If your laminate floor is slippery, it might be because you waxed it. That's never recommended for laminate floors — and now you know why. Even without waxing, though, laminate flooring can be slippery because of the super-hard coating that is standard with most products.
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Slippery flooring is dangerous for everyone, but those who are most affected are the elderly, who could be seriously injured by a fall, and pets with long nails that prevent their paws from getting a grip on the hard surface. Slippery floors are also problematic for people in wheelchairs and busy parents who have to move around the house quickly and efficiently, often carrying heavy loads or toddlers.
Keep Your Laminate Floors Clean
Cleaning laminate floors keeps them looking good, but that isn't the only reason you should do it. When you allow a thin layer of dirt to accumulate, it makes the floor more slippery because it destabilizes the surface, much as a layer of water makes roads more slippery and dangerous.
Your cleaning routine should include weekly or bi-weekly sweeping, vacuuming or both. When you vacuum, use a soft attachment without a beater bar to avoid scratching the finish.
Occasional damp mopping is also recommended to remove accumulated grime that won't come off by sweeping alone. Most laminate manufacturers recommend using a microfiber mop and a commercial hardwood and laminate cleaning solution. The laminate floor cleaner recommended by Good Housekeeping is Weiman Hardwood Floor Cleaner, but several other brands are available that are just as good.
Use an Anti-Slip Spray for Laminate Floors
Even with proper cleaning, some laminate flooring products are so hard and glossy that they are still slippery. For these, you can use a product such as Slip Doctors Extra Fine Clear Spray. A can that will cover 20 square feet costs about $30.
Another way to turn your slippery flooring into a slip-resistant laminate floor is to apply an anti-slip finish to the existing finish. Bona makes a water-based, two-part product that you apply like any other type of floor finish. It has a satin sheen, so it may not be for you if you like the glossy surface of your laminate flooring. But keep in mind that it's the glossy finish that is making the floor slippery in the first place.
If you opt for an anti-slip spray for laminate floors or an anti-slip floor finish, be sure to test it on a small part of the flooring before you use it on the entire surface. That way, you can be sure it adheres well and doesn't alter the appearance of the floor in a way you don't like. If you use the spray, you can apply it only to the most slippery spots as an alternative to treating the entire floor.
An Alternative Anti-Slip Strategy
You may not like the idea of putting a top coat on the existing floor finish to make your laminate floor less slippery. If not, consider using rugs — but if you do, make sure they have rubber backings. If they don't have backings, they will only increase the slipping hazard.
You might also consider putting doormats at the room entrances to encourage people to wipe their feet and avoid tracking small particles of dirt into the room. This is a better idea than adopting a shoes-off policy, because stockings provide even less traction than footwear and are of no advantage on a slippery floor.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker and Family Handyman.