Ever found yourself tiptoeing across your deck during a rainy day? Let’s dive into the world of composite decking and explore how slip-resistant it really is when wet!
Composite decking has gained immense popularity among homeowners for its low maintenance compared to traditional wood decking.
One day, I found myself in a situation that might be familiar to you who is reading this now.
I slipped and fell in my own backyard.
As I shared about this accident with friends and family, they were quick to point out, “You have a composite deck, right? Those can get pretty slippery when wet. You should consider replacing it.”
The suggestion directed me to discover a solution to the underlying issue.
I was determined to preserve a beloved addition to my outdoor living area rather than simply getting rid of it.
If you’ve also ever wondered about the slipperiness of composite decks and how to make them safer, you’ve come to the right place.
So, let’s discuss, is composite decking slippery when wet?
Composite decking has a low slip potential even when wet, provided it is kept free from mildew and algal growth. Regular maintenance and choosing decking with slip-resistant properties can further enhance safety. Slip resistance can be measured using the pendulum test, with a Coefficient of Friction value over 36 indicating low slip risk on flat surfaces.
But that’s just a quick snapshot of the question!
So, in this article, I’ll explore is composite decking slippery when wet and how to make it less slippery using the appropriate methods.
Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.
Let’s dive in!
What is Composite Decking?
When it comes to designing outdoor living spaces, composite decking has emerged as a revolutionary and popular choice in today’s world.
But what exactly is composite decking?
Composition and Method of Making Composite Decking
Composite decking is crafted by combining various blends of natural and synthetic ingredients.
These ingredients typically include;
- wood fiber,
- virgin or recycled plastic,
- various chemical additives.
The mixture of these components is carried out through a special process for a product that not only looks like traditional wood but also provides outstanding durability.
The manufacturing process of composite decking can vary, but one common method involves the use of compression molding.
It is a process that employs heat and pressure to mold and bond the raw materials.
This technique allows for the creation of different finishes, including smooth surfaces and wood grain textures.
Why Composite Decking Is Popular?
Composite decking has rapidly gained popularity in modern society for several compelling reasons.
- Low Maintenance:
While wood decks necessitate regular sanding, staining, and sealing, composite decks require only occasional cleaning.
- Environmental Friendliness:
Including recycled materials in composite decking makes it an eco-friendly choice. In particular, it helps conserve forests by reducing the demand for natural timber.
Composite decking resists the damage of UV rays, and they offer resistance to cracking, making them an ideal long-term investment.
With realistic grain patterns and natural color blending, composite decks offer a stunning appearance.
The initial cost of composite decking might be slightly higher than wood. However, it becomes cost-effective due to minimal maintenance, such as no re-stainings and repairs.
Composite decking becomes a versatile and attractive solution that contributes to the preservation of the environment.
How can composite decks, which have so many advantages, become slippery?
Come, Let’s find out!
What Makes Composite Deck Slippery
Slipperiness is a situation that can raise safety concerns, and understanding the underlying causes is essential.
Here are the factors that contribute to the slipperiness of composite decking,
- Surface Texture and Material Composition
- Organic Debris and Mold/Algae Growth
- Weather Conditions
- Old Aged Composite Board Technology
1. Impact of Surface Texture and Material Composition
One of the primary reasons for the slipperiness of composite decking lies in the composition of the materials used.
Manufacturers include various textures similar to natural wood grains, knots and other wood patterns to provide friction on the decking surface.
These textures not only enhance grip but also lend the decking a natural appearance.
However, over time, these textures may decay, making the boards slippery, particularly in wet or icy conditions.
Furthermore, the composition of composite decking plays a significant role. Composite boards are typically crafted from a mixture of wood fibre and plastic.
When exposed to moisture, the decking absorbs water, creating a layer of moisture between the deck and your feet, resulting in a slippery surface.
2. Impact of Organic Debris and Mold/Algae Growth
Another key factor contributing to the slipperiness of composite decking is the presence of organic debris.
In general, leaves, dirt and other natural elements accumulate very easily on the surface of an outdoor deck.
Read to know the best Methods to Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture!
Neglecting to remove this litter quickly can lead to mold or algae growth. This growth not only creates a health risk but also makes the surface of the floor slimy when wet.
Therefore, fallen leaves and debris are perfect for mold and fungus growth, and can make your composite deck slippery when wet.
That’s why it’s important to keep your composite deck free of such debris.
3. Impact of Weather Conditions
Weather plays a significant role in the slipperiness of composite decking.
During the colder months, when snow and ice become factors, even the most slip-resistant surfaces can become hazardous.
Trying to remove the ice from the deck in a situation like this is challenging. Composite panels can also be damaged. Moreover, slipping is a major problem that can occur here.
It is therefore important to exercise caution in these situations and consider ways to remove the ice or allow it to melt naturally.
For example, it is safe to use a non-metallic shovel and wear protective equipment to remove ice or snow so as not to damage the composite decks and yourself.
4. Impact of Old-Aged Composite Board Technology
In the past, older types of composite decking used to be more slippery because they had smooth surfaces without any texture.
Some of these old decks had a flat plastic covering over a wooden base, which didn’t provide a good grip. These older decks were also not very durable, so water could get inside and make the wood rot.
To fix these problems, composite decks now have textured finishes and tougher plastic coverings around the wood. This makes them much less slippery and longer-lasting.
Therefore, it is always important to check if the materials we use have been finished using technology in a way that matches the present.
Accordingly, understanding the various factors contributing to the slipperiness of composite decking is the first step in ensuring your outdoor space remains safe and secure.
As we move forward, we will explore solutions to mitigate these risks and make your composite deck non-slippery.
How to Make Non-Slippery Composite Decks
Ensuring your composite deck remains a safe and non-slip haven is a top priority.
Here are practical methods to make non-slippery composite decks,
- Choose Boards with Texture
- Clear Ice and Snow Properly
- Keep Your Deck Clean
- Apply Nonslip Coatings or Anti-Slip Coating
- Use Slip-Resistant Mats and Tape
- Install Handrails in High-Risk Areas
- Buy a Deck Treated with Special Oils
Let’s talk about them in detail.
1. Choose Boards with Texture
When selecting composite boards for your deck, look for grooves, whorls, or patterns that are similar to natural wood grains, or even textured finishes for a man-made look.
The critical factor is to ensure a non-slip surface enhancing the friction.
2. Clear Ice and Snow Properly
Applying rock salt can prevent snow and ice buildup on your composite deck. This does not allow snow to freeze into ice and helps melt existing layers.
Once melted, use a non-metal shovel to remove the ice without harming your boards.
3. Keep Your Deck Clean
Regularly cleaning your deck should be part of your seasonal routine.
Pressure washing the composite boards to remove debris and buildup is crucial.
Frequent sweeping enhances your deck’s resistance to water, ice, and snow.
A cleaner deck not only resists moisture but also extends the life of your composite boards.
4. Apply Nonslip Coatings or Anti-Slip Coating
Enhance your deck’s slip resistance by applying nonslip coatings or anti-slip paint.
Ensure your decking boards are thoroughly clean before applying, allowing the paint. Once dry, this paint yields a textured finish that prevents slipperiness.
Alternatively, you can use a sealer with sand additives for friction or simply mix sand into your chosen deck paint.
5. Use Slip-Resistant Mats And Tapes
Slip-resistant rubber mats or rugs provide immediate slip protection by overlaying your composite deck, especially in wet conditions.
Anti-slip tape offers a quick solution that’s easy to apply which is quick and efficient, this tape is an excellent choice for ensuring slip resistance.
6. Install Handrails in High-Risk Areas:
Secure high-risk areas by adding handrails and consider rubber mats for added slip protection.
7. Buy a Deck Treated with Special Oils
Some composite decking boards come treated with oils that prevent water from seeping into the boards and making them slippery.
Now that you’re armed with practical solutions, you can make your composite deck a safe, non-slip space for you and your loved ones.
Let’s next address a famous specific challenge “How to Make Composite Decking Less Slippery When Wet?”
How to Make Composite Decking Less Slippery When Wet
Now, let’s focus on one specific scenario: a wet deck.
Keeping your composite deck safe, particularly in wet conditions, is essential to prevent accidents and maintain a pleasant outdoor area.
Here are some effective techniques to minimize slipperiness on your composite deck when it becomes wet:
1. Remove Surface Water
Composite decks are naturally known for their moisture resistance. But when there are pools of water between textured surfaces, they can still get over wet.
By sweeping away excess water with a broom, you can ensure your deck maintains perfect grip without unnecessary moisture.
2. Establish Proper Drainage
Proper deck installation should include adequate spacing between boards to allow for water drainage.
For professional assurance, consult a deck expert to improve your deck’s drainage.
3. Waterproof Coating
Applying a waterproof coating over your entire deck can help prevent water from accumulating on the surface.
This coating serves as a barrier to keep the deck dry and safe to walk on, even in wet conditions.
By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce the slipperiness of your composite deck, especially in wet conditions.
These methods confirm that your outdoor space remains safe and enjoyable for family and guests, even during wet weather.
How to Maintain Composite Decks
Unlike traditional wood decks, owning a composite deck comes with the advantage of minimal maintenance.
To ensure your composite deck’s durability and safety, it’s essential to know how to maintain it properly. Here’s how to keep your composite deck in great condition:
1. Avoid Power Washers
While power washers are excellent cleaning tools for some surfaces, using them on a composite deck can lead to damage.
If not handled with care, a power washer can scratch the deck’s surface, remove paint, or worsen existing damage.
Therefore it is better to stick to safer and gentler cleaning methods.
2. Use Appropriate Cleaning Techniques:
Commit to regular cleaning, with a focus on gentle maintenance. A bristle brush, garden hose, dish soap, and water are typically all you need.
Ensure that you clean between the boards and avoid scrubbing off the paint. Composite decking resists fading, so your deck’s appearance will stay even after a thorough cleaning.
3. DIY vs. Professional Assistance
Cleaning and maintenance routines are tasks you can handle yourself with the right tools.
However, for more complicated issues, such as repairs or uncertain problems, it’s wise to seek professional assistance.
Avoid attempting tasks that could lead to mishandling or further damage to your deck.
4. Skip Sealants
Although sealants are useful for traditional wooden decks, composite decks don’t require them.
Unlike wood, composite decking is highly durable and doesn’t need sealants for protection.
5. Regular Cleaning
Make it a habit to sweep your deck regularly, removing loose dirt, leaves, sticks, and other debris.
Keeping the deck clear of these materials can help prevent scratches and maintain its fresh appearance.
6. Spot Cleaning for Tough Stains
For tougher stains, use a hard-bristled brush or a general household cleaner with some extra elbow grease.
Ensure you clean along the grain of the composite material.
Maintaining a composite deck is relatively simple compared to traditional wooden decks.
By avoiding harsh chemicals and using gentle cleaning techniques, you’ll preserve the beauty and longevity of your composite deck.
Now, let’s explore the concept of “Composite Deck R-rating.”
Composite Deck R-Rating
When it comes to selecting composite decking for your outdoor space, one crucial factor often overlooked is the decking’s anti-slip rating.
However, there’s no such thing as a 100% guaranteed non-slip composite decking board. But making an informed choice can significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Let’s delve into the anti-slip ratings and what to consider when choosing the right composite decking for your balcony, garden, or pool area.
In the UK, two main anti-slip tests are conducted to determine a decking board’s slip resistance:
- R Rating – Shod Feet
- ABC-Rating – Wet Barefoot
1. R Rating – Shod Feet
The R ratings are associated with a DIN Standard floor ramp test.
In this R-Rating test;
- Composite decking is fixed to a ramp, and oil is applied as a contaminant.
- A human wearing boots then walks back and forth on the composite decking in small steps until they experience a slip.
- The computerized readout calculates the R rating based on the angle of slip.
These R ratings range from R9 (the lowest slip resistance) to R13 (the highest slip resistance). If you typically wear shoes on your composite decking, the best R rating available is R13.
2. ABC-Rating – Wet Barefoot:
This test uses a soap solution as a contaminant and evaluates the slip resistance of composite decking for barefoot individuals.
It’s an essential consideration if your outdoor space frequently meets wet conditions.
When choosing your composite decking, look for products that have undergone these tests and have proven anti-slip capabilities.
In summary, while it’s impossible to guarantee a completely slip-free surface, choosing composite decking with a high R rating can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
By now, you’ve delved into the world of composite decking and its slipperiness.
From understanding the factors that can make your composite deck slippery to providing practical solutions for creating a safe outdoor space, you have access to a wealth of knowledge.
That’s it folks! Now you know is composite decking slippery when wet and how to avid that using proper methods!
So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
Is composite decking slippery when it gets wet?
Most composite decks become more slippery when wet, but there are varieties treated with special oils to repel water and maintain safe traction underfoot.
What factors contribute to the slipperiness of composite decking?
Water absorption, dirt, debris, mold, algae, and mildew on the deck surface can all contribute to creating slippery conditions.
Are there any composite decking materials that are slip-resistant?
Yes, some manufacturers offer composite decking materials that are treated with special oils or have textured surfaces to enhance slip resistance.
How can I make my existing composite deck less slippery?
You can make your composite decking less slippery by applying non-slip coatings, using slip-resistant mats, or adding sand to your sealant for extra traction.
What is the pendulum test, and how does it relate to decking slip resistance?
The pendulum test is a method used to measure the slip resistance of flooring, including decking, by simulating a heel strike on a wet surface, providing a coefficient of friction value to assess slip potential.
What coefficient of friction value is considered safe for composite decking?
A coefficient of friction value over 36 is regarded as “low slip” for flat surfaces, indicating a low risk of slipping.
Does composite decking require regular maintenance to prevent slipperiness?
Yes, keeping the deck clean of debris, mold, and algae through regular maintenance will help preserve its non-slip properties.
Can I use regular cleaning products on my composite deck?
It is recommended to use specific composite deck cleaners rather than regular cleaning products to avoid damaging the deck and to maintain its slip-resistant properties.
Are there any disadvantages to using composite decking?
Composite decking is generally more expensive than wood and is not a natural material, though it offers numerous advantages including durability, low maintenance, and a variety of design options.
Is composite decking environmentally friendly?
Yes, composite decking is considered environmentally friendly as it is often made from recycled materials and does not require the cutting down of trees for production.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Composite Decking Slippery When Wet
In this article, I deeply discussed is composite decking slippery when wet, factors that influence the deck slipperiness, and how to stop that using the right methods.
Composite decking is slippery when wet since the slipperiness is primarily influenced by factors like surface texture, the presence of organic debris, weather conditions, and the age of the composite boards. Understanding these factors is crucial for maintaining a safe and non-slip composite deck, especially during wet conditions.
Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.
With this information, you can effectively address any concerns related to the slipperiness of your composite decking on your own.
Don’t wait! Take the next step in making your outdoor decking space safer and more enjoyable.
Your dream non-slip composite deck is just around the corner!!!