Summertime, Slippery Pool Deck Solutions, and SureFloor
It’s almost summer and that means people will soon be flocking to the nearest swimming pool to cool off, relax, and spend time with their family and friends. Whether it’s at home, a hotel or resort, or a neighbourhood or country club pool, shouts of “no running” will no doubt be in full force as everybody attempts to balance fun and safety… while wrangling their kids. Surefloor has a solution for you.
You’ve not only got to watch out for guests who are in the pool but those walking (and inevitably running) around a potentially slippery pool deck as well.
Why Do Pool Decks Get Slippery?
When people build pools, they’re deciding between lots of different factors and safety isn’t always at the forefront of their minds. They might be worried about style, look, or heat conductivity before they even consider something like slip-resistance.
Let’s talk materials.
People might also select different pool deck materials based on geography, weather, and cost. For example, wood decks look great but moisture-resistant woods are pretty expensive. Wood composites are cheaper and look good, but they can warp in very hot weather.
Many pool companies choose to use travertine. It’s a natural stone, similar to marble, but softer. This option allows you to choose a lighter color so the sun’s heat doesn’t make it too hot on your feet in the summer. Concrete is another great choice because it’s low maintenance and the most durable. People often customize concrete with things like cobblestones.
The thing is, lots of materials look great and feel fine when you’re selecting them, but when they get wet, they’re surprisingly slippery. For example, polished concrete is very popular for indoor pools nowadays, but it can get extremely slick (especially if it’s sealed).
When property owners decide to install a pool, they should always make sure their pool deck has a dynamic coefficient of friction (or COF) of at least 0.42. And that’s just the minimum recommendation! A higher COF is always safer, so many experts now recommend a COF of at least 0.60 for pool decks, showers, and locker rooms..
Why Pool Decks Are a Special Case
Pool decks are a special case when it comes to selecting flooring materials because they’re always going to get wet. That’s what they’re designed for! Choosing a material with an adequate COF is only part of the battle.
Another thing pool owners may not consider involves the initial installation and construction crews. You may have selected deck material with an appropriate level of traction, but as part of the work crew’s job, they may clean up and make things look nice using a buffing machine that has an abrasive pad. That can destroy the slip resistance in your pool deck right off the bat! Many pool decks end up being too slippery at the time of installation.
It’s also important to test it out beforehand! See how your chosen pool deck feels wet and with bare feet! Pool decks are also different from regular floors because you don’t typically walk on them with shoes. Bare feet have much less tread than shoes and they’re less able to penetrate that water barrier that causes us to hydroplane (slip). Whether you’re installing a pool or opening it up for a new season, test it out yourself before your guests arrive! If it feels slippery, you’ll probably want to do something proactive about it.
Another thing about pools? They’re really fun. That means they attract small children, excited kids, and well, adults who like have a few poolside drinks. All of these potential pool guests have less than extraordinary coordination skills. Their balance might not be great and they often have the occasional tendency to run, play, and show off. Kids and drunk people alike aren’t usually too concerned with slipping and falling, so you’ve got to do your part to look out for them.
Pool Deck Slip Injuries
Owners are always required to make their pools reasonably safe for guests, members, or clientele. That includes selecting the right deck material, keeping the area clean and clear, and ensuring that the COF is high enough to avoid slips from season to season (and that it doesn’t devolve over time).
Thankfully, minor injuries are much more common than major or fatal injuries when it comes to slips and falls around pool decks. As you might expect, the wettest part of the pool deck is that area just outside the pool. Slips here can lead to falls into the pool and onto the deck itself. Concussions and broken wrists and arms are not uncommon. In the case of someone who can’t swim, however, slips have the potential to be much more dangerous.
Although there are around 390 pool-related deaths per year in the US, it’s impossible to say how many of these are caused by slips. According to the CDC, for every one child who drowns, five other children visit the emergency room for injuries sustained at a swimming pool. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that about 4,900 people received emergency care for injuries suffered at swimming pools or spas annually in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
How You Can Fix Your Slippery Pool Deck
It’s not only important to keep an eye on your guests and children while they’re having fun, it’s also important to make things are safe at your pool from the get go. If you feel like your pool deck might be too slippery, you’re probably right. You can and should do more than warn people, even if you do put up signs and tell them not to run. You can increase the traction of your pool deck by calling SureFloor.
Our exclusive proprietary no-slip treatments are perfect for pool decks. They make the area around your pool safer by increasing the COF and bringing the traction rating within an industry-acceptable level of safety.
SureFloor’s treatments won’t ruin the look of your carefully chosen pool deck either. It’s not a cleaning product or a grippy adhesive that sits on the surface of your pool deck. It doesn’t require special maintenance either. Our unique formula creates a microscopic tread within the surface of the deck so that your feet can grip better and your risk of slips decreases. It only takes a few minutes to apply and you’ll be able to use your pool area immediately afterwards.
If you’re not sure and you’d like to see it in action – it’s pretty impressive! – you can schedule a free demonstration with a SureFloor professional. We can show you how it works and let you feel the difference.
Swimming pool season is upon us. Don’t open your pool without making sure it’s safe. Schedule a time for a SureFloor representative to come see you today!