Tread Carefully!

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We moved into a split level house specifically to cater to the needs of tiny children and aging dogs. Grenadier, believe it or not, is now six years old! He’s still spry and sprightly but next year will mark the beginning of his senior life and he’s slowing down in little increments. I see him hesitating at the bottom of our 5-step jump between “upstairs” and “downstairs” and it makes me sad. Slippery hardwood is hard on old joints. Not to mention that in a few months I’m likely to be watching LongJohn make his first forays up and down that mountain of stairs.

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So I thought I’d make the stairs a little safer for all of us. You may remember that I put some adhesive grips on our deathtrap stairs in Elizabeth, but I didn’t do a very good job there. It’s amazing how home ownership will prompt you to make sure you do something right the first time.

At first, I thought I was going to be stuck buying black or gray adhesive grip tape and that I was going to have to get creative with how I laid it down so that it wouldn’t look like I’d just slapped safety tape on my stairs. I was going to have to MEASURE for crying out loud. Pah. Then I discovered that 3M makes CLEAR safety tape, so I picked up a roll of that. I also needed a rubber roller to properly apply this stuff, and 3M sells that too. Handily, my mother, who has done some printmaking in the past, had a stock of them so I nicked one from their basement for free.

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First things first: measure (or eyeball) and cut strips. Now that I didn’t have to worry about laying things down in fancy patterns, I cut one piece to fit the stairs (according to the package instructions), and then measured each subsequent piece to the first one.

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Then I had to sit there with LongJohn in the Jolly Jumper while I painstakingly rounded all the edges.

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Because one of the travelers in our house has four legs with small feet, I put a few extra strips in place to ensure that Gren could find grip no matter where he stepped.

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Next, I had to clean and de-grease the steps to ensure that the tape stuck. I used a Magic Eraser to gently abrade the finish of the stairs and make it more welcoming to the adhesive. The instructions recommend stripping the varnish off completely but there is no way I’m doing that!

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Then you just stick the stuff down! Peel off the edge, line it up, and away you go.

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Once it’s down, take the roller and go from the middle outwards, pressing quite hard (my hands were sore the next day).

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Done! You can see bubbles in mine because the floor isn’t perfectly smooth.

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It’s funny, you know – the tape shows up here quite clearly on my camera, but when you’re looking at it with the naked eye it’s barely visible at all. You can only see the bubbles on the top step when you come upstairs and the sun is shining brightly through the bathroom window. So it’s pretty much invisible. And everyone feels a lot safer!

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Safety First!

Safety First!

Our stairs are a deathtrap.  They are narrow, bendy, and uneven.  Not to mention slippery as anything.  Unfortunately, we have to use them several times a day.  During our most recent spate with bad weather, the Pie was heading down them in his boots and he slipped.  Luckily he caught himself and our bannister is firmly embedded in the wall, but that was the last straw for me.  I fall down the damned things all the time, but the Pie is one of those people with remarkable balance, and he’s very hard to take down.  So if he falls, you’ve got a problem. To prevent future accidents during what is being forecast as a bad winter, I am adhering safety treads to each one of our stairs. I picked up these 3M Safety Walk rolls from Canadian Tire for ten bucks a roll.  We have fifteen steps in total, each being approximately two feet wide, meaning that for one strip per step I need thirty feet.  So two of these five-yard rolls will do me just fine.

Safety First!

Make sure if you’re putting adhesive strips on inside steps you use an indoor/outdoor strip as opposed to a regular outdoor strip, as they’re easier on bare feet. The instructions are pretty clear.  Let’s see how well I follow them!

Safety First!

First you need to clean all the dirt and grease and grime off each step. Your surface has to be completely dry or the stuff won’t stick.

Safety First!

Then you measure out your strips. Make sure to measure carefully.  I have exactly 30′ of tape and I need to use it all to cover the steps, so my measurements per step have to be spot-on.  Fifteen steps with 24″ strips sounds good to me.

Then you cut the strips to size and round the corners.  Rounding the corners in a uniform manner is certainly harder than it looks.

Safety First!

Peel off the backing and adhere the strip to the step.

Safety First!

Press from the inside out to release any bubbles.

Safety First!

Because my two rolls were 15′ each, I ended up with two 12″ strips at the end of my cutting. Actually, they were about 14″ each, which turned out to be handy on my widest step, where I just put them next to each other.

Safety First!

And now my stairs are safe (er, safer than they were, at least).

Safety First!