coat decking

Worries about the safety of wet decking are commonplace with both deck owners and people considering installing decking for the first time.  An issue in both summer and winter, the reason for decking becoming slippery in the rain, surprisingly isn’t in fact the fact that the wood is wet per se, it’s because of the fungus that grows on the wood when the surface has been soaked by the rain.  So, it is the fungus caused by the rain, rather than the rain itself that makes the surface of your decking slippery, no matter the season.

So how can you make your decking safer when it rains?  Firstly it’s important to keep your decking as clean as possible to help stop fungus and mold from forming.  This will help reduce the risk of slipping when it rains.  In order to deep clean your decking, you should ideally remove all furnishings and plant pots so you can brush the whole surface with a stiff broom to get rid of surface dirt.  Thereafter it’s a good idea, if you have one, to clean the surface using a jet washer, set on a relatively gentle wash option.  This will clear away pretty much all of the dirt that has remained after brushing.  Once you’ve done this, you should spray your deck with either a dedicated deck cleaning product or a solution of warm water and soda crystals to get it really clean.  By carrying out this thorough cleaning process, ideally at the start or end of each season, you’ll be helping to keep your deck safer when it rains.

When it comes to more drastic safety measures, if you’re worried about the dangers caused by rain on your deck, you can start by installing a non-slip deck.  This is an ideal consideration if you’re planning a brand new decking project as you can give your deck the best chances of not becoming slippery by choosing this option.  Available in soft and hardwood options, there are also some specialist non-slip decking solutions available, albeit some of which come at premium price, but work very well.

If you already have a deck in place and you want to make it safer when it rains, there are a couple of options you can choose from.  The first is to stick, or screw abrasive strips across your deck.   Self-adhesive abrasive strips are cheap and easy to apply, but depending upon the traffic on your deck, may not prove to be particularly long lasting.  Abrasive strips that are screwed to your deck, will not only provide an extremely effective non-slip solution, but they’re long lasting too.  That said, the downside is that they do change the overall look of your deck, and whether or not this is too high a price to pay, only you can decide.  If you don’t like the idea of strips all over your deck, a potential solution may be to introduce non-slip strips to your deck in key areas, but not throughout.  With a bit of planning, this solution will improve safety and add a design element that can be quite appealing.

The second option, which won’t dramatically change the look of your decking, is to apply a non-slip coating.  Effectively, non-slip deck coating has an abrasive element that makes the surface less slippery in the rain.  Like any stain or protection product, it’s essential, before applying non-slip coating to make sure your deck is completely clean, dry and free of all surface dust.  Finally, as with any chemical product, be very careful, if you’re doing this job on a DIY basis, to respect the health and safety precautions and to allow the coating to dry completely before walking on it or replacing your furnishings and pots.