Although non-slip composite decking is more slip-resistant than traditional wood decking, composite decking surfaces can still be slippery.
This article outlines why composite decks become slippery and what you can do to prevent it. If you are considering installing composite decking, we outline the best way to lay anti-slip composite decking in order to avoid slipping.
Ant-Slip Decking Factors to Consider Before Installation
Before laying down anti-slip composite decking, three factors can be considered to improve the composite decking boards’ non-slip properties.
Choosing The Right Texture and Finish
The texture and the finish of composite boards are critical factors in determining which one provides the best grip, reducing the risk of accidental slips and falls. Embossed composite boards with a wood grain feature and grooved composite boards offer the best traction.
The purpose of grooved and embossed composite boards is to provide much-needed traction. When walking on grooved composite decking, your feet will have a firmer hold to prevent slips.
Ecoscape’s Clarity range features reversible composite boards, with one side featuring narrow grooves and the other having wider grooves. The wider grooves provide a firm grip, while the narrow offers excellent traction, even in wet weather.
Consider a Perpendicular Design
The best way to maximise composite decking anti-slip features is to lay anti-slip decking boards perpendicular in the direction of heavy foot traffic. The perpendicular design gives you a firmer grip, providing you with better traction. The design of the non-slip decking boards would need to be implemented in the earliest stages of the design phase.
Non-Slip Composite Decking Drainage
Drainage is essential to composite and wood decking. Ensure a drainage slope is considered when your composite decking is installed. Composite decking must be slightly sloped to prevent water from pooling on the decking surface. This is especially helpful for decking that will be installed around a pool.
What Determines the Slip Resistance of Composite Decking?
How non-slip a surface is is measured using The Pendulum Slip Test. The Pendulum Test measures a floor surface’s resistance and friction when a foot moves across it. It tests how slippery an indoor and outdoor floor surface is on a wet, dirty, and dry floor.
Composite boards must have a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of 36 to be considered slip-resistant. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and British Standard (BS) recommend the pendulum test, the only test used to enforce the law and bring changes. Having a good PTV rating.
Ecoscape’s Clarity range of composite decking has a Pendulum Slip Test EN15534 rating of 99 in dry and 53 in wet conditions.
What Causes Existing Composite Decking to Become Slippery
Composite decking has anti-slip properties. Unfortunately, environmental elements can contribute to slippery composite decking surfaces that pose a significant safety risk. Which environmental elements cause your composite decking to be slippery?
An Accumulation of Ice
British winters are synonymous with snow and ice. The first snowfall has homeowners trying to figure out the best way to remove snow from their decks and rooftops. A snow buildup on your deck becomes a safety hazard if not removed from your composite deck. When snow turns to ice, the surface of your composite deck becomes slippery and hazardous.
A Build-up of Dirt and Debris
The surface of your composite deck can become too slippery with decaying leaves, twigs and pollen. The decaying waste can cause mould and mildew to grow, which adds to the slippery surface.
Green Algae and Mildew Growth
Although composite decking requires minimal upkeep, keeping your deck clean prevents unsightly algae, mould and mildew from growing. During the rainy season, algae tend to be more prevalent. When algae start growing, the surface of your deck becomes slippery and diminishes traction.
How to Ensure that Your Composite Decking Is Less Slippery
The slip-resistance features of composite decking make it safer to walk on, even in wet weather. If basic maintenance is not done, composite decking surfaces become slippery. Here are a few ways to prevent a slippery composite deck surface from becoming a safety hazard.
Clean Your Composite Decking of Decaying Leaves and Twigs
Neglecting to regularly sweep your composite decking boards can cause a build of decaying plant debris and dirt on the surface. When combined with rain and moisture, decaying plant debris forms a biofilm for mildew and mould to feed on. This allows mould to spread on your composite decking.
Mildew and mouldy spots cause a slippery film on your usually non-slip decking boards, which increases the risk of accidentally slipping and hurting yourself. Sweep your deck as often as possible, remove any leaves and twigs, and sweep your deck from dirt and debris.
Scrub your deck with warm soapy water to wash off any dirt and debris, and rinse off the algae, mould, and mildew by gently scrubbing your deck with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and baking soda.
Remove the Ice and Snow From Your Composite Decking
We all know how slippery icy roads can be, and it is no different with composite or wood decking. An icy layer on the surface of non-slip composite decking is hazardous.
Never use a snow blower or metal shovel on your composite decking since this could damage and cut your decking boards. Use a plastic or rubber shovel to remove the snow.
To melt the ice from your deck, use calcium chloride and a rubber or plastic shovel. Once the snow has melted, rinse your deck with warm water to remove all traces of the rock salt. Deep cleaning your slip-resistant decking at least twice a year will prolong its life and keep it in top shape.
Ensure That Spaces Between Deck Boards Are Cleared
The gaps between the deck boards not only add visual interest to your composite deck’s overall design but also serve a specific purpose. The gaps ensure that your deck surface drains properly to prevent water from pooling, avoiding any slippery spots.
It is vital to make sure that your composite decking surface drains correctly. Ensure that there is no dirt, leaves, and debris are not obstructing water from draining correctly.
Is composite decking slippery in the wet?
Most composite decking can be slippery when wet, but only if dirt and debris have not been maintained. Composite decking is low maintenance and does not require much other than regular sweeping and removing any plant debris.
Is composite decking more slippery than wood?
Wood decking does become slippery when wet and requires various non-slip products like anti-slip tape, mats, and paint to improve its grip. On the other hand, composite decking materials have advanced to be slip-resistant and provide greater traction.
Is there such a thing as non-slip decking?
Non-slip, slip-resistant, and anti-slip-resistant decking are one and the same. The term non-slip should not be confused with impossible-to-slip. Decking materials are engineered to prevent the risk of slipping through design, protective coating with moisture-resistance qualities.
Does anti-slip tape work on composite decks?
You can use anti-slip tape to improve the deck’s surface grip and reduce the risk of slips and falls in icy and wet conditions.
When your composite deck’s surface becomes slippery, it can quickly become dangerous and increase the risk of slipping and harming yourself. Maintaining your composite deck and removing environmental elements will prevent moss, algae, mould, and mildew from growing, increasing the risk of your deck’s surface becoming slippery.
Consider installing Ecoscape’s grooved composite decking boards to improve their anti-slip features.