The main benefits I have heard from our customers about composite decking are its durability and low maintenance needs. With that, composite decking is made of materials that create a slip-resistant surface. But that doesn’t mean slips and falls can’t happen.
As with any area of your home and yard, it’s important to ensure everyone’s safety and security. With proper care and attention, your family and guests can enjoy your outdoor living space and only have their feet out from under them when propped up on furniture.
Composition of Composite Decking
Composite decking materials like Trex® are made from wood fibers and recycled plastics. This means composite decking, unlike wood decking, is resistant to rotting, warping, mildewing, splintering, and fading. Over time, composite decks are more durable and longer lasting in extreme weather and withstand wear and tear better, making composite decks a top choice for today’s homeowners.
But that doesn’t mean it’s completely resistant to slippery conditions. However, composite decking does have features that make it more non-slip than wooden decking, natural wood, or real wood.
Factors Influencing Slip Resistance
The variety of composite boards available for purchase and their anti-slip properties often depend on their quality, type, and age. Early-generation composite deck boards don’t have as many slip-resistant qualities as newer-generation boards.
Features of composite decking that make it more non-slip are:
- Textured surfaces
- Patterned boards
- Boards with grains and grooves
- Anti-slip coatings and cladding
With these features, a composite deck surface has more traction and creates more friction, allowing for more secure footfalls and less slippery boards.
Deck installation is another way that minimizes the potential of a slippery surface. Proper installation and deck drainage systems reduce water from collecting or pooling on the surface.
How to Keep Your Composite Decks Non-Slippery
While composite decking is slip-resistant, I recommend you still take these four steps to decrease the potential of a slippery surface.
- Regular cleaning. If left unattended, mold, mildew, and algae can form on and around the dirt, debris, and leaves covering your composite deck. By keeping your surface clean and free of buildup and debris, the deck surface is less likely to become slippery. A simple soft-bristle broom or leaf blower will do the trick in removing most of what falls and collects on a deck. But we also recommend a more thorough cleaning twice yearly – once in the spring and once in the fall. For this, you will use a store-bought or homemade composite deck cleaning solution.
- Removal of standing water. Puddles of water on any hard or walking surface can cause a slippery situation. Your deck is no different. Composite decking can be slippery when wet. To avoid this issue, use a soft-bristle broom or leaf blower to remove areas of standing water on your deck once the rainfall has ended. You must be careful, too, and wear slip-resistant footwear while clearing the water from your deck.
- Removal of ice and snow. For areas where winter weather conditions are a concern, you must take special precautions in removing snow and ice from your composite deck surface. Before a winter storm, pre-treat your composite decking boards with rock salt or calcium chloride “ice melt” to prevent accumulation on the deck boards.
If you miss that window of opportunity, don’t use an abrasive or metal snow shovel. This may damage your deck boards. Instead, it would help if you used a soft broom or plastic shovel to remove the ice and snow gently. You can begin by removing a top layer without touching the deck boards and then work your way down to the boards gently. If possible, leave any hard-to-remove ice and snow until it starts to melt or the temperatures warm up. This will prevent the urge to press down or scrape too hard to loosen the ice and snow.
- Proper drainage. If you have an ongoing issue with water collecting on your composite deck, you may need to improve your deck’s drainage system. You can start by ensuring the gaps between the deck boards are clean and debris-free. Clean deck boards will allow water to drain more quickly and easily. If this is not causing your problem, you can have a professional deck builder assess your deck to check for any problems, see if a deck drainage system would be beneficial, or determine if you are due for a new deck.
With a little bit of care and attention, you can improve your deck’s appearance and help create an even more slip-resistant surface. With twice-yearly deep cleanings, regular removal of dirt, debris, and leaves, removal of standing water, ice, and snow, and proper drainage solutions, your composite deck should be safe and secure for years of entertaining and relaxing. That’s the main reason why customers tell us they keep choosing composite decking. It’s worry-free, low-maintenance, and can withstand what Mother Nature brings its way!