It goes without saying — you don’t want your guests to slip, fall, and get injured. Nothing ruins a get-together faster than an abrupt quick to the emergency room (trust me, I know). Not to mention, you don’t want to open yourself up to liability for the person’s injuries.
Not to fear: there are many small and simple things you can do to reduce the possibility from a slip-and-fall happening. Keep your house guests safe by following these easy tips to prevent a slippery wooden deck.
Regularly sweep leaves and debris
First off, let’s tackle the big stuff. If you’re not already, you need to take the time to sweep off your deck to ensure there isn’t any debris or plant matter lying around.
Leaves, pine needles, maple seeds, and more are very likely to cause a loss in traction when moving around the deck. Once those things start decaying, it turns into a mini-compost heap and becomes very slippery.
If it helps, you can think of it like a banana peel in a cartoon. You step on the leaf and suddenly you have this slick organic material between the deck and the sole of your shoe. It simply slips right out from under you!
This is super easy to prevent and takes only a few minutes, even for larger decks. Do this a few times per week, and you’ll be set. If you choose not to do this, you’ll have to do this next tip a lot more frequently.
Clean mold and mildew
Bad things happen when you fall behind on your deck maintenance. If you live in a particularly wet area, you might notice some mold and mildew growing on certain shady parts of the wood. If left to its own devices, this will cause severe damage to your decking.
When you notice it, take care of it as soon as possible! At this point, you may be wondering how to exactly do that.
There are deck cleaning products for purchase, but if you want to save a quick buck (or avoid making a trip to the store), there are also some home remedies. All it takes is a bit of (safe) home chemistry.
In a mop bucket or other container, simply mix these ingredients together:
- 1/3 cup of laundry detergent
- 1 quart of bleach
- 3 gallons of water
Once you have your store-bought or homemade cleaning solution in hand, simply apply it to your deck with a wet mop.
Next, wait roughly a quarter of an hour.
Then scrub it off with a bristled brush, making sure to scrub the affected areas liberally.
Finally, rinse the whole thing down with your hose and wait for it to dry through the magic of time.
Just like that, your mold and mildew problem should be gone. However, this is a good opportunity to remind you that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine. Keep your deck clean and dry and the presence of mold/mildew shouldn’t be a problem!
Pressure wash every few years
Many experts recommend pressure washing your deck every few years. This might be optimal, but I typically make this a chore for every other year.
Pressure washing doesn’t take a long time and can really help rid your deck of any slipper build-up that might have grown over the years. It also has the added benefit of revitalizing the appearance of your wood deck.
Apply water repellent
A good water repellent product will go a long way for keeping your deck from building up moisture (and subsequently rotting over time). It will also prevent the wood from getting slick and causing the slippery texture we’re working so hard to avoid.
This is usually very simple to apply and the manufacturer’s instructions should be on the repellent itself. However, when applying any sort of water repellent, you should wait for a day without rain. And make sure not to apply it when midday’s sun is overhead. It should be warm and sunny outside, but not sweltering.
Use an anti-slip decking product
If you can’t seem to nail the problem down, you’re not alone. Decks become slippery over time. And slippery decks cause injuries. This is a common occurrence and manufacturer’s have taken note. There are many products available to help you out.
Many different companies make anti-slip paint that you can apply on the surface of your deck to add additional traction. They’re very effective and should prevent any sort of falls or injuries.
You could consider using some non-slip tape in places that experience a lot of foot traffic. This doesn’t remove the slipperiness, but adds an additional surface with more traction. Some people might not like this option because they find it unsightly, but it’s cheap, easy, and effective.
Instead of using tape, you should get a few mats in key slippery areas (potentially in high-traffic zones). It serves the same purpose as the tape, but requires even less work to install. You literally just place the thing where you want it to go.
As I said above, the entire reason people are slpiping on decks is because of the lack of friction. If the surface is too smooth or wet, it’s harder to gain traction while walking across it. Applying sand to the surface effectively solves this problem by adding additional friction to the area.
The downsides? It’s messy, and most folks don’t want to track loose sand into their homes. However, it’s an option in a pinch so I wanted to include it.
You can find sand at any home improvement store.