Guests complained of slippery steps. Do I need to put down anti-slip strips for hardwood steps?

Guests complained that our hardwood floors and steps are too slippery. And told me we are “lucky” they didn’t get seriously hurt. We’ve stayed at the cabin ourselves (with our young children), never noticed the floors being especially slippery… But being hardwood floors of course they are more slippery than carpet. I know these guests were asshats because they just sounded mean on the phone… But I still want to take their criticisms seriously. Do you all put down anti-slip strips on your wooden steps? Do you do anything with your hardwood floors to make it less slippery?

In my condo building our wooden stairs get slippery when snow gets tracked in. One unit owner wanted to put these adhesive tracking strips on each step. They helped but looked like hell. Depends on how nice your stairs are. We decided to not use them for aesthetics . But this is just owners where we don’t have guests.

You could also put down a carpet runner.

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I agree they look like hell. I have it in one of my other cabins that I rent out. I really don’t like the look of it. Carpet runner would look pretty out of place since the whole cabin is hardwood except for some bedrooms - away from the stairs. This is a 3 story house so there are quite a few steps…

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Yes we have anti-slip strips on our outdoor staircases - both of them. They are tile and not wood but the principle is the same. This isn’t because guests ever slipped, or mentioned it, but because it’s simple common sense.

Also, your insurance company might insist on it - if there was a claim there’s a danger that they could deny it if you haven’t taken reasonable precautions. It depends what country you’re in of course, but it’s pretty cheap to add the strips especially when you consider the alternative.

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These are indoor staircases. We have very good handrails. It would not appear to be common sense to me to install those strips… Common sense would tell me that hardwood floor is slippery with socks and those handrails are there for a reason…

Common sense would tell me to see what the insurance company says. But it also tells me that I wouldn’t want guests to be in danger of injury if I could avoid it cheaply. I’m not really understanding why you asked the question if you don’t want to go ahead. It just seems sense to me to minimise your liability.

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I look at problems and make them design opportunities. There are other options other than strips or runners.

Something to consider


Thanks @HH_AZ. I like that look much better.

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What about supplying slipper socks for the guests with gripping on the soles? They are easily washed.

In my UK 1740’s (well, most of it…) cottage I have fairly new hardwood floors throughout the ground floor, including one staircase, apart from tiles in the kitchen. No one has ever complained of them being slippery. Ever. I have carpeted the small hallway with coconut matting for wiping feet on entry but people still walk mud and leaves over the kitchen floor on entry.

I think your quote above possibly answers your question.

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I definitely hear you there. They booked my property at a discount (they were the FIRST booking that came in so it had the discount attached to it), and asked for more discount while they were there. They told me everyday (through text) that they were having a great time and really enjoying the cabin. But after they left and it was evident I wasn’t going to give them a discount, they gave me a list of problems (including the slippery floors and steps) and told me their vacation was “pretty bad”…

Oh dear. I hated those discount bullies when I started, and thankfully managed to evade all but one.

I would factually explain your experience with these people in your review so that other hosts are made aware of likely behaviours. Perhaps some of our ace writers will chime in here for you; I’m being grumped at to go out to the pub right now!

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I needed a visit to the pub after their stay!

Tell Mr. Joan to relax!

"Can’t really recommend. Guest was apparently having a good time and enjoying the cabin, but when I would not give them a discount, I was presented with a list of perceived “problems” and was told that their vacation was “pretty bad”.


You could also add a non-skid additive to your poly and do a coat, which will give the tread a rougher texture. It may make cleaning/mopping more problematic as those little “nubs” will grab lint/hair.

Use your judgement, but I think your guests were trying to push buttons until they found one that dispensed a discount. Good riddance!


" a further discount" perhaps?

Mr Joan is now fully watered and has enjoyed ranting about the Brexit Bollox with mates in the pub ! It is a forbidden topic in the house…

Hahahahaha! Yeah I’m going to write them a review when the 14 day countdown is down to the last minute… They told me they wouldn’t write me a review because they are kind and don’t want to ruin my business. How kind of them.

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@Allison_H, thank you!! I’m going to look into it. I want to minimize guests reasons to complain but I know some guests will never be happy. This group also told me I need to put in another shower, because for how big the place is, there’s not enough showers. they said, “it can’t be that expensive”. I talked to my contractor. He said it would be a couple thousand… What irks me is the fact they booked it within an hour my listing went live. I didn’t even have any good pictures up yet. I had 8 blurry photos and they booked and told me they’d be “grateful” to stay at my cabin. So I would think they were going to be quite pleasantly surprised with how nice my property is… I have new photos up now. This is my property: (am I allowed to put it up here?)

Yes, you are.

Honestly I think some people look for those new listings (and new hosts which you clearly aren’t but maybe they didn’t realize that?) to try and take advantage of the situation.

I hate people like that… @KKC I think you are right. They talked to me like I was a total newbie. On the phone they told me how experienced they are with air bnb and how they have multiple units in this town and that town. Which really stood out to me as a pretty asshat thing to do. I’ve stayed at other hosts’ homes too. Some of which were newbies. I always left them great reviews and gave them nothing but encouraging words… I can’t imagine being mean to a fellow host… I just can’t… Even if things were really bad I would still try to sound encouraging. My favorite part of his complaint was that he said he never used the jacuzzi tub during the entire stay, because he hates jacuzzi tubs, and told everyone not to use it. Then by the end of the phone call he told me the jacuzzi tub was getting hot water only on some days but not others. How could he know that if he never even used it? Since we just purchased this house I know the water works well - we actually had 3 professionals checking on the water to make sure the whole system works well.