Watch Your Step! Which Floors are the Slipperiest?

by Chris Martin on February 19, 2014

One of the scariest events that can happen to a business owner is a slip-and-fall accident in his or her store or office. Not only are these incidents painful for the victims, but they are also costly for the business owners as well.  In most states, the business must cover the medical costs of the victim through its insurance policy (or worse, out of company accounts directly).

Naturally, this scenario should be considered when it comes time to choose which type of flooring is suitable for your establishment. Ideally, you would want to minimize the risks of a visitor or employee slipping and falling, so you may want to factor this into your decision on which floor materials are used. While no surface is completely impervious to slipperiness, some tend to be more slippery than others.

The flooring with the most traction (obviously) is carpeting. Depending on the types and length of fibers, carpeting can provide the least amount of friction on footwear in an office setting. Of course, carpet may not be practical for all types of businesses; and although it takes a significant amount of moisture to make carpet slippery, smaller amounts may stain or damage the fibers.

Hardwood floors tend to be fairly slip-resistant. That’s because small amounts of moisture are absorbed directly into the wood instead of remaining on its surface. The downside of this is that the wood can become warped or damaged by water; plus, it is susceptible to scratching and scuffing in heavy traffic areas.

Many business owners like the look of natural stone flooring. They can choose from slate, limestone, or slate flooring which are both durable and attractive. If the stone flooring is textured, then it is much less likely to be slippery; but marble stone flooring may present a slip-and-fall hazard if it gets wet.

Laminate is a popular option, especially for business owners who are installing new flooring over the old surface. It’s durable and scratch-resistant, and is often recommended for damp areas. However, laminate can still get slippery if enough water is spilled on top of it.

Budget-minded consumers often choose tile flooring because of a wide selection of surfaces, colors, and textures. If the tiles are glazed or slightly textured, they are more likely to resist moisture. But ceramic or porcelain tiles can become slippery, as can tiles with glossy finishes.

Finally, vinyl flooring is arguably the most slippery type of surface, especially tiles with glossy surfaces. Even textured vinyl tends to produce less friction on footwear, which may enable slipping and falling. The main reason businesses go with vinyl is because it is inexpensive, stain-resistant, and easy to install.

No matter what type of flooring your business has, strategically-placed floor mats can diminish the chances that someone will suffer a slip-and-fall accident. Putting these mats near entryways, next to beverage machines, and in other areas which may be prone to moisture is a smart preventive measure to avoid slips and falls. Ultimate Mats has a wide selection of exterior, interior, all-purpose, and even logo mats depending on what your business needs. And all Ultimate Mats products are certified to be slip-resistant by the National Floor Safety Institute.

Keeping floors of any type clean and dry is your best defense against slip-and-fall accidents. But floor mats from Ultimate Mats can augment this strategy, especially in high-traffic spots. So contact Ultimate Mats today to see about getting a beautiful, sturdy floor mat for your business.

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