Are Polished Concrete Floors Slippery?

Polished concrete floors need not be slippery. It is a common misconception that shine makes a polished concrete floor so beautiful, reflecting color variances, makes it a threat for slips and falls. A polished concrete floor can be slip resistant in both wet and dry environments. In some cases they are more slip resistant than the resinous flooring systems. The slip resistance of polished concrete actually has a greater coefficient of friction (COF) than most coated floors considering a typical specification of polished concrete. The COF of resinous flooring systems can be increased by adding non-skid additives (NSA) in the protective top coats. The NSA is mixed with the topcoat or broadcasted on the surface of the topcoat immediately after its application.

In general, a polished concrete floor has slip resistance that meets or exceeds industry standards of 0.65 COF. The flat surface produced by a fine polish puts the sole of the shoe directly in contact with the concrete surface. The level of slip resistance depends on the concrete polishing specification - the level of honing and polishing that's done and grit level of the tooling used. Some coatings have this COF of 0.5 to 0.65 but they can be taken up to 0.9 by adding NSA.

Protective film-forming acrylic coatings that are sometimes blended with wax emulsions aka 'guards' are burnished in the surface. These 'guards' make the floor pop and shine but they can make the slip resistance of the floor much less than if not applied, especially when the floor is wet. If the 'protective guards' are applied more than what is recommended by the manufacturers, they can be problematic for slip resistance. We typically recommend a mild, neutral-pH cleaner for general maintenance. Entry mats can help to trap dirt and water from being tracked onto the surface.

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