Slippery decking can pose a serious safety risk, particularly in winter when you add sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow to the already-wet conditions. Knowing how to prevent and treat slippery decking surfaces can make all the difference as the adverse weather conditions begin to close in, so we’ve put together a list of five easy tips on how to stop decking being slippery to help you prevent any nasty slips and falls this winter. We’ve also added a bonus option at the end for long-term slippery deck prevention. So, let’s get started:
1. Brush Away Fungus and Leaves
The first port of call for stopping your decking from being (or becoming) slippery is to remove the most common substances that cause the surface to become slick. Winter weather is typically wet, and wet timber is a breeding ground for slippery algae and fungus growth. Large decking areas are also prone to collecting rotting leaves left over from the autumn months, which create a super-slippery layer of their own. A stiff-bristle yard brush is usually all you need to scrape away any unwanted growth and leaves, and won’t damage your timber boards. Avoid using metal implements or anything sharp to scrape away the debris, as this can scratch and damage your timber further, which can lead to rotting. Get into the habit of giving your decking a good brush down every week or fortnight to dislodge fresh fungal growth and any stray leaves, as the more you keep on top of it, the easier it will be to keep it at bay all winter.
2. Use Rubber Mats
You can buy outdoor rubber grip matting as a quick and easy way to make decking non-slip. These mats are a great temporary solution to get you safely through the winter months and, though they’re not the prettiest of options, they’re ideal for the colder seasons when you’re spending less time in the garden. Simply lay yourself a narrow walkway using the mats, which are designed to withstand all weather conditions, and then store them away for next year once the weather dries up again in the spring.
3. Use Safe Ice-removal Methods
When the weather gets really cold and the snow and ice set in, your decking can become a miniature ice rink overnight. Your first instinct might be to hack at the ice with a metal shovel or lay down grit salt to melt it all away, but these will not be openly welcomed by your timber decking. The metal tools can damage and open up weak points in your decking, while the harsh chemicals in grit salt can also corrode your timber and metal hardware if left to sit for days. If you have lots of snow and ice build-up on your decking, try using a plastic shovel to remove as much as you can. Then, if the rubber matting option really doesn’t suit you, you CAN sprinkle a little grit salt onto your decking, as long as you remember to rinse it off as soon as the ice and snow have melted away. Note: if you have composite decking, grit salt is safe to use.
4. Apply Non-Slip Decking Strips or Tape
Another quick and easy way to make decking non slip is to use specially-made abrasive strips or non-slip decking tape. Abrasive, non-slip decking strips are the more permanent solution, as they need to be screwed into the surface of your decking (this works best in decking with grooved boards, but check the dimensions and widths of all strips before you buy). Non-slip tape is a cheaper and much faster way to stop decking being slippery, but isn’t necessarily a long-term solution. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to wait for a clear, dry day to apply decking tape for best results, and you’ll need to remove any fungal growth and other debris before you apply it.Whichever you choose, anti slip decking tape and strips both create a safer, more grippable surface for you to walk on.
5. Apply Non-slip Decking Oil
If you have a little more time on your hands, you can apply various treatments to your decking timber to help prevent the surface from becoming slippery. While non-slip paints and varnishes work well in the short term, they tend to start flaking off before long. An anti-slip decking oil, on the other hand, will not crack or peel and is easy to replenish when needed. These oils are usually natural and contain compressed particles to create a rougher, non-slip surface. This option can be a little pricey, especially if you have a very large decking area, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you don’t want to change the appearance of your decking too much. And what about that bonus long-term option we promised … ?
6. Install a Non-slip Deck
A plank of non-slip decking for how to stop decking being slippery in winter Easier said than done, we know, but it’s so worth it. This is an especially good option for those with existing decking that’s on its last legs, or those looking to install a brand new deck from scratch. Installing a specially-designed anti-slip deck will eliminate the need for all of the above preventative measures. Anti-slip decking is made with pre-treated timber that is resistant to fungal growth and insect attacks, and features built-in abrasive strip inserts that blend in with an attractive, natural look. Having an anti-slip deck installed means long-term peace of mind and an easy life; ideal if you don’t have time to scrape and scrub your decking every time it rains or snows.
Here at Timberworld, we stock a range of sturdy, high-quality anti-slip decking boards to help you create the ultimate non-slip decking that will last for years and years to come.
Now you know how to stop decking being slippery in winter (and all year-round, too) you can step out with confidence, knowing you’re protected against any nasty slips and trips. If you have any extra tips on how to make decking non slip, we’d love to see.