How to Produce a Non-Slip Surface on Deck Stairs How to Produce a Non-Slip Surface on Deck Stairs

What You'll Need
Paint-on Epoxy
Aluminum Oxide
Paint Brush or Roller

Non-stick surfaces for deck stairs can be done in a multitude of ways, but the best looking and most durable is often a complete broadcast method. To do this, an epoxy is laid down on the stair and then a layer of aluminum oxide is thickly applied over the entire stair area. The epoxy is allowed to dry and the residual aluminum is swept clean. The aluminum oxide which stuck to the epoxy is then thinly coated to keep it long lasting and beautiful. Aluminum oxide is a bit heavier than sand and will not wear down as quickly. It can be found at sand blasting supply stores or purchased over the Internet. For each square foot .75 pound to 1 pound of aluminum oxide will be needed.

Step 1 - Epoxy

Multiple types of epoxy exist. Consult the local home improvement store for the best outdoor epoxy in your particular weather zone. Apply the epoxy to the deck stair as indicated on the package. Make sure the coating is of medium thickness and completely covers the stair. Any places which are not covered, will not allow the grit to stick to them and can be exceptionally difficult to cover later without noticing. Allow the epoxy to begin drying. When the epoxy is beginning to set up and level out across the deck stair, it is time to add the aluminum oxide. 

Step 2 - Complete Coverage

Pour the alluminum oxide onto the stair liberally. It is best to apply it with a kitchen glass or old tupperware container. Do not be skimpy. You want to completely cover the epoxy with at least an inch of grit.  Do not push down or back; roll over the top. Just liberally pour the grit onto the epoxy and allow it to stay, unaltered for at least 12 hours. Consult the epoxy instructions for complete dry time.

Step 3 - Sweeping

When the epoxy has completely dried, sweep any aluminum oxide residue off the stair. Remaining aluminum oxide can be reused on subsequent stairs if desired. Do not scrape at the aluminum. Merely brush off any unattached residue so the stair can be effectively sealed.

Step 4 - Top Coat

Apply a top coat of the same epoxy over the alluminum oxide. This top coat will lessen the severity of the grit, while still maintaining a non-stick coating. In this way, you can walk bare foot over the non-stick surface without hurting the feet or feeling too abrasive. The top coat will also seal the alluminum from easily wearing away, while giving a professional appearence. Use a thin top coat of the epoxy as to not completely eliminate all the abrasive quality of the aluminum oxide.  One thin, even coat should be completely satisfactory for many years.

Step 5 - Repeat

Repeat this process for each stair beginning at the top and working down. If the bottom stairs are done first, the residual alluminum will be brushed onto a gritty surface and is hard to clean up or save for future use.

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