Slippery Slope

My first apartment in Wingham had a huge kitchen and livingroom, with a loft-like bedroom and bathroom at the top of a steep set of painted stairs. A few times, when my panty-hosed feet met those steps, Lisa went bye-bye. I recall slipping all the way down, my endless fall finally broken by cracking my noggin on the wooden door at the bottom.

Our house has a lovely staircase with a gloss finish. It’s just begging to send someone ass -over -teakettle onto the hard tiles at the front door. We needed a solution. My first thought was sisal treads but they’re bound like little carpets and that didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want to cover up the stairs, just make them safe. Then I found clear, PVC-free treads.

They arrive rolled up in a box so you need to let them flatten for a day or two. The little roller might look amusing but it’s important!

One step at a time, you clean and dry it, measure the centre and mark it with masking tape at the lip of the step. Do the same on the back of the tread, turn it right-side up and line up the marks. Fold back one-quarter of the backing and roll the tread on, peeling the backing off as you go. The tread goes down the width of masking tape plus a hair back from the edge. It’s really easy! You just have to take your time and do it right.

They’re barely visible but your toes know they’re there and you can feel the grip.

Oak isn’t my favourite wood. Sorry trees. But I still felt this staircase was too nice to cover up. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind. But for now, the treads are getting the job done.

After I posted photos of the staircase on social media, many questions were asked. Here’s what I found out.

Q. Will they ruin the finish if you take them up?
A. The manufacturer recommends using a hair dryer to loosen the glue and prevent any damage to the finish.

Q. Can you use them in a bathroom, say, on steps leading from a bathtub?
A. The manufacturer says yes. As long as it’s the feet that are wet and not the stairs themselves.

Q. Can you cut them to size? A. Yes, they can be trimmed to size.

Q. Can they be used outdoors? A. They are meant for indoor use however some customers say they are using them outdoors. I doubt they would stand up to winter, though.

They’re available on Amazon and Wayfair. I tried buying them locally but no one – and I mean no one! – had them, or could get them.

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