How to Make Decking Non-Slip

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During the summer your decking dries out. The sun dries up any mildew and mould and the surface provides a decent grip. But the minute it gets wetter and colder, that lethal slipperiness comes back.

If you’ve ever almost killed yourself sliding around on slippery, slimy garden decking you’ll understand how important it is to know how to make decking non slip. It’s a question we’re asked regularly, and we thought it’d be useful to write a post on the subject.

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Beautiful Decking – Ready for Summer
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Using the right decking products and keeping it maintained can help to prevent slipping

How to Stop Slippery Decking?

How does one achieve safe non slip decking? There are several anti slip decking products available.

  • Anti slip decking paint
  • Non slip decking varnish
  • Anti slip decking oils & stains

We highly recommend antislip decking oils. Non-slip decking paints and varnishes tend to be prone to cracking, flaking and peeling off over time, whilst anti-slip decking oil and oil-based decking stains do not. In addition, anti-slip decking oils and oil-based stains are also very easy to apply, maintain and patch repair if areas become worn or stained.

Our favourite is the excellent Osmo Anti-Slip Decking Oil, which contains special compressed organic particles evenly dispersed throughout the oil. The product dries to a clear satin-matt finish to deliver a reliable anti-slip surface. It’s made from natural oils and also contains active ingredients designed to protect against mould, algae and fungus.

The great news is that this oil can be used as a top coat over Osmo and many other brands of decking oil , clear and coloured, to add an anti-slip finish. It’s perfect for exterior wooden decking and steps and works wonders on all sorts of woods including Douglas Fir, Bangkirai, Garapa, Massaranduba, Larch and common or garden Pine. And it’s ideal for any kind of decking, from the ribbed and grooved versions to the flat and smooth stuff.

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Osmo Anti Slip Decking Oil – Available in clear and a range of attractive decking stain colours

Where to use Osmo Anti Slip Decking Oil?

Osmo Anti Slip Decking Oil is perfect for your home garden decking and equally good for making decked steps safe. But it’s also a great product for commercial decking in places like pubs, cafes, nightclubs and restaurants.

If someone slips on your garden deck at home, it’s unlikely they’ll sue you. But if you run a commercial operation anti-slip decking might prove your undoing, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. It might be a condition of your commercial insurance to make sure your deck is safe, and if it isn’t your insurer might even refuse your claim, leaving you liable for compensating people who have injured themselves because your deck is dangerous.

When is the Product Suitable?

Osmo anti-slip deck oil can be used on new, previously untreated decking. But you need to weather it first, leaving it untreated for 2-4 weeks in the case of softwood decking and 3 months for hard and exotic woods, and after applying 1 coat of your chosen decking oil, be it coloured or clear. This excellent product is also perfect for decking that has been previously oiled. If your deck features an oil-based finish, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly before you begin.

Bear in mind that you can’t use an anti-slip oil on top of painted decking and it won’t work over varnished or coated decks either, including many types of decking stain. If your decking has an existing finish like a varnish or a stain you need to remove it completely, which will involve either stripping, sanding or a bit of both.

When NOT to use it? Osmo Anti Slip Decking Oil isn’t suitable as a stand-alone product. You should always use it with a wood preserver and a primary decking oil.

Anti Slip Decking Stain Preparation in 8 Simple Steps

  1. Always carry out a test first in an area that doesn’t show, so you know how the products you’ve bought work on your particular deck. It makes doing the real thing so much easier when you know what to expect
  2. First clean your deck, sweeping it to get rid of every speck of visible surface debris, dirt and dust
  3. If there’s mould or algae present, you MUST get rid of it first. Jet washing is always a good option before treating the surface with a good quality mould and mildew cleaner
  4. Allow the deck to dry thoroughly
  5. Once treated by the mould and mildew cleaner, apply a good quality exterior wood preservative to help prevent future biological growth. 2 coats of preservative is the norm for exterior wood
  6. Add a single coat of good quality decking oil, either clear or tinted
  7. Apply one coat of anti-slip decking oil, following the instructions on the pack as well as checking those we’ve provided on our product page
  8. Clean your brushes and other equipment with white spirit straight away

The drying time for Osmo Anti Slip Decking Oil is 10-12 hours under normal weather conditions, longer if it’s cool or humid.

Anti Slip for Decking – Upkeep and Maintenance

You want the areas of your deck that get particularly heavy foot traffic to stay anti-slip. To stop the effect wearing off we recommend you renovate areas of wear as soon as they start to look tatty, without delay. Luckily it’s really easy – just brush-apply another coat to the worn patch.

Alternative anti-slip decking treatments

Any questions about anti-slip decking?

Need our help with your decking project?

For more information about decking treatments and their uses, contact our team of resident experts who are always on hand to help with project advice and product recommendations. Alternatively, see our decking treatments FAQ page which covers many of the most commonly asked questions about decking treatments.

We love to see before, during and after photos of any decking, project. If you would like to share your pictures with us and our followers, send us your photos or share on our Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram pages.

Other great blogs that discuss decking

  • Decking Oil or Stain, Which is Best?
  • Decking Finish Problems: Sticky Issues
  • 7 Common Decking Problems and Solutions
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