As the cold weather sets in and more rain, sleet and even snow is possible, timber decking displays its worst trait – it becomes slippery.
There are countless questions to ask about why decking becomes slippery and what can be done to make it safer, whether in a commercial or domestic environment. We took a host of commonly asked questions to Mark Eggleston, MD of WJ Group and manufacturer of DeckWright Anti-Slip and DeckWright Inserts. Here’s what he had to say.
Why does timber decking become slippery?
“Timber decking looks beautiful and is a cost effective and long-lasting solution for an outdoor surface in many instances. But timber in itself does not possess a great deal of grip. In fact, the grooves that are routed into many specifications of decking are supposed to provide an element of grip whilst walking over the surface, but the effectiveness is limited, particularly in wet conditions.
If timber decking becomes dirty with moss and grime (perhaps in shady areas), or if there is a build-up of fallen leaves, this can all lead to an increased risk of the timber becoming more slippery underfoot.”
Can I choose a decking board that has less potential to become slippery?
“All timber decking has the potential to become slippery. It’s not determined by wood species or specification of deck board. Even composite decking products can display these traits in adverse conditions. It’s more important for decking users to be aware of the potential hazard and the solutions that are available to resolve it.”
What anti-slip options are open to me?
“Take to Google or look in a merchant or DIY store and you will find a number of options to help you reduce the likelihood of slipping on timber decking. They are not all equally effective however, or suitable for your particular requirements, so you should make your choice carefully.
Anti-slip oils and paints for example, are best used on new and untreated decking. Their effectiveness will however diminish over time, especially in heavy traffic areas. Regular reapplication is necessary and this adds to the cost of the treatment.
Anti-slip mats can be placed over the timber decking and these certainly work. But you won’t be able to see the decking anymore!
The professional choice is often the best and this tends to be the use of decking boards that possess a resin and aggregate mixture in some of the grooves, providing a secure grip in all weathers. It is this principle that DeckWright Anti-Slip uses, with many distinctive advantages in its design.”
What about decking that is already laid –can that be made less slippery?
“Again, there are many options to consider, not all as effective as each other. A problem with anti-slip oils and paints arises if the laid decking has previously been stained or treated – the new oil or paint might not adhere to the timber for example.
DeckWright Inserts have been born from the success of DeckWright Anti-Slip, creating a flexible T shaped insert that is topped with a specially formulated resin and aggregate mixture that does not deteriorate over time and will last for the lifetime of the decking. Easily installed retrospectively to most grooved boards, regardless of previous treatments, this is an excellent choice for decking that is already laid. And unlike other “strip” solutions, DeckWright Inserts can easily be cut to length using standard tools.”
Can I buy small amounts of anti-slip decking?
“Whilst some manufacturers and suppliers of anti-slip decking focus entirely on large, commercial contracts, we can supply DeckWright Anti-Slip by the metre, enhancing many specifications of timber decking with this service at our Hull and Rochester sites.
This anti-slip service can help smaller projects in addition to merchants that wish to offer an anti-slip decking board in their store without holding too much stock. Of course, the DeckWright Anti-Slip service can confidently cater for those larger, commercial contracts too – such is the flexibility in production.”
What is the most effective solution and will it last?
“To understand how effective an anti-slip decking solution will be, ask how it has been professionally tested and approved. All anti-slip decking boards should have been fully tested using the Pendulum Slip Test – a recognised method of assessing the slip resistance of surfaces. Requiring a minimum score of 35 to be described as “anti-slip”, DeckWright gained a PTV score of 71 in testing – testament to its effectiveness and high quality formulation.”
Can I just avoid my decking when it’s wet?
“It might seem like the simple answer for some, but it’s not always possible to avoid timber decking when it is wet. Consider if the decking is around a restaurant or coffee shop. What if the decking is within school grounds or an office facility? At home, you might have to walk over it to take the bins out or walk the dog. There are so many instances when it is simply not possible to avoid walking on wet decking and the owners of that decking need to take a responsible approach to lessen the risk of injury – whether a small slip or something more serious. The products exist to diminish the risk substantially, it’s simply a case of choosing the right one for the job.”
For more information about DeckWright Anti-Slip, please visit www.deckwright.co.uk or call WJ Group on 01482 338950