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Is Composite Decking Slippery?

24 February 2024


Anyone who’s ever slipped over on wooden decking will know how painful it can be. At best, you might end up with a minor bruise but you, or someone else, could also sustain a more serious injury such as cuts or a broken bone depending on the severity of the fall. A decked area in your garden should be a place to have fun, relax and socialise – but you won’t be able to do that if you’re worried about yourself, a family member or a guest having a fall. 

Living in the UK, where wet weather is a fact of life, wooden decking can become slippery over time. As well as collecting dirt and leaves from your garden, your decking may be the perfect breeding ground for moss and algae which are particularly hazardous when wet. 

Composite decking is a modern alternative to wooden decking, and has been engineered to last longer and be easier to maintain. But how do you stop decking becoming slippery?

Why can composite decking be slippery?

Like any hard surface, composite decking can become slippery due to dirt, damp and/or ice. However, unlike wood, today’s varieties have slip resistant properties so you achieve a high level of safety without having to apply anti-slip strips or paint. 

While the maintenance requirements of composite decking are low, it’s important to regularly check the area for any debris that might have accumulated, especially after heavy rainfall, cold weather and/or high winds. Be careful when you do this as surface water or ice might not be immediately visible. 

What should I do if it’s wet or icy?

With gardens increasingly an extension of the home, many people want to be able to enjoy their decked area all year round – perhaps snuggled up under an outdoor heater and blanket during the winter months. To keep everyone safe, make sure you check it regularly, and remove any excess water with a mop or a squeegee. 

Ice is another trip hazard on decking, so you might want to consider anti-slip rubber mats when it’s cold, and/or applying salt if freezing weather is forecast. To prevent damage to your decking, go for a specialist ‘ice melt’ product rather than traditional rock salt or grit which can be too abrasive.

What should I do if it’s dirty?

You only need to clean your composite decking around once or twice a year for it to stay looking smart. 

Regular household products will give you a great finish but you might choose to use a specialist composite decking cleaning product for extra protection from moss and algae, and to tackle stubborn stains. You can use a decking care product to remove existing moss and algae too but a homemade solution of vinegar and soda water can also be effective and less expensive – simply mix half a cup of white or apple cider vinegar with a one-quarter cup of baking soda, and three litres of water. To prepare the surface, use a brush with hard bristles to remove as much of the unwanted moss/algae as possible.

How to prevent slippery composite decking

Composite decking is less likely to be slippery compared to wooden decking as well as older composite decking. But to ensure it’s as safe as possible, we suggest the following steps: 

Keep it clean

Ensuring your decking is free of dirt, debris and moss/algae is one of the most effective ways to prevent trips. We’ve mentioned the simple steps you can take to prevent and remove all of these but our in-depth guide, How to Clean Composite Decking: Step by Step, includes more tips and answers common questions, like whether you should use a pressure washer or bleach. 

Keep it dry

While you can use a mop or squeegee to remove excess water, good drainage helps to prevent it growing in the first place. 

When installing your decking, make sure you have 25mm clearance between each of the boards to allow water to drain and air to circulate, so you avoid moisture building up. For more on installation, take a look at our guide, How to Install Composite Decking: Step by Step. 

Replace old decking

Whether you have wooden decking or an older type of composite decking, it may have become slippery because the materials are deteriorating. Wooden decking normally lasts around 10 to 15 years so consider whether it has simply reached the end of its life. Similarly, older composite decking doesn’t tend to have the same lifespan as modern composite decking which can last for more than 20 years if cared for correctly. And, as mentioned previously, today’s products also have anti-slip properties, unlike older types of wooden or composite decking.

Discover Eurocell’s composite decking range. 

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