Stairs needing anti slip paint for metal surfaces

Anti slip paint for metal surfaces: making workplaces safer

Anti slip paint for metal surfaces is the solution to exercising due precaution and minimizing injury in the workplace. Metal staircases and floors are common in industrial locations. They are practical and provide durable, relatively easy-to-clean surfaces. On the other hand, any humidity or spills, can turn this substrate into an injury hazard.

More than 1 in 5 workplace injuries in New Zealand occur as a result of slippery floors and stairwells.

As an employer, building manager or landlord, this statistic would translate to a need to reassess how much “Duty of Care” you are taking.

This article explores this paint in detail, products as well as specialists in New Zealand.

What is anti slip paint for metal ?

Research into anti-slip materials began in the early 90’s as iron workers faced serious safety hazards when erecting newly coated steel. Anti slip paint is a texturized finish which reduces traction between coated metal substrates and other surfaces.

Manufacturers back then considered aggregates such as aluminum oxide on steel substrates. However, the high costs (financially and in application difficulty) induced a redundancy in the use of this material. Modern anti slip paints consist of epoxy liquid coupled with a low grit aggregate.

Anti slip paint for metal surfaces on stairs

Anti slip paint for metal stairs

Essentially, the majority of non slip paints are water-based with low VOC content although solvent-based coatings are also available. This paint is often applied on:

  • Offshore oil and gas rigs
  • Metal stairs and ramps
  • Bridges
  • Ship decks and access balconies
  • Floors around heavy machinery


What makes a non slip paint for metal the best?

The answer to this is subjective – depending on whether you are looking for the aesthetics or performance. The factors in determining the performance aspect are:

1. Non Slip Aggregate Hardness 

Hardness of the minerals in the aggregate determines the level of cementation. The higher this value, the more resistant the aggregate is to abrasion and degradation. Non Slip Aggregate Hardness is measured on the Mohs Hardness Scale. This factor is displayed on paints and in technical data sheets.

2. Coefficient of Friction

This factor refers to a mathematical concept which describes the effect of dragging a substance (such as a shoe sole material) over another (in this case, a steel surface). Anti slip coefficient of friction measures the relative ability of slip and sliding of the steel surface when wet and when dry. The manufacturer states the COF in technical data sheets and it is then the responsibility of the building owner to test this after application.

In New Zealand the minimum COF for wet and dry surfaces is 0.4

For slopes, however, different COF values are required as visualized below:

Coefficient of friction of antislip on slopes

Source: Construction Marketing Services Ltd

Different ratings exist for different surfaces but the standards are defined in the Building Act. If you need any assistance in interpreting this information our coating experts can provide guidance for your project.

For the appearance, the best anti slip paint for metal surfaces depends on your preference of the final finish. The most common variables are the colour, surface grade and finish choice. The finish choice is determined by how the paint is applied.

Mill This finish comes in the raw material colour. The paint itself contains no additives or paint – only the slip resistant coating
Painted This is a water-based paint finish. Although attractive, painting can compromise the slip resistant properties of the surface
Powder Coated This dry finishing process produces a more uniform coating. In addition to the many colours available, powder coating also provides durability and corrosion resistance
Galvanized Galvanized finishes prevent corrosion and have a coarse texture

How to make anti slip paint for metal surfaces

Flashback to the 90’s – faced with the high costs of texturing media, manufacturers resorted to trying polyolefin bead media as an inexpensive and humidity-resilient ingredient. The success of this experiment created the platform for future antislip paints. Consequently, it is now possible to make non slip paint at home. All it takes is adding an anti slip additive to a top coat.

Stirring anti slip coating for metal surfaces additives into paint

Additives are stirred into the top coat

Additives are available from paint stores all over New Zealand and are an inexpensive way to coat surfaces at home. Keep in mind, however, that although it is a cheaper option the trade-off is in the quality of the finish.

Ready-to-use non skid coatings are easier to apply and offer a more consistent finish with less effort.

 Specialists in New Zealand that can apply anti slip paint

Outsourcing anti slip paint jobs has the following benefits

  • Professional looking result
  • Knowledge of specific application guidelines according to regulations
  • Provides proof of safety certification

You can find a list of specialists in New Zealand that can coat metal surfaces with anti slip paint in the table below;

Floorsafe NZ Ltd Applicator 75 Katerini Grove, Papamoa Beach, Papamoa 3118
The Solution Co Applicator 131 Battery Road, Ahuriri, Napier 4110
Anti-Slip Solutions NZ Applicator, Supplier 31 Oriwa Cres, Otaki 5512,
Absolute Marine Reseller, Distributor Unit 1, 13 Highbrook Drive, East Tamaki, Auckland
Bunnings Warehouse Retailer 272-302 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021


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