How to cheat gravity – the idiot’s guide to slip-resistant tiles

On a list of “things you never thought about until you were 30”, tile slip resistance must surely rank in the top 10. That is until a wet tile sends you 100 kph in the wrong direction. Suddenly, those decorative porcelain tiles you DIY laid on your bathroom floor are the biggest mistake you’ve ever made. So, if you’re in the throes of building or renovating your home, save yourself a whole lot of drama by becoming slip-resistant savvy, which starts right here with excellent advice from our friends at Italtile.

From slip to grip: understanding S/R tile ratings

For starters, there is no such thing as a truly non-slip tile. Anything as smooth as a tile will become slippery when wet. This is because a lack of friction between the tile’s surface and your foot allows Newton’s Third Law of Motion to prevail (#science). And so, the correct term for tiles engineered to offer surface friction is “slip-resistant”.

Slip resistance (S/R) is measured on a sliding scale (excuse the pun), with R9 being the lowest for tiles used in areas that never get wet or that wouldn’t put your life at risk if they were, like your kitchen backsplash. R13 is the highest for optimum outdoor slip resistance, perfect for tiling around pools, where a good grip is paramount. Italtile’s insistence on high-end quality means that all their slip-resistant tiles are highly rated.


Keep it clean with tile TLC

You know what they say: cleanliness is next to non-slipperiness! If you don’t keep your tiles clean, a build-up of dirt and grime can hurt all that smart S/R engineering, reducing your tiles’ rating. Of course, repeatedly using harsh cleaning chemicals can also hurt tile performance over time. So, unless you’re conducting questionable medical practices from home, avoid using aggressive bleaches. Regular sweeping, a damp mop, and warm water are all it takes to keep your floors clean enough to eat off of. Sort of: please don’t eat off your floor. For something with a little more antibacterial (and biodegradable) ‘oomph’ ask Italtile about their TFC Quick Clean Everyday Tile Cleaner.

How to fall correctly: a last resort

Failing the right slip-resistant tiles and the proper maintenance thereof, you need to know how to fall intelligently. Yes, that sounds like an oxymoron, but it could mean the difference between a bruise and a cracked skull. So, if you feel yourself falling, protect your head by tucking in your chin, turning your head to the side, and bring your arms up to your forehead in the “brace position” you see in airline safety pamphlets. Try and turn as you fall so that you land on your side, stay loose, keep your arms and legs bent, and roll out of the impact.


Slip resistance is life

With kids, pets, and messy partners working against your attempts to keep a clean home, it’s a good idea to know how to “duck, tuck, and roll” like a ninja, lest you become one of the thousands of people who end up in the emergency room every year because gravity is cruel when tiles are slippery. But choosing highly-rated slip-resistant tiles is the main thing, and Italtile should be your go-to store for smarter (and safer) flooring decisions!