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How to Mix Sand Into Paint for Good Traction

Updated April 13, 2018

Slippery floors and stairs are dangerous and can cause serious falls. According to the National Safety Council, over 7.9 million people in the U.S. sustained an injury as a result of a fall in 2007. Adding sand to floor paint not only improves traction, creating a less slippery surface, but also creates a surface that deters hydroplaning. Use the proper method for mixing sand into paint or you may end up with a clumpy mess that will not adhere to the surface.

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Purchase sand appropriate for texturing paint. You can use sand intended for use in paints or you can use sandbox sand. The size of the sand grains affects the finished result, as coarse sand provides better traction than fine sand. Do not use beach sand or sand from your yard, as these sands may contain impurities that affect the integrity of the paint.

Clean the surface you plan to paint. Remove any existing flaking paint with a stiff wire brush. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly before painting.

Apply one coat of primer formulated for porch and floor paints with a three-inch brush or quarter-inch napped roller. Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time recommended by the primer's manufacturer.

Paint the surfaces with one coat of acrylic porch and floor paint using a three-inch brush or quarter-inch napped roller. Wall paints are not suitable for floors and stairs and will wear away too quickly. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly, using the dry times listed on the can as a guideline.

Pour one-half gallon of the porch and floor paint into an empty one-gallon paint can. This will keep the paint containing sand separate from the paint without sand in case you need clean paint for touch-ups.

Pour sand slowly into the half-gallon of paint, while at the same time stirring the paint constantly with a wooden stir stick. Use one to two cups of sand, depending on how much sand texture you want; the more sand you use, the more texture you create. Do not add more than two cups of sand to half-gallon of paint, or the excess sand will prevent proper adhesion of the paint.

Apply the textured paint over the first coat of paint with a three-inch brush or a quarter-inch napped roller. Stir the paint before each time you dip the brush in the can because the sand particles tend to sink to the bottom of the can. If using a roller, stir the paint well, suspending the sand particles in the paint, just before pouring the paint into a roller tray.

Allow the textured paint to dry thoroughly, following the paint's listed drying guidelines before allowing foot traffic.


While mixing sand into paint improves traction, it does not provide a totally slip-free surface. Exercise caution when walking on textured surfaces when they are wet.

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Things You'll Need

  • Stiff wire brush
  • 3-inch paintbrush
  • ¼-inch napped roller
  • Acrylic porch and floor paint
  • Gallon paint can, empty
  • Wood stir stick
  • Roller pan

About the Author

Drue Tibbits is a writer based in Central Florida, where she attended Florida Southern College. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur and Your Home magazines. She has also been profiled in the Florida Today newspaper and the Writer's Digest magazine. In addition to writing brochure copy for local businesses, she helps new start-up companies develop a local image presence.

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