Is Composite Decking Slippery In Winter? (+Tips To Improve Traction)

A slippery decking can be a serious hazard and making finding the least slippery decking possible. However, this task can be difficult – especially as the seasons can have a huge effect on the traction of materials used for decking. 

Snow on Fiberon composite decking

If you are thinking about getting composite decking but you want to know more about how slippery it isOpens in a new tab., especially in the winter season, then this is the place for you.

Here, we are going to check out how slippery composite decking actually is all year round. So, check the information below to find out! 

What Is Composite Decking? 

First, let’s talk about composite deckingOpens in a new tab. – what exactly is it? 

Composite decking is a type of material used for decking. It is a type of combination of wood and plastic, specifically wood fibres that are mixed with polymer.

Most composite decking is made from 50% recycled wood fibres, and 50% is recycled plastics, but some are as much as 60% wood fibres held together with bonding agents. 

The end result is a very environmentally friendly type of decking that has a ton of benefits over both Vinyl and wood decking. These benefits include:

  • Better Customization: Composite decking is a combination of both plastic and wood, which means that it’s available in more colours and designs than either. This makes it easier for owners to find their dream decking. 
  • Low Maintenance: It’s much lower maintenance than wood decking as it requires no painting, sealing, or staining. Wood decking needs constant maintenance in order to protect it from things like pests, moisture, and weather damage. All composite decking needs is a regular washOpens in a new tab. to keep it clean and looking great. 
  • Durability: Composite decking repels moisture, whereas wood decking absorbs it. This can lead to warping, rotting, and splintering in wooden decking – but not with composite decking. This means that composite decking is far more durable and can last for many years. 

This has led a lot of people to try out composite decking instead of wood decking, but there’s one apparent feature of composite decking that catches a lot of people’s attention: it’s anti-slip – or is it? 

Is Composite Decking Slippery?

Most composite decking is manufactured to be slip-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you will never slip while walking on composite decking. 

Slips and slides occur due to a lack of friction between two surfaces as they come into contact.

As we walk across a surface, there is a level of resistance between the surface and the bottom of our feet (or shoes), which prevents us from slipping.

In certain conditions, this level of resistance or friction is reduced, which makes slipping more likely to happen. 

Most manufacturers either design their composite boards with textured grooves to help improve friction, or they are covered with an anti-slip cap to help give shoes and feet more grip when walking across the surface.

These kinds of design features help improve traction, which helps prevent slipping and sliding. So, if you want a composite decking that is less slippery, make sure it either has grooves in the boards or an anti-slip cap. 

Unfortunately, having either does not mean that you will never have a slip on composite decking. Composite decking is slip resistant but not slip-proof.

This is because all surfaces become more slippery under certain conditions, and the most common cause of slippery surfaces is water. But cold can also make material less grippy.

Moisture on any surface will decrease friction. Because the level of friction between your feet and the surface is decreased, you are more likely to experience a slip. 

This is also true for composite decking. Despite its anti-slip design, it’s not 100% slip-proof when wet – although it is less slippery than other decking designs.

So, composite decking can become slippery when it becomes wet. If you want to try and keep your composite decking as slip-resistant as possible, you need to keep it dry – and because most people use composite decking outdoors, this is near impossible.

Does Composite Decking Become Slippery In Winter?

Water and moisture are the number one culprits for slippery composite deckingOpens in a new tab.. This means that in the winter, it’s likely your composite decking will become more slippery than usual. 

Many different climates experience high levels of rainfall during the colder seasons. Some places even see regular snowfall, frost, and ice – all of which are made from cold water.

As rain or snow falls on your composite decking will decrease the friction that prevents you from slipping when walking across your decking. Even if there is a layer of powdery snow – that will quickly turn into ice as more snow forms on top! 

Frost on the decking will also increase slips. Cool fall mornings will often come with frost. As we all know, frost is deadly on any surface. Including composite decking.

So, during the winter, composite decking does become slippery because of the increased levels of moisture that affect your decking. 

It’s also worth noting that it’s not just water and moisture that can make your composite decking slippery. Things like dirt, debris, and mould can all reduce the friction between your feet and the surface of your composite decking.

In the fall, plant matter like leaves can easily fall onto your composite decking and become a slipping hazard. 

This means that regular cleaning is a must for your composite decking in order to reduce the chances of any slipping. This will clean away any debris and discourage mould from growing on your composite decking. 

How To Prep Your Composite Decking For Winter

If you are concerned about slipping on your composite decking this winter, then here are a few things you can try to make it less slippery. 

The first is to put down anti-slip mats.

Often anti-slip mats are made from heavy-duty rubber compounds and are designed to help minimize the risk of slips or falls on wet surfaces. Which sounds appealing but are an absolute NO for composite decking. The rubber will react with the decking material, damaging it. Most quality composite decking have incredible warrantiesOpens in a new tab., but rubber mats are often included in the list of items that will void warranties and damage the composite.

“Any mat with a rubber, vinyl or latex backing could mark your deck.”

FiberonOpens in a new tab.

So please, for your deck’s sake, choose a decking mat that is safe for composite deckingOpens in a new tab., not made from rubber. Rather shop for rugs that are made from polypropylene, which will not mark your decking.

Polypropylene mats will cost more than rubber mats but not damaging your decking makes it worth it.

They’re also very affordable and easy to source onlineOpens in a new tab. or in stores. Plus, you can just lay them down where you need them to be on your composite decking. After the winter, you can roll them up and store them away, ready for next year. 

Another solution you can try is installing anti-slip tape or anti-slip strips on the edges of any steps of your decking.

This will help reduce the chances of slipping while descending or ascending any steps to your decking and could potentially save you from any nasty falls.

However, they do make permanent changes to your decking, which is a big no-no for some people. 

If ice and snow are your main concern, then we recommend you use an ice melt that is safe for composite deckingOpens in a new tab.. The link will bring you to our current list (Updated regularly) of ice melts that are safe for composite decking. To help melt any ice or snow that gathers on your deck.

Or look for Ice melt made of calcium chloride with no colourant added the best kinds are ice melts marked as “safe for concrete” and “will not kill grass.”

However, you should not use any that use traction grit – these can scratch the surface of your composite decking and damage it. 

Final Thoughts

Composite decking is not slip-proof, and this means that during the winter, when most of us experience higher levels of moisture from frost, ice, or snow, your composite decking can become very slippery. 

Despite this, some composite decking is designed to be more slip-resistant than other types of decking. With traction forming wood grain patterns and anti-slip caps – but neither of these will completely prevent you from slipping when your composite decking is wet. 

So, take care when walking across your composite decking during the winter! 

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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