Smooth concrete floors can be dangerous. These floors often are exposed to water, oil, chemicals, powders, and dust. Just a thin layer of one of these substances on a smooth floor significantly reduces foot-to-floor or tire-to-floor contact. How can you increase the traction of smooth concrete floors and improve their safety? Nonskid coatings can help, but they aren't always enough. In some cases, a more permanent and effective solution is grooving or texturing. Both produce floors that are high in friction and generally low in maintenance.


Grooving increases skid resistance by creating parallel channels in the concrete surface through which water, oil, chemicals, and other substances can drain. This reduces hydroplaning and increases friction. Grooves are cut in hardened concrete slabs using diamond-tipped saw blades lined up on a rotating shaft. Texturing is similar to grooving but the channels are shallower and closer together.


How do you determine if a floor should be grooved or textured? Mike Daniels, sales manager of Traction Masters Inc., offers some guidelines based on the company's 12 years of experience grooving and texturing concrete floors. Daniels' primary consideration is the type of traffic the floor receives. For heavy forklift traffic he usually chooses grooving. For floors exposed to pedestrian or light vehicle traffic, Daniels says texturing gives plenty of skid resistance and wears well.