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Surface Applied Warning Tactiles: Key Features and Benefits

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Surface Applied Warning Tactiles: Key Features and Benefits

At Tactile Solution Canada, our mission is to help create fully accessible and inclusive built environments for people of all abilities. As a leading Canadian supplier of surface-applied warning tactiles, we understand the crucial role tactile surfaces play in facilitating independent and safe mobility.


In this blog, we will explore the key features and benefits of our surface-applied detectable warning systems that meet stringent AODA, CSA, ISO, IBC, and NBC codes. By incorporating these specially engineered tactiles in high-risk areas, property managers, contractors, and builders can enhance universal accessibility and reduce accidents.


Choosing the Right Warning Tactile


When retrofitting existing structures or building new projects, the first step is determining whether you need directional tactiles to guide pedestrians or a detectable warning system to signal potential drop-offs or hazards.


Our Tactile Warning Surface Indicators are perfect for wheelchair ramps, stair nosing's, transit platforms, and other situations where the built environment transitions from a walkway to a vehicular zone or drop-off area. These non-slip tiles provide tactile feedback underfoot to alert people with vision loss of impending changes in elevation or potential dangers.


There are many factors to consider when selecting between our various surface-applied detectable warning options. Some key attributes to evaluate include:


  • Surface Compatibility: Check if the existing surface is suitable for bonding or if a renovation is required. Our tiles are designed to adhere easily over concrete and other hard surfaces.

  • Durability: Harsh weather, heavy footfall, and snowplow battering necessitate durable materials that can withstand extreme conditions without degrading tactility over time.

  • Substrate Preparation: Simple self-adhesive types require minimal cleaning, while adhesive or screw-down options involve more surface prep work.

  • Tactile Pattern: Dome or bar patterns must comply with codes and be clearly discernable under varying ambient light conditions.

  • Colour Options: Standard attention dome and directional bar tiles come in different standard colors to meet visual contrast criteria outlined in regulations.

  • Warranty: Look for superior engineered polymer and rubber compositions backed by long-term performance guarantees.


After considering project parameters and the various compliant solutions available, you'll be ready to select the optimal Surface-Applied Tactile Indicator Tiles for your accessibility needs. Let's explore the key benefits of our top-rated options in more detail.


Advantage One Tactile Systems


Advantage One Tactile Systems is our line of TWSI's (Tactile Walking Surface Indicators) that come in different metal materials. Designed to last in the most rigorous applications or to enhance the look of your projects while complying with all code requirements. Advantage One Tactile Directional Indicators and Tactile Domes are suitable for applications like curb ramps, shopping malls, transit platforms, parking areas, stairwells, and escalator approaches.


Eon Tile


Eon TM are durable and flexible rubber tactile indicator tiles chosen first by professionals who design and construct the finest commercial, institutional, and public environments. EonTM Tile is a state-of-the-art rubber compounded together to create category-leading quality and a contemporary look and finish. Suitable for a variety of applications such as airport concourses, railway stations, shopping centers, department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, swimming pools, schools, banks, community centers, or almost any high-traffic environment. Eon Tile's line of products offers attention indicators (truncated domes) for warning and tactile direction indicators for wayfinding.


Elan Tile


ElanTM Tile is the ultimate porcelain tactile indicator chosen by professionals who design and construct the finest commercial, institutional, and public environments. Incorporating the best raw materials in the market, ElanTM Tile far exceeds the EN 14411 standard, allowing the product to meet the designation of "Porcelain Stoneware" and to be suitable for both interior and exterior applications. Offering highly durable and versatile tactile walking surface indicators (truncated domes) for warning and direction indicators for wayfinding, the ElanTM Tile line of products signals the newest generation of excellence from Kinesik.


Armor Tile Tactile System Surface Applied


Armor-Tile Surface Applied Tactile Attention Indicator takes pride in being the leading manufacturer of tactile walking surface indicator systems. Its truncated domes are a diamond-hard vitrified polymer composite that sets the benchmark for durability and detectability in tactile systems. 


The Armor-Tile surface applied tiles provide a cost-effective method for retrofitting existing sidewalks. These surface-applied tiles are available in 10 colors, creating clear boundaries to ensure separation and safety for pedestrian routes from vehicular traffic or other potentially hazardous obstacles. The tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI) can be used for a variety of applications, including curb ramps, escalator approaches, parking areas, transit platforms, top-of-stair landings/wheelchair ramps, multimodal transit stations, pedestrian crossings, and vehicular passageways. Armor-Tile surface applied products are in full compliance with Canadian accessibility codes AODA, CSA, ISO, and provincial and national building codes (Ontario tactile walking surface indicators).


AccessTile Surface Applied Attention Domes


Access Tile Surface Applied Truncated Domes are the industry leader in affordable detectable warning tiles that are perfect for any retrofit job. These Tactile Attention Indicators are slip-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and abrasion-resistant, ensuring all truncated domes are durable against wear and tear, maximizing the longevity of the detectable warning pads. The Surface Applied truncated attention domes can be applied in many situations, including multimodal transit stations, curb ramps, accessible pedestrian crossings, parking areas, tops and bottoms of stair landings, escalator approaches, and many more to warn the public when they have reached an unsafe edge. Access Tile Surface applied truncated attention domes are available in 8 different colours to provide visual contrast warning the public when they have reached an unsafe edge.


AccessTile Surface Applied Wayfinding Bars


Access Tiles Surface Applied Directional Wayfinding Tiles (Directional Bar Tiles) are specifically designed to work in unison with truncated attention dome tiles. These Canadian accessibility code-compliant wayfinding bars are designed to lead the public between spaces and follow the desired path safely. These (TWSI) tactile walking surface indicators use a series of bar-shaped tactile surfaces, creating a detectable path. These paths are created with truncated attention dome tiles to indicate where the path begins, ends, or splits so the visually impaired can orient themselves to follow their desired path.


Detectable Warning Tile Installation Requirements


To ensure your selected warning tactiles function effectively for decades while remaining bonded safely in all weather extremes, proper substrate preparation and installation methods are crucial. Here are some code-mandated guidelines to follow:


  • The surface must be stable, non-friable, flat, and level with no sharp protrusions. Grind any high spots and fill low areas.

  • Thoroughly degrease and prepare substrate per manufacturer instructions to achieve optimal adhesion. A light sanding may be required for non-porous surfaces.

  • For peel-and-stick types, ensure the surface is completely clean, dry, and free of contaminants before application.

  • According to technical data sheets, certain adhesive bonding options necessitate priming substrates beforehand.

  • Carefully measure and mark out tile placement using pre-drawn site plans for uniform spacing between tactiles per code recommendations.

  • For corners and complex areas, score tiles using a utility knife before bending or shaping to prevent fracturing.

  • Periodically recheck tile alignment and make any necessary adjustments before adhesive cures completely.

  • If adhering with contact cement, apply thin coats to both surfaces and allow proper flash-off times prior to contact.

  • Conduct regular maintenance checks and promptly replace any tiles showing early wear or debonding to preserve accessibility.


Conforming to these prerequisites ensures engineered polymers bond securely to withstand traffic and climate stresses, keeping tactile warnings fully operational throughout their design lifespan. Proper preparation pays off with problem-free installations.


Maintaining Code Compliance with Surface Applied Tactiles


Accessible built environments demand ongoing stewardship to retain their inclusive functionality over extended periods of operation. With attentive maintenance, our durable surface-applied warnings will continue serving communities for many decades ahead while fulfilling all evolving legal standards.


Here are some best practices to uphold ongoing compliance:


  • Conduct routine maintenance inspections monthly or seasonally to identify signs of tile debonding, deterioration, or wear before issues arise.

  • Promptly replace any tactile units showing early failure from environmental stresses, such as cracking, looseness, or erosion of tactile features.

  • Periodically clean tile surfaces using non-abrasive cleaners to remove accumulated dirt and contaminants that obscure domes or bars.

  • Address landscape, drainage, or snow removal issues causing premature tile damage from pooling water, sanding agents, or mechanical impacts.

  • Monitor code updates and retrofit additional tactiles or directional indicators whenever regulations expand required coverage areas.

  • Schedule refurbishment projects every 10-15 years or as needed to restore substrate conditions and re-apply new tiles, ensuring surfaces remain ADA compliant.


Our commitment to stewardship extends beyond the initial sale with ongoing technical support guiding facilities managers and contractors regarding maintenance best practices. Together, we can safeguard protected spaces for generations to come.


Frequently Asked Questions


Here are answers to some common questions about surface-applied detectable warning systems:


Q: Will different tile brands work for both indoor and outdoor use?

A: Yes, however, some products are formulated specifically for demanding applications. Check material specifications and warranty coverage for the intended environment.


Q: Which tile type installs fastest with minimal disruption?

A: Self-adhesive tiles like Advantage One Dome and Bars apply in minutes without the need for adhesives or special tools.


Q: What is the expected lifespan of detectable warning tiles?

A: Properly maintained tactiles can last 10-15 years or more, while economy options typically warrant 5 years of expected performance. Harsh site conditions may affect actual durability.


Q: At what point should faded or worn tactiles be replaced?

A: Replace any tactile unit showing premature wear, cracking, looseness, or erosion, rendering domes or bars no longer discernable by foot according to regulations. Maintain written records of replacements.


Q: What cleaning products are safe for detectable warnings?

A: Use non-abrasive, pH-neutral cleaners only. Avoid stronger solvents, chemicals, or pressure washing that could degrade polymers or dislodge units prematurely from substrates over time.


We hope this guide has equipped you to select confidently from our extensive range of certified compliant surface-applied warning tactiles engineered for universal accessibility, safety, and code approval on any project. Please contact us for application-specific recommendations, quantities, or technical assistance.