Background: St. Patrick Church in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has a front porch, staircase and ramp that was added during a major renovation in 2001. The surface of the porch and steps were made using a manufactured tile that replicates bluestone. This Church is very active with a full schedule of services, weddings, funerals, baptisms and other events.
Problem: The new tile steps were slippery. To improve traction an epoxy coating with sand broadcasted on top was applied in 2012. The sand wore off in a few years so another epoxy coating was applied. Unfortunately the new coating was very slippery. The steps were so slippery that one parishioner fell and the Church had to close the front steps to pedestrian traffic. This was a major inconvenience and liability concern for this active Church.
Solution: St. Patrick personnel determined they needed a solution with the following attributes
- Excellent non-slip characteristics
- Excellent visibility and neat appearance
- Easily installed by church maintenance staff
- Excellent adhesion to existing epoxy coating
- Chemically resistant to “Ice Melt” (calcium chloride)
- Long term durability in heavy foot traffic, snow shovels and outdoor environment
Form-A-Tread®, a 100% epoxy based material containing slip resistant properties and UV inhibitors was selected. Adhesion testing to the existing epoxy coating was conducted prior to installation. A 1” wide Black stripe was installed directly onto and ½” from the front edge of the step. To improve visibility especially in low light situations, Form-A-Tread Safety Yellow was applied on the bottom step and two 1” stripes on the top step. An additional 1” wide Black stripe was applied on the landing. The stairs are exposed to heavy foot traffic and weather extremes so Tread Grit® HD was sprinkled on after spreading for additional traction and durability.
Installation Time: Under 3 hours. Surface preparation consisted of removing dirt and loose coating with a stiff wire brush. Form-A-Tread was installed in the early afternoon and allowed to cure overnight. Steps were ready to receive foot traffic by 6AM the next morning. Temperature of install area = 60 to 75°F.
Cost and Useful Life: Total material cost = $450. Useful Life estimate is 5-10 years.
Summary: Traction, safety and visibility on St. Patrick Church front steps were greatly improved. The steps are open again and feedback from Church leadership, parishioners and students has been extremely positive.