My wife is handicapped and needs to have the wooden hand rails on the
stairs "roughed up" so she can grip better.(They are stained wood) I
have tried the textured paint but she says it actually makes it
worse...as does sanding with rough sandpaper. Anyone got any ideas how
to make wood rails less slippery? Is there a product that can be painted
or sprayed on?
Roughing up the wood could be a bad thing. Picking up a splinter on a
handrail is almost guaranteed to cause a reflex action and loosen
someone's grip on the rail. Bad situation.
The marine industry use non-skid paint for deck applications. It's
simply a paint that has small aggregate (think coarse sand). You could
replicate this by adding sand to polyurethane. Use a floor paint or
floor polyurethane - a handrail experiences a fair amount of wear if
it is used frequently.
Here's an idea that'll involve more work than textured paints, but would
probably make for a more pleasant surface to grab. First, look at the
picture of wooden buttons at the link below, provided only for illustration.
You can buy these buttons at hardware stores, and probably Home Despot, too.
They're normally used for covering screws that've been countersunk in wood.
Remove your handrail, drill shallow holes into the top of it, tap buttons
into place with a bit of wood glue, and refinish-repaint the handrail,
including the buttons. Test your drill bit size with a couple of buttons in
a piece of scrap wood first. They should be slightly snug, but not so tight
that you need to hammer so hard that you damage them. Use a rubber mallet,
or a finishing hammer and a thick piece of fabric held over the button.
If you know someone with a drill press, you could mark the series of holes
along the top of the handrail, and have all the holes drilled very quickly.
I'd space them every six inches, or maybe closer.
Well... friction tape should work, if you don't care what
it looks like. If you check in hockey supply stores,
you can probably even get it in colors.
But for the ultimate in grabability,
you could go with multiple bits of this
textured neoprene rubber and a great deal of
high-quality rubber cement:
(it's the last product on the page)
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