Manchester. We love it, but we can’t pretend it doesn’t rain – a LOT!
No pretending either, that whilst wooden decking might look great it doesn’t become perilously slippy when wet.
Combine the two and you could be in trouble.
So, if you have wooden decking – and live in Manchester – you really need to read this…
What causes slippery decking?
Okay, so not just rain. Natural wood is porous and will absorb moisture, making the surface slippery to walk over. So, anything which increases moisture levels – morning dew, frost, a spilt drink – will be guilty of upping the skid factor.
Arguably one of the biggest problems, particularly at this time of the year, is damp autumn leaves. Posing a slip hazard on their own, they also encourage mould and fungus to grow, which can make decking dangerously slick underfoot.
As winter approaches there’s also the threat of snow and ice to consider. A peril on any surface but particularly tricky on decking.
Five ways to minimise the risk
We’ve established what can cause the problem, but unless you want to declare decking a ‘no-go’ zone on all bar gloriously dry and sunny days, what can you do about it?
1. Clear up leaves and debris
With leaves being a key issue, it’s a good idea brush away fallen foliage quickly, before it has time to rot down. This will make the task quicker (and less of a chore) and help to avoid debris causing an even bigger hazard.
2. Use rubber mats
A quick and easy solution to slippery decking is to put down rubber mats. These can be picked up from any DIY store. Simply position where you need them most to create a slip-free walkway over winter.
Without the need for adhesives or nails, and 100% reusable, mats can just be lifted off and put to one side when the decking dries.
3. Fit anti-slip strips
Another option is to fit specialist anti-slip decking strips. Although more discrete than rubber matting, they do need to be permanently fixed to boards with screws.
Non-slip tape is a possible alternative. This has a sticky backing and glues to the deck without the need for permanent fixings. The only potential problem here, is the fact boards must be completely dry before strips can be applied.
4. Chicken wire
An old-school trick but still reliable – wrapping decking with chicken wire is an effective way to prevent slips.
Fast and efficient for covering wide expanses, but not the most attractive option. It also needs nailing to boards to make sure it stays in place.
5. Grit salt
If ice is your biggest worry, then it’s a good idea to stock up on a bag of grit salt in readiness for winter. Then, when there’s a warning for frosty conditions, simply sprinkle the salt across your decking.
Just remember that whilst this is great for preventing icy surfaces, you’ll need to rinse excess grit away once the snow and ice have melted as this can cause problems with the natural moisture levels in the wood.
The best solution?
In the right conditions, wooden decking is great. Offering the perfect spot to relax, entertain and enjoy being outside. But there’s no escaping the fact that for all the pleasure wooden decking can bring, it’s also a bit of a headache to look after – and a hazard in wet conditions.
Prefer not to have the hassle? Then have you thought about switching to composite decking? Offering the appearance of wooden decking, composite comes with a built-in anti-slip surface. And, being made from a plastic composite, these clever, maintenance-free boards won’t absorb or hold moisture in the same way timber panels do.
Add to this the fact that composite decking is extremely durable and hardy to all weather conditions (including Mancunian rain showers!), and it sounds like a winner to us.
To find out more and make the smart switch to composite decking, take a look at HR Composites, leading suppliers of composite decking boards in the North West.
Go on, quick…before you fall!