How to Prevent Slips and Falls on Outside Steps

Have you ever wondered what to put on slick stairs to make them less slippery?Exterior steps, especially wooden ones, can become slippery over time, particularly when they’re wet.

One of the easiest ways to protect against slips and falls is by applying self-adhesive abrasive strips, available at home centers, to each step.

To apply abrasive strips to steps:

  1. Make sure the steps are dry and clean.
  2. Cut the abrasive strip to length.
  3. Peel off the paper backing.
  4. Align the strip on the step about 1 inch from the nose of the tread.
  5. Press the strip down into place.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Reading

Joe Truini: The easiest way to prevent slips and falls on exterior stairs is with abrasive strips that you can buy at any hardware store or home center. And they come in various sizes and shapes. I prefer the kind that comes out on roll, because you can custom cut it to length.

All you need to do is stretch out the length of the abrasive tape, and then cut it with a pair of scissors. Then all you need to do is, if you look on the back, it’s got this wax paper backing.

So you just peel that off to expose the adhesive, turn it over and stick it down. You want to keep it about one-inch from the front edge—the nosing of the step. You can just eyeball it, as long as it’s close. There you go, right about one-inch—peel off the rest.

This is really sticky, so make sure you get it right where you want it, and just press it down. Now, of course, you want to put one of these on each step.

And on a wide step like this, you could put a second strip if you want. But it is really important to have it near the front edging because, of course, that’s where you step.


  1. Strips for rocking chair were can you buy the strips you describe? Does the strip have a specific name?

    Thank you.

    • I put sections of this rolled adhesive strip on my shed ramp boards and they started to come up after a day. Wondering if it’s the treated lumber that’s the problem.

      • We haven’t had that issue, Tim, but we recommend contacting the product’s manufacturer.
        The goal is to prevent slips and falls, not cause them. 🙂

  2. This is some really good information about slip and fall prevention. It is good to know that you should try to put a thing on your steps that will help prevent falls. That is good to know if you want to avoid getting hurt going up to your home.

  3. How do you keep the strips from becoming super hot in direct sunlight?
    Mine are on the steps to my pool and my wife complained that she burned her feet on them.

    Help in Panic !!!

    • Hi, John,
      This is an effective solution for preventing slips and falls on outside steps.
      These strips can be hot to step on, and it’s best to wear footwear, such as flip-flops, before doing so.
      Thanks for watching!

    • Hi, Phyllis,
      Topographic surveys focus on topography, the land’s shape and its features.
      While you can find great information on these surveys (like rivers, trees and changes in elevation, in addition to utility poles, manholes and fences), boundary surveys are your best bet for locations of easements and possible encroachments.
      Thanks for your question!

  4. Unrelated question: Have an old Craftsman Style house w/cement porches and steps. Can wood or other material (i.e PVC) be put over the cement w/o removing the cement porch or steps? Thx

    • Hi, Jackie,
      That would depend on the purpose. Since you replied to an article about preventing slips and falls, the good news is you don’t have to install wood or PVC to do the job. Just purchase an anti-slip coating like TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer from Daich Coatings and coat the porch and steps as directed.
      Stay safe!


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