When weather conditions are perfect, your deck is an excellent place to relax outdoors and enjoy the sun and fresh air. But weather conditions aren’t always perfect, and the adverse weather can turn your deck into a slippery mess that can be potentially dangerous.
If you’ve been struggling with a slippery deck, trying to figure out how to make decking non slip, then I’ve got some excellent slippery deck solutions for you. From non-slip coatings and paints to effective methods to clean algae off a wood deck, one of these methods is sure to be your slippery decking cure.
- Why Your Deck is Slippery
- How to Prevent a Deck From Getting Slippery
- How to Make Decking Non Slip
- 1. Scrub Away the Algae With a Homemade Solution
- 2. Apply an Algae and Moss Killer
- 3. Pressure Wash Your Deck
- 4. Paint with Non-Slip Paint
- 5. Make Your Own Non-Slip Paint
- 6. Add Sand to Your Deck Sealer or Stain
- 7. Install Anti-Skid Strips
- 8. Use Anti-Slip Tape
- 9. Anti-Slip Mats or Inserts
- 10. Install Shingles or Rolled Roofing on Slippery Steps
- 11. Treat Your Deck With a Waterproof Coating
Why Your Deck is Slippery
Before we start discussing solutions to your slippery deck problems, it’s important to understand why your deck is slippery in the first place. There are several reasons why your deck could be getting so slick, and they can even work with each other to compound your issue and make your deck even slicker.
First, the debris of all kinds starts to fall onto your porch, blown by the wind from nearby trees, plants, and more. This includes dirt, pollen, leaves, and anything else that tends to build up on your deck.
All of that debris holds moisture, which it traps against the wood of your deck. This makes it very difficult to dry since the air can’t reach it beneath the debris and mess.
That moisture is a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, algae, and even moss. They’ll grow in the wetness, creating a slick layer of growth on your decking material. They also fill the grains of your decking that are supposed to provide traction.
Between the slickness of the algae and the traction from the grains of the wood that’s now missing, your deck becomes a slippery nightmare that’s hard to clean!
But it can get even worse in winter. All of that moisture can freeze and create an icy layer on top of your deck that’s just asking for an accident to happen. And you can’t use salt to get rid of the ice because the salt will destroy your decking.
And this is a compounding problem. As the algae and mold grow, they create even more moisture, which can help grow more algae, or it can turn into ice. Either way, it’s an issue that needs solving.
Worst, this problem can equally affect natural wood and composite decking. No deck is safe from the perils of moisture and ice.
How to Prevent a Deck From Getting Slippery
Now we know exactly why the deck gets so slick. But what can we do about it? Well, there are two approaches to preventing a slippery deck. First, is to prevent the deck from getting slick in the first place, which is what we’re going to discuss next.
By performing certain regular maintenance to your deck, you can greatly reduce or even eliminate the chances of your deck getting slippery this year.
1. Sweep Regularly to Clear the Debris
We sweep the insides of our homes regularly to prevent the dirt and mess from building up. Well, the same works for your deck as well.
As mentioned, when the leaves and debris pile up, it holds moisture to the deck, which creates a breeding ground for the mold and algae that can make your deck so slick. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to regularly sweep all of the leaves and debris and remove them from your deck!
This is particularly important after rainstorms because they tend to blow a lot of mess and debris onto the deck. Just head out once the sun shows its face again and sweep up any mess that has blow onto your deck during the storm.
When you see leaves and dirt building up, it’s a good idea to remove them and prevent the moisture buildup from occurring.
2. Ensure Proper Drainage
The next step to eliminating the moisture that allows algae and moss to grow on your deck is to ensure that your deck is draining properly.
You might have noticed that there’s a small gap between each of your decking boards. These gaps are meant to allow for expansion and contraction of the boards, but they’re also meant to allow water and moisture to drain out, so they don’t sit on your deck and allow anything to grow.
Whenever the dirt and debris build up on your deck, these drainage spaces can fill up, preventing the water from draining properly. When this happens, you’ll get water pooling and excess moisture that can lead to a slick deck surface in the near future.
To prevent this, simply clear out the spaces between decking boards to ensure they can drain properly. You can use a small putty knife or screwdriver between the boards to dislodge anything that might be filling up the spaces.
3. Perform A Thorough Deck Cleaning
Regularly sweeping your deck to avoid the buildup of debris and dirt is a great idea, but it’s not going to keep your deck surface completely clean. To do the job, you’ll need to do a thorough cleaning of your entire deck once or twice each year.
To do this properly, you’ll need a power washer and some cleaning solution. You can make the solution yourself or buy a pre-made formula.
However, you won’t want to power wash your deck every time you sweep it. Limit the power washing and thorough cleaning to once or twice each year to avoid prematurely wearing out your decking.
4. Remove Any Snow That Builds Up
Decks can get slippery any time of the year, but they are most susceptible to this problem in the winter when the snow builds up and ice can form on your deck. This will turn it into a hazardous mess, so it’s best to tackle this issue before it happens.
All types of decking will get slippery when icy, but composite decking seems to worsen in winter than natural wood.
Make sure to shovel off the snow on your deck and avoid letting it accumulate. You don’t have to run out during a snowstorm and shovel it off as it lands, but head out the next morning and remove the snow from the deck.
Ice forms underneath the snow, so if you remove the snow, it’s much more difficult for ice to form in the first place.
Remember, don’t use salt on your deck to melt the ice. This works great for roads and driveways, but the salt can wreak havoc on your decking material and destroy it prematurely.
How to Make Decking Non Slip
Now we’ve discussed ways to prevent your deck from becoming slippery. But what should you do if your deck is already a slick hazard that’s waiting to make someone fall? Don’t worry, I’ve got 11 solutions for you that will help to fix your slippery decking problems today.
1. Scrub Away the Algae With a Homemade Solution
If your deck is slick and slippery, you probably already have algae, mold, and/or mildew building up. To make your deck safe for walking again, you’ll need to remove that algae and mold. One great way to do this is by making your own algae-killing solution at home.
To create your mold killer, you’ll need powdered laundry detergent (the kind that’s free of ammonia), oxygen bleach (not chlorine bleach), and water.
First, mix one cup of the powdered laundry detergent with one quart of the oxygen bleach in two to three gallons of water. Mix it together.
Then, using a mop or a sprayer, coat the entire deck in your solution. You’ll want to let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes so it can work its magic.
After letting it sit, take a stiff-bristled broom and scrub down your deck, removing all of the algae and moss. Once you’ve brushed it off, take a hose and do a final rinse to ensure that you’ve removed everything.
To protect your decking and ensure it doesn’t get more damage from the elements, you’ll want to seal your deck once you’re finished removing the algae. You can use any standard deck sealer or waterproof deck stain.
2. Apply an Algae and Moss Killer
Not everyone is up for the DIY approach of my first suggestion, so instead, you can opt for the store-bought solution that kills algae, mildew, and mold. It will do the same job with a similar level of effectiveness.
The process is essentially the same, minus the steps that involve mixing your solution.
Just take the mold and mildew killer and spray or mop it onto your deck surface. Allow it to sit for 20 or 30 minutes so that it can kill the algae and mold.After letting it work for about 30 minutes, simply take a broom and sweep the mess off before giving it a final rinse.
One of my favorite mold, mildew, algae, and moss removers, is the Wet&Forget solution. It’s extremely effective at killing and removing all algae, mold, and more. It’s also an inexpensive solution that does a lot of the work for you.
What I like best about the Wet&Forget solution is that it doesn’t require any power washing or even brushing. You don’t even have to scrub the algae off with this solution. Just apply it, let it work, then rinse it off and your deck will be free of the algae and mold that was making it slippery!
3. Pressure Wash Your Deck
Some people prefer instant gratification. If this sounds like you and you don’t want to wait 30 minutes for the solution to take effect or you don’t want to sweep the algae off the deck with a broom, then you might try a power washer instead.
A power washer will easily remove anything that’s sticking to your deck and making it slick, including the dirt, debris, leaves, and even the mold, algae, and mildew. You can even add detergent or other cleaning solutions to your pressure washer to get even more out of it.Pressure washing is easy, fast, and doesn’t take much effort. It’s a great solution, as long as you have a pressure washer available.
However, I wouldn’t recommend jumping to this solution first all the time. Pressure washing can actually damage your deck if done too much. This is best left for the major once or twice a year cleanings that will restore your deck to its former glory.
When pressure washing your deck, make sure to use no more than 1,300 PSi. Harder pressures than this can damage the wood or composite material that your deck is covered with.
Finally, you’ll need to re-seal your deck after pressure washing to avoid it being damaged by exposure to the elements. Pressure washing will remove any protective coating currently keeping your deck protected, so it’s important to replace it if you want your deck to retain maximum longevity.
4. Paint with Non-Slip Paint
If your deck seems to be slippery too often, then the problem might be what it is or isn’t coated with. Many decks are painted with normal paint or stained with a regular wood stain. While this might look great, it’s not the best choice when it comes to providing traction and grip.Luckily, this is a problem that many people have had, so an easy solution exists; non-slip paint. By painting your deck with non-slip paint, you’ll give it some excellent traction, even when it gets wet or algae start to build up.
To apply non-slip paint to your deck, you’ll first need to wash your deck thoroughly and allow it to dry so that the paint has a clean surface to stick to.
Next, apply the paint according to the directions on the can. It should be a very simple process. You can use a roller or brush and apply it to your deck the way you’d apply any other type of paint. Once finished, allow it plenty of time to dry completely.
Once it’s dry, your deck will have a textured surface that will prevent it from getting slick. If even dirt, water, and algae start to build up, the texture will give you grip and prevent your deck from becoming so slippery.
One of my favorite non-slip paints is the INSL-X Sure Step. It’s very easy to apply and extremely durable once it has cured. It comes in multiple colors so you can either paint your deck a brand new color for a nice change, or you can try to match the color to what you currently have.
The INSL-X Sure Step is specifically meant for high-traffic areas like decks, porches, and stairs. It’s made durable to hold up to regular abuse and foot traffic. Moreover, it can handle any adverse weather conditions and will even help protect your deck, improving its longevity overall.
5. Make Your Own Non-Slip Paint
Like the idea of non-slip paint, but prefer a DIY approach? Or maybe buying it from a store seems too expensive. If you’d prefer a cheaper alternative that you can make at home, then you might try creating your own non-slip paint with some play sand.
This is easy to do. Simply take whatever paint you plan to use and add sand at a ratio of 4:1 paint to sand. That’s four parts paint for each part sand.
Once mixed, simply paint it onto your deck like you would apply any other paint. After you apply it, allow ample time for it to dry.
Next, you’re going to apply an additional coat of paint to your deck, but this time with no sand in it. This will seal in the first coat and provide some added durability, ensuring that none of your grippy sand gets removed when it’s walked on.
After the second coat dries, you’re all done! Your deck will now have traction in all weather conditions.
6. Add Sand to Your Deck Sealer or Stain
Maybe you like the idea of making your own non-slip paint with sand, but you don’t want to paint your deck. Not to worry! If you prefer the look of stain or even just a natural wood finish, there’s still a way to create your own non-stick surface using sand and either a deck stain or sealer.
Since you need to seal or stain your deck after a good cleaning to prevent damage, you can easily make your deck non-slip when you add one extra step.
After applying your sealer or stain, you’ll simply add sand to it. But there are a few caveats to this.
First, you must add the sand while the sealer or stain is still wet. If it dries completely, then the sand won’t have anything to stick to.
Second, you must get a very even application of sand. This can be difficult to do, especially by hand. To make it easier, I recommend using a spreader. This will allow you to get an even spread.
Third, you’ll need to do this in small sections. Once you apply the stain or sealer, you can’t walk on it until it’s dry. But you’ll have a pretty difficult time trying to cover an entire deck with an even coating of sand, especially when it’s wet and you can’t walk on it!
This is best attempted by doing small sections at a time, about two feet by two feet. Apply the sealer or stain first. Then, using the spreader, evenly apply the sand to the stained area and move on to the next section.
7. Install Anti-Skid Strips
Painting or staining your deck can be a lot of work and it can completely change the looks of your deck. That’s all great if you’re up for such a challenge and a change. But not everyone wants to put that much time and energy into their deck.Another option that’s much easier and less time consuming is to install anti-skid strips. These are hard plastic pieces that have a grip on the top. They are easily installed by screwing them into your decking boards.
On the one hand, this can damage the wood beneath by making screw holes in each piece of decking. On the other hand, this is a permanent addition that won’t go anywhere and only takes a few minutes to install.
Keep in mind, anti-skid strips are a bit raised, so they can present a small tripping hazard. But they all provide tons of traction that doesn’t diminish when they’re wet.
These are an especially great choice on slippery deck steps. Just sink a couple of screws into each strip and your stairs will have tons of traction!
There are quite a few of these anti-skid strips on the market, but my favorites are the Grip Strip Black Treads They’re durable and will hold up for season after season of inclement weather conditions. Plus, they’re easy to install and will take just a few minutes, even if you have no experience with DIY projects. Just stick two screws in each one and you’re done!
8. Use Anti-Slip TapeAnti-slip tape works similarly to the anti-skid strips, but the tape is much easier to install, goes on quicker, and it’s cheaper as well. In fact, it’s one of the fastest and easiest solutions on this list.
Just like any other type of tape, anti-slip tape comes in a roll. You’ll just pull off the amount you need and stick it onto the deck. It’s dead-simple.
Unlike regular tape, anti-slip tape has tons of grip on the top, similar to sandpaper. This will provide you with plenty of traction, even when your deck gets slick.
It’s important that you have a completely clean and dry surface for the tape to stick to. Make sure you thoroughly clean the deck and allow it to dry before you attempt to apply anti-slip tape.
One advantage of anti-slip tape is that it’s not raised off the surface of the deck, so it doesn’t present a tripping hazard.
I prefer the EdenProducts Heavy-Duty Anti-Slip Traction Tape. It’s 80-grit, which will provide tons of grip and ensure that no one slips on your deck again. Just as importantly, it sticks extremely well and won’t fall off in a few days like other tapes. This one is guaranteed to stick for at least 60 days, providing you with at least two months’ worth of worry-free deck walking.
9. Anti-Slip Mats or InsertsAnother alternative to anti-slip tape and anti-skid strips is mats or inserts. They also provide plenty of traction, but they’re less permanent than the other solutions we’ve discussed.
Anti-slip inserts can fit over your deck boards and stick into the cracks between boards to hold them down.
Mats just lay on top of your decking and provide plenty of traction. These are similar to the mats used in restaurants to provide the non-slip surface they need in the kitchen where things can get very slick and slippery.
The only problem with mats is that they can hold water against your decking material. This can cause them to prematurely age and rot. Because of this, you’ll want to remove the mats when not in use, which can be a bit of a hassle.
However, unlike painting your deck or adding non-slip tape, the mats won’t change the look of your deck. Once you move them, your deck is the same as it was before.
Mats can also be used to cover the entire deck, giving you a complete solution that anti-slip tape or anti-skid strips.
I like the Envelor Home and Garden Anti-Fatigue Commercial Rubber Mats. They’re super durable and can withstand any weather conditions. More importantly, they’re made to help prevent slips and falls, so they’ll provide plenty of traction.
10. Install Shingles or Rolled Roofing on Slippery Steps
For many people, it’s not the entire deck that’s a problem. Instead, it’s generally the stairs that are making the most issue, causing people to slip and fall. One easy solution is to use rolled roofing or shingles on your steps to add plenty of traction and grip.
Shingles and rolled roofing both have a very rough surface that will provide plenty of traction. Moreover, they’re built to withstand many years of adverse weather conditions and won’t get damaged by sun, rain, or wind. Best of all, they’re an affordable solution that’s available at a home improvement store near you.
All you have to do is nail the shingles or rolled roofing onto your steps, the same as they’d be installed on a roof. That’s it! It couldn’t be simpler.
11. Treat Your Deck With a Waterproof CoatingIf your deck is getting too slippery, then one of the major culprits is moisture. As moisture accumulates on your deck, it creates the perfect breeding ground for algae, moss, mildew, and anything else that can grow and make your deck hazardously slick.
One great way to prevent this from happening is by using a waterproof coating to cover your entire deck. This will prevent the water from every accumulating and do wonders to curb your slippery deck problems.
These coatings are very easy to apply. You simply paint them on like any other type of coating or paint. You can use a brush, roller, or even a sprayer. Just make sure you get an even coating everywhere.
The only problem with a waterproof deck coating is that it will need to be reapplied every few years or seasons to ensure that your deck is still waterproof.
But you can avoid this if you use my favorite wood waterproofer, the Eco Advanced Wood Siloxane Waterproofer. It’s got a five-year warranty that guarantees your deck will stay waterproof for at least five years between coats. That’s a lot of bang for your buck! Plus, it’s still extremely easy to apply. Just paint it on and let it dry. Now your slippery deck problems are done!
A slippery deck can be a real liability. Before you or someone you love gets hurt, it’s a good idea to nip your slippery deck problems in the bud with one of the 11 solutions I’ve provided.
I’ve had good luck with several of these methods, but my favorite was adding sand to a deck paint. It was cost-effective, easy to install, and the results were great. My deck looked brand new and slipping was no longer a hazard! On my stairs, I added strips of non-slip tape to make sure that no one would slip on their way down the stairs and off the deck.
But no matter which solution you choose, they’re all going to make a big difference. Remember to keep up on the cleaning and prevent the mold and algae from growing in the first place to avoid having this problem again in the future.
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it with others who might need help preventing their decks from becoming a slippery mess! And I’ll try to respond to any comments or questions in the comments box below as quickly as I can.