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What is Non-Skid Tape?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 17, 2024

Non-skid tape is a type of adhesive tape which can be applied to a variety of surfaces to increase traction so that people do not fall or slip. In some regions, this tape may be required in certain locations by law for safety reasons, and in other areas, non-skid tape may be liberally applied even when not required to ensure that people stay safe. Many hardware stores carry non-skid tape, with several options available for different applications. Theatrical suppliers and home supply stores also stock this product.

This tape is made by covering one side in a grit which will provide traction until it is worn away with use. Aluminum oxide is a popular material for the grit, but a wide variety of other substances can be used. Classically, non-skid tape is black, since this color blends well with a variety of surfaces and it is easy to produce. Colored tapes are available, along with reflective tapes which can be used to identify stairs and other hazards in low lighting, in addition to preventing falls and slips.

The adhesives used on non-skid tape are very tough, designed to work on wood, metal, concrete, and a wide variety of other materials, and to stay put even through prolonged use and harsh weather conditions. In other words, when one installs non-skid tape, one should not plan on removing it in a hurry. People should also be aware that the grit is much like that of sandpaper, and it can cause skinned knees or elbows if people happen to fall on it.

This product is sold in rolls of a variety of widths so that people can apply non-skid tape to stairs, ladder rungs, the edges of decks, walkways, and other locations. Large sheets of non-skid tape are sold as “grip tape” for skateboards and other surfaces, providing a wide surface with lots of traction for additional safety. As a general rule, classic black is the least expensive, with reflective and glow-in-the-dark versions being at the higher end of the pricing scale.

It can be very useful to keep a roll of non-skid tape around. Many people find themselves slipping on minor hazards, such as worn steps in wet weather, or slick driveways. A few strips of non-skid tape can solve the problem cheaply and effectively. Landlords in particular may find it beneficial to use this tape on outside stairs and any other potentially hazardous spots to reduce liability claims from slippery-footed tenants.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon276636 — On Jun 25, 2012

There is a difference in the non skid tape that can be used in the bathroom and the warehouse. You are right: the industrial grade has a grit that will harm you if you fall.

But there is a non abrasive non skid that is used in bathrooms and by pools, docks, etc.

By anon275084 — On Jun 15, 2012

There are different levels of abrasive or grit available on non-skid products. They even are placed on your mops or cleaning devices will not get stuck or ripped up on them.

By anon56369 — On Dec 14, 2009

I would like to add that although you mention non skid tape is abrasive it can also be bought non-abrasive. Some of the non-abrasive materials possess high levels of coefficient of friction (grip) in both wet and dry conditions. Similar to figures obtained by abrasive products.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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