Are Marble and Travertine Floors Slippery?

We’ve all seen “SLIPPERY WHEN WET” signs posted at entryways of industrial, commercial, and retail properties. Falls are completely avoidable, yet incredibly common. Sadly, they are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, according to the National Safety Council. If you have natural stone or tile floors or are considering having them installed, you may be wondering whether this surface material is slippery. This article by Tru-Clean Surface Care clears away misconceptions about the slipperiness of natural stone and provides suggestions regarding both new and existing installations.

The Physics of Slips

Slips are based on two surfaces, the flooring material and the shoes one is wearing (or bare feet). Just a bit of wetness between the bottom of a shoe and certain types of flooring can pose a very real hazard. You may have seen cartoons where a character slips on a banana peel. In real life, wetness on floors has a banana peel effect, whether the wetness comes from a spill, a pet accident, foot traffic on a rainy day, or even moisture from condensation. There are things you can do to minimize the risks, such as placing heavy-duty mats near entryways, being hyper-aware and vigilant about wiping up damp spots, and placing warning signs in conditions where wetness is likely to occur.

Natural Stone, Terrazzo, and Concrete

When it comes to natural stone, terrazzo, and concrete, the more polished and glossy the surface is, the less coefficient of friction (CoF) there is, that is, the more slippery the surface is. Likewise, if the stone has a honed or textured finish, it will have a higher CoF, which can minimize the likelihood of a slip and fall accident. If your floors get slippery when wet, talk to your natural stone technician at Tru-Clean Surface Care. There are solutions available.

Professional Solutions

If you are having a new stone installed, and you have your heart set on a reflective finish, you may want to select a lightly polished or highly honed finish instead of a high polish. For existing stone, your stone restoration technician can apply a treatment or refinish the floor to reduce the slipperiness. The tricky part is minimizing slipperiness while also preserving the reflective appearance of the stone. The more reflective you want the finish to be, the more ongoing maintenance will be required. Your stone restoration technician can make recommendations on the frequency of maintenance, depending on the type of stone you have, how much traffic it gets, and how determined you are to keep a finish that is inherently slippery. The bottom line is the rougher the finish, the less slippery the floor tends to be.

No Guarantees

As previously mentioned, why someone might slip involves two surfaces, but many factors can contribute to why someone might slip. For example, is there something on the floor or the bottom of a shoe, such as grease or residue from a cleaning solution? How much grip does the bottom of the shoe have? Is the pedestrian paying attention and being mindful or haphazardly moving along? Are there distractions in the environment, such as noise or poor lighting? Has the floor been properly installed and maintained? Stone restoration technicians can improve the slip resistance of your floor, but there is no guarantee someone will not slip and fall.

Who We Are

Tru-Clean Surface Care is a Certified Partner with the prestigious Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).  We are Stone Pro Certified Restoration Professionals, and a surpHaces PRO Partner.  We are A+ Rated with the Better Business Bureau and an eight-year-in-a-row-winner of the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award.

Tru-Clean Surface Care is the stone “cleaner of choice” to many interior designers, flooring professionals, cabinet and flooring contractors, and homeowners desirous of a professional stone floor or countertop cleaning, polishing, repair, or sealing.

For more information on Tru-Clean Surface Care please visit us online at or give us a call any time at 239-541-4888 – Cape Coral and Lee County, 239-206-1935 – Bonita Springs, Naples, and Marco Island, or 941-621-2198 – Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte.