Garden Advice

How to make decking non-slippery

More and more Brits take up the trend of having a decking in their backyard as an alternative to a paved sitting area. And this is not surprising, as a wooden or composite deck not only looks great but it’s also relatively low-maintenance in comparison to a patio that you may often need to clear of persistent weeds. Still, decking comes with one major drawback. It can become slippery in wet weather, especially in autumn and winter, when fallen leaves, spent blossoms and fungus growth can contribute to the surface becoming even more slithery. Thus, the build-up of plant debris on your deck not only affects how it looks but it can be also dangerous for anyone who happens to walk on the affected area.
So, what is the solution to this problem? How to make decking non-slip? Well, there are quite a few ways to stop your decking from being slippery and this way, prevent bad falls, painful fractures or worse, lasting and life-changing injuries.

Right then, this post will look into the various tricks that you can do to make your deck safe to use at all times.

So, if you:

  • have a wooden or composite decking that lacks the advanced anti-slip properties most new models have;
  • are interested in installing a non-slip decking but don’t know what type to go for;
  • wondering about what the most effective anti-slip decking treatment or solution is;

Then, we’ve got the answers right here!

But first things first. Let’s have a quick look at some of the popular types of decking people choose to install and whether they come with integrated anti-slip features.

Table of Contents:

Anti-slip decking – your options

Before we delve into how to make your existing deck non-slip, we better, first, explore what’s out there as an option if you’ve never had a deck before and are thinking of installing one sometime soon. Or if your old decking is too damaged and beyond repair, and you wish to replace it with a modern and safer wooden or composite structure, just check out the list of options below:

  • Relief-surface decking – These can come in various finishes, regardless of whether we’re talking about a composite deck or a timber one. Some of the popular designs include boards with a grooved-channel or deep wood-grain texture. Naturally, a surface, which is not completely flat and smooth, offers a good grip underfoot.
  • Plan a non-slip laying pattern prior to the installation  – Imagine beforehand how your decking’s going to be used, in terms of the direction of the main flow of foot traffic. And then, just lay the boards in the opposite direction. This way, the gaps between them will provide you with relative resistance to slips and falls.
  • Fungus-resistant decking – You can purchase already treated decking, be it composite or made from timber, for instance, that’s been made of a fungus-resistant material (composite decks) or has been covered with a special anti-slip product or sealer (timber decks), which has antifungal properties. This basically stops mould and mildew from growing on the surface (the common culprits behind slippery decks in the cold and wet weather months). Note, however, that wooden decks will need to be treated with mould-resistant oil every couple of years to ensure they stay non-slip at all times.
  • Grass-look decking boards – Maybe, these are not everyone’s cup of tea, in terms of look and design, but you can install timber boards, covered with artificial grass.
  • Decking with integrated anti-slip strips – Modern decking options can also come with already attached rubber or abrasive strips on each or every other individual board or with fitted inserts if we’re talking about grooved decking components.

Well, but what can you do to make your already fitted and long-serving decking safer if it doesn’t boast all the above slip-resistant features? Yes, you’ve guessed right. You can just add some of them to upgrade your existing timber or composite decking structure. The result will be a secure area for recreation and pleasant outdoor family gatherings on a warm day, once the sun has come out after an unexpected shower or heavy downpour.

How to make your already installed deck non-slip

It goes without saying that you should regularly clean your decking from fallen organic debris with a bristle (non-metal) brush and keep on top of mould developing in places to prevent the surface from becoming slippery when it rains. This, of course, applies to decks that already have some anti-slippery properties, too, but more so to the types that do not have such characteristics.
On that note, fungus loves low pH environments and when rainwater is acidic, it can reach a pH value of 4.0. So, what you can do on a regular basis is to clean your deck with a high-pH solution to neutralise mould and mildew spores. Wash the surface, first, with a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Then, mix some baking soda with warm water in a spray bottle and treat the affected area with the solution. Leave it to act for about 20 minutes and then, rinse again with clean water. For other deck cleaning techniques, you can check this post, as well.

And now, read on to see what else you can do to boost the safety of your deck by making it non-slip.

Attach anti-slip strips to the boards

There are affordable and some more expensive abrasive strips that can be attached to your decking boards to provide you with a good level of slip-resistance. The cheaper version is a self-adhesive tape that you can glue onto your deck on a nice, dry day after the surface has been cleaned, first, very well. Unfortunately, however, these strips of tape won’t last as long as other alternatives, so they’ll have to be replaced eventually with new ones.
So, maybe, it’s a good idea if you spend a bit more money and invest in a better and longer-lasting non-slip solution in the form of abrasive strips that are screwed onto the decking surface. Last but not least, there are also anti-slip inserts that fit most grooved decks that you can go for, too.
All these will provide you with good traction under your feet whenever you walk over your deck when it’s a bit wet.
Don’t forget to measure the length of your boards properly before purchasing the strips to avoid mishaps and unnecessary headache later on!

Treat your deck with slip-resistant oil

Again, the more you spend on a product the better quality it will be, in general. But we should point out here that it’s best if you consult the specialists in your local hardware store to find out what type of oil you should get exactly for your wooden deck (composite decking doesn’t usually require such additional treatment). Also, note that not all anti-slip finishes come equal. For instance, sealants and varnishes will eventually wear off or crack and will need to be sanded off before a new coating is applied, most likely after a year. So, do invest in the right oiling product, which should have abrasive properties, due to its special make-up that contains tiny compressed hard particles. A properly oiled deck will provide you with a good grip when walking and thus, the likelihood of you or someone else slipping and falling becomes minimal.
Before proceeding with the non-slip oil application, remove all items and clean well the timber surface. Use a brush rather than a roller and consider applying the back-brush technique so that the product gets into every grain and groove of the wood.
Here, it’s important to say, that you should consider wearing protective gear when applying the oil to prevent possible damage to your eyes, skin and lungs.

Throw a few rubber mats over your deck

Well, this solution to your slippery-deck problem is great if you’re on a budget. It’s a cheap and cheerful (but not the most attractive) temporary measure for the winter. After all, you hardly sit outside when it’s cold and only use your deck to go in and out, say, to access your garden for whatever reason. Of course, when the garden season comes back and the weather dries up a bit, you can remove the grip mats and store them in your shed.

Need help with upgrading or repairing your deck?

Well, not everyone’s got the time to spend on outdoor maintenance jobs over the weekend or the willingness to play with the safety of their family by attempting to make their deck non-slip by themselves. Then, if that’s the case with you, why not entrust the task to Fantastic Services and get a professional decking repair service, performed by fully-equipped and experienced technicians? We can assist you with oiling your deck to make it slip-resistant, which includes all the important prep work, as well. The experts we work with can do any kind of decking repairs, as well as install a brand new composite or timber outdoor flooring for you. Just share your needs or project vision with us and we’ll take it from there!

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  • Most contemporary composite and timber decking models are designed to provide you with a safe and slip-resistant experience.
  • Cleaning regularly your deck is the key to avoid making it slippery, as leaves and debris not only hold moisture but can also hinder drainage through the gaps between the boards.
  • You can easily make your existing old deck non-slip by choosing from an array of affordable solutions.
  • Rubber mats are an easy, temporary non-slip solution, but beware that they can speed up the “wear and tear” process of your wooden decking over the winter, as they hold water underneath them that can damage the boards.
  • Whether you apply a store-bought non-slip sealant or oiling product, or you’ve stirred up your own slip-resistant varnish or paint with a bit of fine sand, be careful not to “seal” accidentally the gaps between the boards and this way cause potential drainage issues.
  • If you lack the skills or time to do the job yourself, simply ask a mate to help you out or call a professional property maintenance company.


Did you get a better idea of what slip-resistant solution would work best for your deck? Then, please tell us in the comments below and why not share around our post if you’ve found it helpful, as well?

Image source: Shutterstock/sanddebeautheil

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