Non-Slip Polyurethane for Wooden Stairs: A Guide to Benefits, Types, & Best Practices

By Mego Kimani •  Updated: 04/21/23 •  5 min read

Stairs can be hazardous, especially when they’re slippery. Walking on wooden stairs with socks can pose a high risk of falling, which is especially concerning if you have children who love to run up and down the stairs.

Common solutions for slippery stairs include carpeting the stair treads or using anti-slip tape. However, carpeting can be expensive and may obscure the beauty of the wood, while anti-slip tape may look conspicuous and detract from the aesthetics of your home.

That’s where non-slip polyurethane comes in. Non-slip polyurethane for wooden stairs is a highly recommended solution that provides excellent traction without compromising the natural look of your stairs.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using non-slip polyurethane for wooden stairs, how it works, and best practices for application.

Anti-slip poly for stairs

Anti-slip poly for stairs

Not all polyurethanes are suitable for use on stairs. In fact, some polyurethane coatings can actually make your staircase more slippery and pose a safety hazard to you and your family.

While researching for this article, we found that there weren’t many resources available on the topic of non-slip polyurethane for wooden stairs. We searched all popular retailers to compile a list of the best non-slip polyurethane options for you.

But before we dive into our top picks, let’s take a moment to understand what non-slip polyurethane is and how it works.

What is Non-Slip Polyurethane and how does it work

Non-slip polyurethane is a coating that is applied on top of wooden surfaces to increase friction and prevent slipping while still offering protection to the wooden surface. Non-slip polyurethane works by creating a rough surface texture that provides better traction for shoes or feet. The polyurethane coating creates a non-slip layer on the wooden surface, which increases the coefficient of friction between the surface and the shoes, making it less likely that someone will slip or fall.

Advantages of non-slip poly over regular poly

While some types of regular polyurethane may be less slippery due to differences in sheen, such as a matte finish being less slippery than a gloss finish, they still pose a risk of slipping, particularly in special circumstances. For instance, walking up/down the stairs in socks may increase the risk of slipping on regular polyurethane, regardless of the sheen level.

However, non-slip polyurethane significantly reduces the risk of slipping in such scenarios. The specialized coating creates a textured surface that increases traction and improves safety, making it an ideal solution for high-traffic areas or spaces where safety is a concern. In addition, non-slip polyurethane provides the same level of protection against wear and tear as regular polyurethane, while also enhancing the appearance of wooden surfaces.

Disadvantages of non-slip poly over regular poly

While non-slip polyurethane has the aforementioned benefits, these advantages come at a cost. Non-slip polyurethane coatings are often more expensive than regular polyurethane coatings, and they may require more frequent reapplication. Additionally, the texture created by the coating may make cleaning the surface more difficult, as dirt and debris can become trapped in the textured surface. However, the benefits of using non-slip polyurethane often outweigh these potential drawbacks, particularly in areas where safety is a concern.

The Best non-slip polyurethane for wooden stairs

Best Overall
Bona Traffic Anti Slip

Bona Traffic anti-slip is the industry standard for durability and safety when it comes to non-slip polyurethane for wooden stairs. This high-quality product is a lacquer-formulated polyurethane that boasts all the desirable features of Bona Traffic HD, with the added benefit of anti-slip agents. The anti-slip agents in Bona Traffic anti-slip provide superior traction and slip resistance, making it an excellent choice for stairs in homes with children, pets, or anyone who wants to feel confident walking up and down the stairs.

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Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip compatibility

This lacquer-formulated polyurethane adheres well to most stains and finishes after proper preparation and dry times, providing lasting durability and resistance to wear and tear. To ensure the best results, always prepare a sample or test area to determine compatibility, appearance, and desired results. Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip is easy to apply using a variety of recommended applicators such as Bona Floor Coater, Bona Roller, or Bona Cut-In pad. It is essential to follow all safety instructions and use a separate clean applicator for sealer and a separate clean applicator for the finish. With Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip, you can rest assured that your stairs will remain safe and slip-resistant for years to come.

What Customers say about Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip

customer review of bona hd traffic anti-slip for stairs

How to apply Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip

Before applying Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip to your stairs, make sure the surface is clean, dry, and free of any dirt, debris, or previous coatings. Sand and prepare the stair treads using accepted industry association methods, and vacuum thoroughly.

To apply the product, use a Floor Coater or Roller, and apply the anti-slip polyurethane in thin, even coats, following label directions. It is recommended to apply two coats of Bona Traffic HD Anti-Slip and use a clean applicator for each coat to prevent contamination.

Allow each coat to dry for at least 2-3 hours before applying the next coat. After the final coat, allow the stairs to dry for at least 24 hours before use. It is also important to follow all safety guidelines and precautions, including wearing protective gear and avoiding direct contact with the product.


In conclusion, slippery stairs can pose a high risk of falling, particularly in homes with children or pets. Common solutions for slippery stairs include carpeting or using anti-slip tape, but these options may be expensive, inconvenient, or compromise the aesthetics of the home. Non-slip polyurethane is a highly recommended solution for wooden stairs, as it provides excellent traction while maintaining the natural look of the wood.

While non-slip polyurethane may be more expensive and require more frequent reapplication, the benefits of increased safety and improved appearance often outweigh these potential drawbacks. Bona Traffic Anti Slip is one of the best options for non-slip polyurethane for wooden stairs, as it provides superior traction and slip resistance while adhering well to most stains and finishes.

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Mego Kimani

Hi there, my name is Mego Kimani, and I am the owner of Woodmeter, a website dedicated to wood finishing. At Woodmeter, we offer a comprehensive resource for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts, providing information on everything from achieving the perfect finish to product recommendations and technique guides. Our goal is to empower our community with the knowledge they need to create beautiful, long-lasting finishes on their projects, no matter their skill level or experience.