Posted in Features

Anti-slip paint

Anti-slip paint Posted on 23 October 2023

Image of textured painted floor

Anti-slip paint could mean the difference between life and death. Decorating Matters Editor Neil Braidwood caught up with two established firms that have been keeping us all safe for generations.

We don’t think of paint as being essential to health and safety, but countless factories, workshops, schools and other public buildings all require anti-slip paint for the floors, playgrounds and staircases. It’s not clear who invented anti-slip paint, but it’s thought that when they were painting a ship’s deck, sailors used to throw sand (aggregate) into the mix to give it some grip underfoot. 

One company that knows all about deck paint is Teal & Mackrill, founded in the fishing port of Hull in 1908. The company now manufactures high-quality specialist paints under the Coo-Var and Teamac brands. Its flagship Suregrip Anti-Slip Paint was initially developed for fishing trawlers.

Aggregate tends to sink to the bottom of a paint can, but Teamac came up with a way of suspending the aggregate within the paint, so you didn’t have to keep stirring it. This clever innovation has made Suregrip a market leader. 

Frances Mackrill is the fourth generation of her family to work in the Teamac business. She is the Technical Services Manager and I spoke to her about the success of the paint. 

“Actually, Suregrip is available in two different formulas,” she tells me. “Teamac Suregrip Anti-slip Deck Paint for Marine application and Coo-Var Suregrip for use on floors.

“The formulas are a closely guarded secret, and we use different aggregates depending on the type of paint and its intended use. Everything is then made here at our site in Hull, on the same spot my great grandfather started the business. We have expanded, but we have managed to keep everything (factory, lab, warehousing and offices) together.

“Suregrip is a solvent-based, single pack paint. It’s available in a range of standard colours but we can also tint it if you have an exact colour in mind,” she explains. “We find a lot of people using the paint for floor murals, so they often require brighter or specific colours. We can do pretty much anything, within reason – but no fluorescents!

“We also have ProGrip which is a two-pack anti-slip epoxy paint for ‘heavy traffic’, ProGrip has what we call a ‘pot life’, meaning that once you mix the two components together you must work quickly before it cures. It should be mixed with a drill and paddle to ensure both components are combined correctly. All single pack paints air dry, but once the two-pack paints are mixed, it’s a chemical reaction that dries the paint, so you have a time limit to get the product down. ProGrip’s pot life is two to four hours, while other epoxy paints in our range, like Profloor Plus have a pot life of just 20 minutes. We find most painters don’t even bother with a roller tray, they just tip the paint out on the floor and spread it out. 

“One of ProGrip’s main advantages is that the aggregate is suspended within the paint, saving you time, and providing you with an even finish. Most epoxy floor paints are made anti-slip by scattering a separate aggregate into the first coat, back rolling and sealing with a second. 

“Suregrip isn’t just used in the marine industry though, it was recently used on the steps at Crystal Palace football stadium. Anywhere that requires a high level of safety. But if you have a factory with forklift trucks driving around all the time you need something like the ProGrip.”

The company doesn’t just sell in the UK, it has customers in Europe and Iraq. 

“We sell a lot of the Teamac brands to Turkey for instance, where they have a big marine industry, but Iraq buys mainly Coo-Var floor paint,” Frances continues. “We have built that export side of the business up ourselves and Caroline Renwick is our dedicated Export Manager.”

I am interested to know how grippy an anti-slip paint should be, I mean, is there a level of grip that is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)? 

“Yes, there is,” Frances tells me. “It is something called the Pendulum Test Value (PTV). Basically, there is a scientific device which mimics the action of a person’s foot or heel on a surface. The device measures the anti-slip rating in wet and dry conditions and a score is awarded. The score needs to be above 36 to be considered anti-slip. Suregrip’s PTV rating is 72 in dry conditions and 61 in wet.”

For more information on Teamac and Coo-Var products, see or

A good catch

Another company that has its beginnings in the marine industry is Rust-Oleum. Sea Captain Robert Fergusson noticed that fish oil stopped his metal decks from rusting, so, with the help of a chemist, he developed the first anti-rust paint in 1921. Now owned by Tor Coatings, which also owns the Zinsser brand, Rust-Oleum has a vast range of technical paints, including floor paints.

I spoke to Andy Shaw, Head of R&D and Regulatory for the company. 

“The type of aggregates we use in our anti-slip products vary from sand or aluminium oxide to plastic beads. As long as the coating is suitable for painting floors, then these can be added to the paint. Aluminium oxide is mined as bauxite and crushed down to various sizes, mainly for the sandpaper industry. It is very hard and durable. The plastic beads were developed for this type of use as they can be made more consistent in size and are lower density – so easier to keep suspended in a paint. They are, however, softer and less durable. Sand sits somewhere in the middle – not as hard as aluminium oxide, but harder than beads. Its main advantage is it is cheap and readily available.

“Supergrip is a one component solvent based floor paint developed mainly for foot traffic. We do have other products, paints that are chemical resistant or that can be applied in sub-zero temperatures. These are all floor paints that can be made anti-slip with the addition of our aggregate additives, available separately.”

The company uses a similar technique to cater to the craft market, producing textured aerosols. These come in a variety of effects, such as granite, concrete or aged iron. 

“These paints are developed using a clear varnish, into which we have mixed a blend of different coloured plastic beads which create a speckled, variegated finish,” explains Andy. 

See for more. See for information on textured spray paints