be applied just like regular floor finish, providing a permanent textured coating for traction. It has a satin sheen versus high gloss, but helps prevent slips and falls.
Use Rugs and Runners
Placing area rugs and runners in key high-traffic zones can improve traction on the surrounding laminate flooring. Opt for rugs and mats with rubber backing or a non-skid underside to prevent them from sliding. Rugs at exterior doorways help collect dirt and moisture from shoes to keep it off the laminate floor.
Bare feet, stockings and smooth leather soles offer very little grip on laminate floors. Wearing rubber-soled shoes or slippers can improve traction and stability.
Take Steps During Installation
There are also some steps that can be taken during the actual installation process of laminate flooring to maximize traction:
- Inspect the subfloor for uneven surfaces, nails sticking up or other issues that could prevent the laminate planks from laying flat. Uneven joints can create gaps and ridges that become tripping hazards.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions closely, especially regarding the use of underlayment. A foam underlayment provides some cushioning, but a plastic polyethylene film is better for preventing moisture damage.
- Do not use carpet padding underneath laminate flooring, as it creates flex in the floor that can lead to buckling planks and unsafe surfaces.
- Use floor protection pads specifically designed for laminate flooring. The plastic underside prevents scratching while still allowing the planks to securely attach to the subfloor. Regular carpet padding is too soft and cushy.
- Fit planks flush together and tight against thresholds and vertical surfaces. Excess gaps or bevels can catch heels and toes.
- Avoid installing laminate flooring on staircases or steeply inclined surfaces which already pose a slipping hazard. The ultra-smooth laminate increases the risk further.
Get Professional Installation
It’s highly recommended to have professional installers put in your laminate flooring rather than doing it yourself, especially if you want to minimize slipperiness. Professionals are experienced with the intricacies of proper subfloor prep, moisture barriers, plank layouts, tight seams, and finish work needed to create a safe laminate floor. Trying to rush through a DIY installation yourself often leads to cracks, gaps, improper locking mechanisms, and other defects.
Maintain Proper Indoor Climate
Keeping your home’s indoor moisture and humidity levels in the recommended range for laminate flooring also helps prevent dangerous slipping. When the air becomes too dry during winter months or heating system operation, static electricity builds up which attracts more dirt and dust to the floor’s surface. Low humidity causes planks to shrink and contract slightly, opening up tiny gaps between boards that collect grime. Running a humidifier prevents these issues.
Conversely, high humidity causes laminate flooring planks to swell and push up unevenly against each other. The ledges between swollen planks become trip-and-fall dangers. Monitoring indoor humidity and avoiding large spills prevents this.
Practice Good General Housekeeping
Simple good housekeeping practices also keep laminate floors clean and less slippery:
- Take off shoes when entering the home so as not to track in dirt, mud, or moisture.
- Promptly clean up any food or liquid spills.
- Do not allow pets to walk on laminate floors until their paws are clean and dry.
- Sweep up pet hair which reduces traction.
- Rearrange area rugs and furniture periodically to ensure evenly worn flooring. High foot traffic zones become more slippery as the melamine coating slowly erodes over time.
- Attach felt floor protectors to moveable furniture legs. This prevents scratching and scuffing of the laminate surface as items are moved.
- Limit aggressive playing, running, or roughhousing which could damage the laminate surface and joints.
Proper maintenance and cleaning are key for safe laminate floors. But even with diligent care, the plastic melamine coating will naturally become more slippery over the normal life span as it slowly breaks down from footsteps and cleaning.
Applying anti-slip finishes or treatments can restore traction to older floors. Be extra cautious of slipping hazards for children and seniors in the home. But with the right solutions, laminate floors can become and remain safe for all residents.
Why are my laminate floors so slippery?
Laminate floors can become slippery due to the smooth melamine coating on the surface. Regular cleaning and an anti-slip treatment can help add traction to laminate flooring.
Should I use a microfiber mop to clean my slippery laminate floor?
Yes, microfiber mops are recommended for cleaning laminate floors. The microfibers are effective at trapping dust and dirt particles that make the floor slick. Be sure to use a laminate floor cleaner and avoid excessive moisture.
What’s the best way to make my laminated floor less slippery?
Using anti-slip sprays formulated for laminate floors can help etch the smooth surface to make it less slippery. Rugs, runners and floor mats also improve traction on laminated floors.
Why is my laminate floor slippery even after I mopped it?
Excess moisture can make laminate floors slippery. After mopping, always be sure to thoroughly dry the floor to prevent a slick surface. Fans and dehumidifiers can help speed up drying time.
How can I prevent falls on my slippery laminate flooring?
Proper cleaning, anti-slip treatments, area rugs, and wearing shoes with rubber soles can help prevent falls on slippery laminate floors. Take extra precautions with seniors, children, and pets.
Why is my laminate floor still slippery even after mopping up a spill?
A slippery floor can persist after mopping up a spill on laminate flooring if there is still excess moisture present. Laminate floors become very slick when wet. Be sure to thoroughly dry the floor after cleaning by using fans, opening windows, and absorbing any puddles with dry towels. Remaining moisture can leave a slippery floor surface even once the visible liquid is gone. An anti-slip treatment can also help add traction to a laminate floor after deep cleaning.