It's getting to that time of year once again, where people want to sit outside on the decking, enjoying their drinks, meals or cakes in the warmth of the sun.
At least, that's how it should be, but with our 'turbulent' climate; for each sunny day there seems to be an equally wet one. That makes keeping the outdoor areas clean and safe a full-time job in itself, but one that must be attended to regularly. After all, if a patron slips over, you could be issued with a rather nasty compensation claim.
That said, there are some steps you can take to minimise accidents and reduce the amount of maintenance your decking requires. Most decking is ridged and not a smooth surface, but in the wrong weather conditions, they can still be slippery. With that in mind, here are a few tips for non-slip and anti slip decking:
Apply a non-slip coating
One of the quickest and easiest ways to increase grip is to paint on a specially-formulated coating. This coating is much like a fancy varnish, as it improves the appearance of decking strips while providing a fine-textured finish that should minimise slips. This product can be applied by anyone and should be ready for 'traffic' within 16 hours maximum.
Non-slip panels/ strips
These are typically cut-to-fit, screw down strips which are placed on top of the decking to provide a non-slip surface. Many of the varieties available claim to be algae resistant, which is an added bonus. They don't need to be placed over the entire decking area; it's possible to simply make a 'non-slip pathway' that leads to and from the outside entrances, if needed. Those worried that black or yellow strips might alter the look of their decking might be relieved to discover that you can also buy a beige - and far more unobtrusive alternative.
For those that don't want to cover their decking all together, inserts might be the perfect solution. These are aluminium strips which are filled with aggregates to provide a rough finish. They simply fit in the grooves between your decking panels to provide a slip-resistant finish. It's also possible to buy pre-treated decking strips where aggregates have already been added.
Of course, none of the above will be at all efficient if you don't keep the decking area clean and tidy at all times. Fallen branches could become a trip hazard, so need to be swept away regularly. While mud, leaves and mosses shouldn't become so thick that they obscure and render the coating or panels redundant, you can never be too cautious when public health is at stake. Therefore, keep your decking clean at all times. Jet-washing is one thing, but using a special decking cleaner will ensure that the wood is both cleaned and protected - you wouldn't want to use the wrong sort of cleaner and damage the decking.
Now that the sun has made its first, tentative appearances, you and your customers will want to use the external areas. Provide yourself with some extra peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that your decking is non-slip by adopting some of the tips above.
Patrick Bell started his career as a writer and currently he lives in Suffolk. At present he is working in a property management company. He is also a part-time blogger and loves to share his ideas on home improvement & decoration.
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